Here are the answers you wanted regarding the water conservation and treatment business. I’ll break it into several points, all in order of priority.
This is the first thing you will need to decide on first because ultimately everything will vary according to your customers/intended use of your product. The few choices you will have are the general public drinking water, garden/parkland irrigation, human/animal food crop irrigation, industrial water usage, public water supply (grey water or potable). Different types of water will require different supply, quality, equipment, cost etc. The highest potential is definitely towards industry water use and agriculture. I’ll explain further on.
Theoretically, you can take water from any supply. Rivers, surface water, ground water, sewage are all valid options. Your water demand will determine your water supply. For population in Malaysia, drinking water recycled from sewage water will not be accepted due to social acceptability. However, it is completely acceptable in other countries such as Singapore and Netherlands. This will require intense marketing strategy which I do not have knowledge in. When Singapore first announce drinking water recycled from sewage water, Lee Kuan Yew actually proved to everyone that is drinkable by drinking the water in front of the general public. This boost the confidence of the general public in said drinking water.
How to tap all the KL waste water and put to good use? The answer is, you cant. It’s not possible to tap ALL the water. However, a selected few is possible. The reason being all the waste water has different composition; some may be extremely harmful, some may be easier to treat. You cant treat all water as if they are equal because there will be a risk of recycling pathogens and accumulate harmful substance (read bioaccumulation). Therefore, water source would need to be analyzed properly. Easier ones to tap are definitely rivers, municipal waste water. Industrial waste water should reused within that industry itself. You could provide them the technology to reuse their water, but its not recommended to take their water, treat, and sell.
3. Quality and regulations
Depending on your customer, their water requirement varies greatly.
- Water for agriculture/park irrigation – fairly low quality, but some minerals are harmful.
- Water for public supply (such as hand washing, toilet flushing – low quality, easy, guarantees supply. Normally design and install the equipment for your customer.
- Water for drinking – quality has to be high, may have some tight regulations due to the risk of recycling pathogens. EU water for example will need to comply the EU Water Directive. Check with the water regulation in Malaysia.
- Treatment tank volume
- Membrane installation and pumps
- Aeration (blowers/compressors)
- Off gas treatment (filtering, scrubbing etc)
- Aeration (blower/compressor operation)
- Off gas treatment (not always necessary
- Sludge disposal (VERY VERY IMPORTANT)
- Membrane replacement
- Pennant Hills Golf Club (Australia) – taps into sewer line and withdraws waste water as the source of a drought-proof 650m3/day water supply. Equipment used: GE Ultrafiltration membranes.
- Benidorm (Spain) – produces 24500m3/day water. Equipment used: Ultrafiltration membranes as pretreatment for reverse osmosis process.
- Western Corridor Wastewater Recycle Project (WCWRP) – largest recycled water project in Australia, providing more than 400,000 m3/day. Equipment used are Koch MegaMagnum® RO elements to reclaim municipal effluent for use as water supply for cooling towers at the Swanbank and the Torong power stations.
- O2 Arena (London) – source from grey water of wash basins, rain water, groundwater to be used for toilet/urinal flush.
- Porlock Sewage Treatment Plant (UK) – 1900 m3/day, first MBR in europe
- Swanage Sewage Treatment Plant (UK) – 13,000 m3/day for resorts, sailing club, swimming
- South Wraxall (UK) – providing water for population of 200.
- NEWater (Singapore) – transform municipal wastewater into drinkin water. 40,000 m3/day of water is treated. 1% is channeled into drinking water and the majority of the water is utilized by industries.
- USFilter – Siemens Water Technologies
- Koch/Puron MBR modules
- Huber MBR System
- Koch Membrane Systems Inc
- Pall Corporation
- DOW Water Solutions
- GE Water
Membrane bioreactor no doubt is the latest and most promising technology. It is estimated that the world market of MBR will increase to $2927 million by 2019. However, the cost is really high. Depending on the source of water you use and the quality you require, there are several design options. If you are supplying drinking water and use river water as a source, I don’t see the need of using MBR because it is really expensive unless it is justifiable. MBR are mostly used for municipal wastewater treatment and industrial wastewater treatment.
Even in MBR, there are several design choices. There are different kind of membrane filtration modes (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis); different membrane modules (hollow fibre, flat sheet, tubular); different structure. So it really depends on what exactly do you want to treat and how well you want to treat it. Industrial waste can be really hazardous and difficult to treat.
4.1 Cost – typically
Capital costs (usually amortized at 6% over 20 years)
Most of the water treatment plant location are at the countryside. And depending of your sources, you’ll decide where you want to be. Spritzer for example extract water from few kilometres underground. The ground had to be analyzed on how much water can be extracted before it run dries. If your location are at the country side, how do you plan to transport/pump the water? Will there be leakage, etc etc.
Different customers requires different quality of water. You mentioned that SimeDarby is interested right? If I’m not mistaken they are a housing developer right? If that’s the case, it is possible to treat high quality drinking water for their rich customers. Forgive me for saying this, but the 1% of rich people in Malaysia likes to feel superior. And if you can market your drinking water to be better, and offer it straight to the tap, you may grab their interest. Let’s assume SimeDarby is building a new housing area of 20 houses. You can take one or two houses to make it as your treating station with the MBR, pumping system, etc where you will treat their wastewater into clean reusable water for flushing/washing, etc etc. But is it worth it thou? That two houses can probably gain more profit than this water treatment process.
At this point I’m probably rambling. My point is, I cannot give you enough information until I know what type of water you want to market. In my opinion, I see no point in treating drinking water because water in Malaysia is cheap as it is. Treat drinking water only if you intend to deliver it straight to the tap. I think the best project would be reusing effluents from municipal wastewater treatment plants. The increase in the usage of water and increasing population has rendered traditional source insufficient to meet the demand in water. I don’t know what else to say, except showing you examples of MBR around the world.
Where to get membranes?
There are near endless possibilities for water treatment. I cannot supply any ideas, information unless I have a clear basis on what you want and require. Give me an idea, and I can build upon that idea. At this point, I’m just rambling on general stuff which you may/may not already knew.
I hope this helps.