Singapore’s Tuas Nexus – the world’s first fully energy self-sufficient greenfield facility that will integrate used water treatment and waste management in a single facility – has won international recognition even before construction works commence. Tuas Nexus was named the “Most Innovative Water-Energy Nexus Project”, at the biennial International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress 2019 on 23 October 2019, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The inaugural IDA Industry and Sustainability Awards honour the innovative efforts of organisations, companies and cities to meet the challenges of increasing demand for drinking water, industrial water use and water reuse. The “Most Innovative Water-Energy Nexus Project” Award is one of the 17 awards presented. Over 50 nominations were received for all the awards.
The award recognises Tuas Nexus as a “bold innovation in the action for climate change and sustainability” that is conceptualised and planned from the ground up. By integrating and co-locating PUB’s Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (Tuas WRP) with NEA’s Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) - this new way of treating used water and solid waste will allow us to effectively harness process synergies from the water-energy-waste nexus.
Tuas WRP will also be the first of its kind in Singapore to treat both used water and food waste in the same plant to produce biogas. The co-digestion of used water sludge with food waste can produce three times more biogas compared to treatment of used water sludge alone, due to the higher organic content present in food waste.
The biogas produced will be used to enhance the overall thermal efficiency and electricity production at the IWMF. In return, electricity generated at IWMF will be supplied to Tuas WRP for its operations. Excess electricity will be exported back to the grid, estimated to power up to 300,000 four-room HDB apartments.
A zero energy facility, Tuas Nexus will be able to achieve overall carbon savings of more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year – equivalent to taking 42,500 cars off the roads. Construction of Tuas Nexus is scheduled to start in 2020, and targeted to be ready by 2025.
Mr Ng Joo Hee, Chief Executive, PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency said, “PUB has set out long-term targets to drive the next phase of innovation – one of which is to reduce our energy dependency by making used water treatment fully energy self-sufficient as we cope with increasing water demand. Tuas Nexus is a novel way to maximise resource and energy recovery from used water and solid waste on a compact footprint, which will allow us to treat used water in a sustainable way. We are honoured to be recognised for this project by the global water community.”
“The International Desalination Association’s inaugural Industry and Sustainability Awards recognises outstanding projects that capitalise on the synergies between water and energy to meet the needs of a growing population and industry demand. The Tuas Nexus project is a pioneering innovation towards greater sustainability in the face of climate change. This new way of treating used water and solid waste in Singapore will set a new benchmark for global inspiration,” said Shannon McCarthy, Secretary General, International Desalination Association.