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memsys-NTU partnership to enhance water desalination technology

memsys clearwater Pte Ltd (memsys) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are collaborating to enhance a patented technology to allow treatment of water contaminated with oil.

If successful, the wider application of the patented memsys membrane distillation process can be used by companies here to produce distilled water for their industrial processes. For example, the refineries and petrochemical industries located at Singapore's Jurong Island, which produce a lot of waste heat and which are located close to the sea, will be able to utilise the enhanced membrane distillation process to produce distilled water from seawater.

Known as the heart of the water treatment, membranes are widely used in water treatment processes for the removal of water impurities. Under the partnership, the memsys-NTU research team will be conducting tests to evaluate membranes available in the market to find the most effective membranes in treating water contaminated with oil. The project will help to enhance the patented memsys membrane distillation process.

The joint project has recently received a S$400,000 grant from Singapore's Environment and Water Industry Programme Office (EWI).

Four scientists from memsys and Singapore Membrane Technology Centre (SMTC), one of the world's largest membrane research centres and part of the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) at the university, will be working on this eight-month joint project. The project will end in August 2011.

"The project is based on memsys' patented thermal Vacuum Multi-Effect Membrane Distillation process, which is primarily used for seawater desalination. The scientists will work closely with SMTC's membrane distillation research group to evaluate the commercially available membranes and find the one which will work best in memsys' distillation process. With the test results, the research team will modify or propose new membranes that can be used in treating wastewater, similar to those found in the oil and gas industry at Jurong Island. The new membrane will help to broaden the applications of the memsys process and develop a more robust desalination process," said Mr Godart van Gendt, Managing Director of memsys in Singapore.

NEWRI's Executive Director, Professor Ng Wun Jern, said, "The collaboration between memsys and SMTC at NEWRI will help to address some of the current challenges of oil in seawater and membrane distillation, such as cost and energy efficiency. We are happy to be approached by memsys to share our expertise in fundamental and applied research for membrane technology in the water and wastewater industry. The collaboration is a very good example of how industry can benefit from the deep research capabilities at NTU. The project also aligns with NTU's efforts to develop a niche in sustainable development."


Contact: Esther Ang
Nanyang Technological University

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