ABB inaugurates the largest membrane bioreactor of its kind

The largest membrane bioreactor, located in Singapore, will be automated by ABB Energy industries, which brings automation and digitalization technologies to the energy sector. PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, has awarded ABB a contract worth approximately $30 million to provide a complete monitoring and control system for the entire Tuas Water Reclamation Plant site.

Automation of membrane bioreactors

Using its ABB Ability™ 800xA control platform and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system, ABB will deploy process control systems at the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant. The overall system will integrate more than 100,000 input/output signals from a variety of equipment, including pumping stations, a wastewater treatment facility… An advanced technological solution that will improve the performance and efficiency of this wastewater treatment center.

A power monitoring and management system will manage the ventilation and air conditioning systems and, most importantly, the energy usage throughout the site. The installation of an alarm and security system will also help meet Singapore’s stringent cyber security requirements. The operators will all receive training to ensure the effectiveness of the system. ABB’s service teams will provide ongoing asset and system monitoring and preventive maintenance for an additional eight years after construction is complete.

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Ensuring access to water in Singapore

While Singapore is devoid of natural water sources, its administration has developed the NEWater system to provide for the high quality water needs of its growing population of 5.69 million people and businesses. Indeed, Singapore has made wastewater a pillar of its water sustainability policy. Their recycled water is produced from wastewater that is treated and purified using advanced membrane technologies and ultraviolet disinfection, making it ultra-clean and safe to drink.

This process is based on the use of the Tuas Nexus, which is a world first. The plant integrates two complex facilities that combine water and solid waste treatment processes to exploit the synergies of the water, energy and waste nexus.

The automation of the membrane bioreactors will ensure the efficiency of this program and provide water security to the population through the development of the capacities of its wastewater sites. The Tuas Water Reclamation Plant has a capacity of 800,000 m³ per day. These efforts have earned the city a reputation as a model for integrated water management internationally.

Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB Industrial Automation, said:

“Singapore’s water demand is currently about 430 million gallons per day, with households consuming 45% and industry taking the rest. By 2060, water needs are expected to nearly double. To meet this demand, closing the water loop and ensuring that every drop is collected, treated and reused is critical. We are pleased to support this quest to treat and purify water at the Tuas Recycling Plant, and simultaneously help manage and save the energy needed for the process.”

Membrane bioreactor needed to clean up Singapore

This site will receive wastewater flows from the western part of Singapore via two separate deep tunnels and will apply membrane bioreactor technology, which separates different substances, to treat and purify 650,000 m3/day of domestic wastewater to generate new water. This technology will treat an additional 150,000 m3/day of industrial wastewater that is treated and returned to the industries for reuse. This technology will therefore contribute to the second phase of Singapore’s deep tunnel remediation system, which is estimated to cost approximately $4.8 billion.

This is not the first time ABB has done this. In fact, in 2018 ABB partnered with water utility TaKaDu to provide a water management solution in Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, according to Water Technology. Sanitation efforts are important as the world’s population grows and water resources are scarce in many countries.

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