PowerSeraya becomes first Combined Heat, Water and Power player in Southeast Asia with new, first-of-its-kind Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant

  • Achieves water self-sufficiency
  • Offers affordable utilities to Jurong Island customers
  • Adds water capability for future expansion locally & regionally
  • Establishes a Global reference plant with the world’s first large diameter Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant

Singapore, 29 January 2008 – PowerSeraya Ltd as part of its “Renewables Strategy” officially launched its new 10,000 m3/day Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) Desalination Plant today. The new Desalination Plant, sited at PowerSeraya’s Pulau Seraya Power Station on Jurong Island, is set to propel the company to become the first Combined Heat, Water and Power (CHWP) player in Southeast Asia.

With the new Desalination Plant, water will become one of the three core components of PowerSeraya’s highly efficient CHWP sales in the future. Customers on Jurong Island can look forward to a competitively-priced suite of energy products offered through the company’s retail arm Seraya Energy Pte Ltd. The new water capability also spells opportunities for the company to expand into this area locally and even overseas in the future.

Setting new standards in efficiency, the new Desalination plant is the world’s first to use highly advanced 16-inch (400 mm) large diameter membrane SWRO technology, in what will become a global reference point for the Desalination industry. Before the PowerSeraya Desalination plant, the current industry standard is an 8-inch (200 mm) diameter.

Benefit 1: PowerSeraya Achieves Water Sufficiency and an Improvement in Energy Efficiency

With water being a scarce commodity, this new desalination plant will provide a viable and sustainable source for PowerSeraya’s industrial applications. PowerSeraya earlier last year announced an investment in Cogeneration enabling it to produce combined heat and power (CHP) for sale; taking the company’s overall thermal process efficiency from approximately 50% to 80%. The new addition of water production to its integrated energy portfolio will create further efficiencies through creating a CHWP platform for the company, in a drive to become more diversified, competitive and environmentally-friendly.

PowerSeraya’s Managing Director Mr Neil McGregor said, “In a resource-constrained world, the move to produce Desalinated water as part of our process, is not only good for the environment, but it makes good business sense as well. As a business we have to continue to find approaches of getting more for less in a sustainable way through innovation. Desalination is essentially “liquid electrons” and we are using our natural advantages of location next to the sea, existing infrastructure and off peak electricity from which to create it. We are lucky to have a talented workforce and a supportive Union (Union of Power & Gas Employees) behind us to make this move and build up our capability in this area.”

Benefit 2: Better plant utilisation, and cost savings means more competitively-priced utilities

In the Desalination process, electricity forms approximately 40% of its production cost. As PowerSeraya is able to use electricity from its own source, it combines the process of making electricity and water; using sophisticated energy management systems during off peak periods when electricity demand and prices are lower. This results in a sustainable and efficient virtuous cycle of producing electricity to produce water, which in turn is used to produce electricity, or form the basis of steam sales – the outcome is lower costs. Through this cycle, the cost of water to PowerSeraya is reduced by as much as 30%.

“At the heart of the cost reduction, is the deployment of the world’s first full-scale 16-inch (400 mm) large diameter membrane. The doubling of the membrane diameter, from the conventional industry standard of 8-inch diameter, quadruples the active membrane surface area. This allows PowerSeraya to produce a higher water yield in a reduced footprint, compared to conventional SWRO technology — resulting in lower capital and operating costs. The new Desalination Plant sets new standards by lowering the energy consumption from over 4 kWh per cubic meter for conventional small membrane plants to 2.85 kWh per cubic meter. This translates to an equivalent of 30% reduction in electricity consumption and more significantly- cost,” explains Mr McGregor.

The new plant also uses a very effective energy management system to ramp up water production during low electricity price periods. At the heart of this operation are high efficiency variable speed drive (VSD) pumps. With the ability to cycle production up and down to match variable electricity pricing during peak and off peak periods, a further 10% savings can be realised compared to conventional constant-speed pumps.

With water as a key ingredient in the production of utilities such as steam, all these savings represent sustainable development and the support of a growing competitive market for utilities on Jurong Island and PowerSeraya aims to be a key competitor in that market.

Benefit 3 : Build Up New Water Capability to Grow Business in the Future

PowerSeraya is in the business of producing, wholesaling, trading and retailing of Energy. The addition of this water capability to its business profile further broadens its scope. The Desalination Plant is also in line with the direction of the company to expand into a full-fledged energy hub on Jurong Island offering multiple commodities.

“Our move into water production is primarily aimed at self-sufficiency. But if a water market was to evolve on Jurong Island or in Singapore in the future, we would be interested in expanding our capability. Similarly, we can leverage on this additional capability and replicate the CHWP footprint, in the future, to expand overseas. But any decision on this is not imminent. What it does give us are options for further growth and value creation,” enthused Mr McGregor.

Integrated Business Approach to Attain Sustainable Economic Development

By harnessing its natural advantage of being near to deep and low salinity water and integrating its heat, water and power processes, PowerSeraya has been able to create an intelligent, virtuous cycle of electricity, steam and water generation.

“We have aligned ourselves to the national energy and water agenda. By integrating across and up the value chain, we have been able to attain self- sufficiency, energy efficiency and economies of scale; producing sustainable economic development. The launch of the SWRO Desalination Plant is yet another milestone and has allowed us grow our portfolio of non-regulated business and become South-east Asia’s first combined water, heat and power player. We aim to be that supplier of choice for our customers’ present and future needs,” said Mr McGregor.

The SWRO Desalination plant was built at a cost of approximately S$20 million, and delivered as an engineer-procure-construct (EPC) project by US-based CH2M HILL, a global full-service engineering, construction and operations firm. The SWRO system was supplied by GrahamTek Pte Ltd of Singapore.

It was officially opened by Guest-of-Honour Dr Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources on 29 January 2008.