• Water
  • 8th September 2023

Aquaporin partners with PUB to install its biomimetic membranes in NEWater facilities

Article by Kerry Hebden

WATER technology company Aquaporin has announced it is working with Singapore's National Water Agency, PUB (Public Utilities Board), to install its CLEAR Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis (BWRO) modules at the agency’s NEWater facilities. 

Based near Copenhagen, Denmark, Aquaporin uses technology based on aquaporins – a type of protein capable of transporting roughly three billion water molecules per second through a cell membrane with 100% selectivity to water. The proteins were discovered by Peter Agre in 1991, a discovery that led to Agre winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2003, and have since shown to be essential to all living organisms.  

Aquaporin’s membranes incorporate a layer of natural aquaporin protein, allowing it to transport water molecules much faster than traditional synthetic water filtration membranes, which typically use dense polymeric sheets containing micron-to-nanometre size holes. 

“We produce this membrane protein in an industrial fermentation process, and use it as an intelligent building block in a new generation of water membranes,” Aquaporin’s chief innovation officer, Peter Holme Jensen, told Labiotech. 

According to Aquaporin, the firm’s products are the only biomimetic membranes in the world using industrial scale biotechnology, while its Inside CLEAR series of modules features the “world’s first” and only BWRO products on the market.  

As part of its partnership with PUB, Aquaporin will supply 504 CLEAR BWRO modules for one of the agency’s NEWater production facilities. 

The NEWater process recycles Singapore’s treated used water into ultra-clean, high-grade reclaimed water. Stage 1 of the process includes microfiltration/ultrafiltration, stage 2 involves reverse osmosis, and stage 3 uses ultraviolet or UV disinfection to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses. 

Aquaporin’s membranes will be used in one of five NEWater plants currently in operation, with a view to being used in PUB's future membrane replacement projects.  

Matt Boczkowski, Aquaporin's CEO, said: "We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with an exceptional and experienced partner such as PUB. The collaboration has been a rewarding journey, and we are excited about the prospects of our partnership. We will continue developing water solutions through innovation that will benefit PUB and the people of Singapore." 

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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