Desal Plant Investment and PUB Singapore to build it’s largest desalination plant to date


Worldwide Desalination Plant Investment to Double by 2016   

Water scarcity, population and economic growth, pollution, and urbanization are all placing increased pressure on freshwater resources around the world.  The gap between the supply of freshwater and demand for water for industrial, agricultural, and domestic use is growing at a rapid pace.  At the same time, the cost of desalination has come down steadily, and it is becoming a more affordable means of meeting the world’s growing freshwater needs.  According to a new report from Pike Research, all of these factors will contribute to strong growth in the desalination technology market over the next several years, and the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that global desalination investment will double from $8.3 billion in 2010 to $16.6 billion per year by 2016, representing cumulative spending of $87.8 billion during that period.   

“The desalination plant supplier market is highly fragmented, despite a great deal of mergers and acquisitions activity during the last decade,” says managing director Clint Wheelock.  “The top five suppliers captured only 25% of the market from 2007 to 2009.  And as reverse osmosis (RO) is increasingly adopted as the major desalination technology, the barriers to entry are being lowered.”    

In contrast, however, Wheelock notes that the market for key desalination components is far more concentrated.  For example, more than 65% of the market for RO membranes is controlled by three large players.  The markets for high-pressure pumps and energy recovery devices are also quite concentrated.  Pike Research’s analysis indicates that these competitive dynamics will be critically important as the stakes continue to increase in the rapidly-growing global desalination market.   

Pike Research anticipates that the Middle East/North Africa region will continue to be the global hub of desalination plant construction, but there will be significant growth opportunities in other parts of the world as well.  The firm forecasts that, in 2016, the top five markets in terms of installed capacity will be Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, China, and Israel.  Worldwide desalination capacity will reach 126 million cubic meters per day by 2016, up from 76 million in 2010.   

Pike Research’s study, “Desalination Technology Markets”, analyzes emerging technologies and market opportunities in the global desalination industry.  It explores a variety of market growth drivers including dwindling water resources, population, pollution, and falling desalination system costs.  Key industry players are profiled and country-level market forecasts are provided for key global markets through 2016.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.     

 PUB, Singapore`s National Water Agency calls tender to build second and largest desalination plant in Singapore  

PUB, the national water agency, is calling an open tender today for the second and largest desalination plant to be built at Tuas. To be completed by 2013, the plant will add another 70 imperial million gallons or 318,500 cubic metres) of desalinated water a day to the nation’s water supply. 

Following the completion of the fifth and largest NEWater plant at Changi last month, the new desalination plant is Singapore’s latest water supply infrastructure project. Like the first reverse-osmosis desalination plant at Tuas, the second plant will be constructed under a Design, Build, Own and Operate (DBOO) arrangement and utilise reverse osmosis technology. 

Increasing desalination capacity will further enhance the drought resilience of Singapore’s water supply, and ensure reliability for Singapore’s water users. Like NEWater, desalinated water is independent of rainfall and can be used to supplement water from local reservoirs during dry weather. 

The successful bidder will enter into a 25-year water purchase agreement to supply desalinated water to PUB, commencing from mid 2013. The water purchase agreement will set out the tariff structure, terms and conditions for the purchase of desalinated water. 

“Since 2005, PUB has adopted the ‘Best Sourcing’ approach to expand our water supply system in a cost competitive manner. These projects have been highly successful, ensuring high quality and reliable water supply at the most cost-effective basis as they tap on private sector’s capacity and flexibility to innovate. These Public-Private Partnerships also helped water companies build up their track record in Singapore and they can eventually export the expertise they gain from the project internationally,” said Koh Boon Aik, Director (Best Sourcing), PUB. 

The 70 mgd desalination plant project is PUB’s fourth DBOO project, the first three being the 30 mgd SingSpring desalination project, the 32 mgd Keppel-Seghers Ulu Pandan NEWater Plant and the 50 mgd SembCorp Changi NEWater Plant. 

New water targets unveiled on Monday indicated desalination’s bigger role in Singapore’s water supply. By 2060, Singapore plans to ramp up desalinated water capacity by almost 10 times so that the Fourth National Tap can meet at least 30 percent of the water demand then. Water demand is expected to double to 760 mgd by 2060. 

As desalination is currently the most energy intensive water supply source, Singapore has been embarking on research and development work in search of more cost-efficient ways of producing desalinated water.For example,in 2007, Singapore Environment and Water Industry Development Council awarded a S$4 million research grant to Siemens to develop a novel electrochemical desalination technology that can halve the energy consumption used in seawater desalination. This project will be completed in 2011.  

The tender for Singapore’s second desalination plant will close on 30 September 2010 and is expected to be awarded in the 1st quarter of 2011. There will be a project briefing and site show-around on 15 July 2010. Potential bidders who would like to participate in this DBOO project can refer to the details available in Government Electronic Business (Gebiz).


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