Dr Adrian Yeo (right), explaining about the high efficiency of the new water treatment plant in Vietnam

Wireless breakthrough at water treatment plant

The first water treatment plant of its kind in South-East Asia has been launched in Vietnam, requiring one single person to oversee and manage the plant’s daily operations remotely via a wireless link to the control office.

The high-tech, remote-monitored plant, built by start-up De.Mem from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), is able to supply potable water at two-thirds of current local prices compared with other plants in the area. The plant has an output of one million litres of drinking water per day

The facility is located at Duc Hoa, Long An near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and is linked via a NTU-designed network to the control office in Singapore.

De.Mem designed, built and operates the water treatment plant, and uses patented membrane integrity sensor technologies developed at NTU’s Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI) , which are able to monitor the plant’s performance, allowing for early detection of issues to keep it operating at optimum levels.

“This model is a new form of decentralised water treatment plant, where we can control the quality and operations of dozens of small water plants simultaneously while only needing very few skilled workers locally,”  says Dr Yeo, General Manager of MINT, the company supplying the water quality sensor technologies.

“It allows us to supply clean water to nearby communities and industries at a low cost as lesser energy is needed to distribute the water over short distances, as compared to those of a centralised water distribution network,” he continues.

The decentralised infrastructure is enabled by membrane technology which has a small footprint and is modular, and as such is suitable for countries that are developing new treatment plants such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Four more water treatment plants are being planned for Vietnam by the end of the year, including a retrofit of an existing 2,000 square metre facility.

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