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Team Wins $4 Million Grant for Breakthrough Technology in Seawater Desalination


The Straits Times
June23, 2008


Bucking convention, researchers have developed a way of producing
drinking water from seawater - that is twice as efficent.

A team from Siemens Water Technologies on Monday received top
honours and a $4million grant from the Environment & Water Industry
Development Council (EWI).

The council threw a challenge to research institutes and companies
last July to develop a desalination technique that used 50 per cent
less energy than current methods.

'It hasn't been acheived before, that's why it's a challenge,' said
Professor Lui Pao Chuen, chairman of the EWI's evaluation panel.
Siemens beat 35 other groups with its unique spin on desalination.
Using electricity instead of high-pressure or heat to remove salt
from seawater, the team produced a metric cube of pure drinking
water - with 1.5 kWh.

Advanced desalination methods around the world currently use twice
that amount of energy.

Recycled water, also known here as Newater, requires 0.7kWh to
produce.

By passing seawater through electric fields, salt is drawn out - the
complete opposite of conventional methods which push water through a
membrane, explained Siemens vice-president of R&D Ruediger Knauf.
The approach is novel, said PUB technology director Harry Seah.
'It blows convention away,' he said.

Added Prof Lui: 'This is what we call disruptive technology. And
it's exactly what we're looking for.'

Siemens will work with national water agency PUB over the next three
years to test-bed the technology.

Seawater, though an abundant source, has yet to become a viable
water supply for countries worldwide.

Monday's announcement is a prelude to the cutting edge technologies
that will be on display at the Singapore International Water Week,
which officially opens on Tuesday.

Nearly 400 companies will showcase their products and technologies
at the four-day event at the Suntec Convention Centre, to be
attended by over 5,000 delegates.

 

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