Singapore officially opened the Jurong Island Desalination Plant (JIDP), the fifth of its kind, on 17 April 2022 with a daily potable water capacity of up to 137,000 cubic metres (about 30 million gallons). Spanning over 3.7 hectares, JIDP was constructed under the Design, Build, Own and Operate model and will be operated by TP-STM Water Resources Pte Ltd, the joint venture company formed by the Tuas Power-ST Engineering consortium, for a 25-year period.
The new plant receives seawater from Tuas Power’s Tembusu Multi-Utilities Complex (TMUC) for processing into potable water. By sharing TMUC’s seawater intake and outfall structures as well as energy from in-plant generation facilities, JIDP is about five per cent more energy efficient than conventional desalination plants. “The synergies between JIDP and TMUC have enabled operations to save approximately 5,000 megawatt hours per year, which is almost 1,000 Housing and Development Board households’ annual energy consumption,” shared Jiang Hanbin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tuas Power.
Innovative engineering solutions are required for building a full-fledged desalination plant on existing infrastructure, including modular systems in different areas of the desalination process and pre-fabrication of equipment such as the reverse osmosis units. JIDP has also adopted the latest proven water treatment equipment and membrane technologies such as dissolved air flotation and ultra-filtration. In addition, the plant is highly automated with low manpower requirement—a three-man team can run the entire plant’s operations from the control room.
“The design and construction of the JIDP has provided ST Engineering the opportunity to deliver complex environmental engineering solutions. The result is an energy-efficient, technologically advanced, less labour-intensive and weather-resilient water source that meets Singapore’s water needs,” said Ng Sing Chan, President, Marine, ST Engineering.
Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive of Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s National Water Agency, said, “Although seawater desalination is the most expensive way to produce water due to the energy required, it is nevertheless an essential source of drinking water for Singapore. JIDP further diversifies our water production portfolio and water security.”
Desalinated water is one of Singapore’s four water sources, known as the Four National Taps, that contributes to the nation’s long-term water supply sustainability.