Water & Wastewater Asia: Brewing A Better Singapore

Water & Wastewater Asia: Brewing A Better Singapore

Increasing water efficiency and improving water circularity are the key priorities to protect and conserve water resource. As part of APB Singapore’s water conservation strategy, the company went into a joint development project with PUB and National University of Singapore to build a water reuse treatment plant so as to further reduce water usage in the brewery.

Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Singapore is part of The HEINEKEN Company and the home of the world-acclaimed Tiger Beer – a Singapore icon born and brewed on local soil since 1932. Today, the company’s portfolio encompasses ABC Stout, Anchor Beer, Baron’s Strong Brew, Guinness, Heineken and the range of Archipelago craft beers. This is in addition to internationally renowned beers such as Bulmers, Erdinger, Guinness Draught, Kilkenny, Kirin, Sol and Strongbow.

As a beer producer, APB Singapore’s operations depend on constant water supply, which may be exposed to the risk of water scarcity.

“Water is critical for a business like ours as we use water for brewing and non-­brewing purposes alike. For every 1 hi (hectolitre) of beer that we brew, we use 4.6hl of water. And with beer being 95% water, we need to optimise the ways in which we brew beer to maximise water efficiency, as well as the operations surrounding it,” said Patricia Lee, corporate affairs director, APB Singapore.

As the largest commercial brewery in Singapore, APB Singapore is committed to using water wisely, and constantly seek new and innovative ways to achieve water efficiency. However, it is not an easy task as it takes time, resources, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

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A Commitment in Efficiency

And so, as part of their commitment to protect water resources, APB Singapore entered a joint development project with the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s national water agency, and the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2017 to develop a solution to reduce water intake in the brewery.

The joint development project saw the construction of the water reuse treatment plant by Witco Envirotech Pte Ltd. The plant is located within APB Singapore’s brewery and cost about S$1.8 mil lion to build.

In 2019, the water reuse treatment plant became operational. By treating and reusing the wastewater from the brew ery, the plant is set to reduce the brewery’s water intake by more than 10%, saving about 66,750m3 of water annually. The volume of water reused annually is also equivalent to 3,160 four-room HOB (Housing & Development Board, the statutory board of the Ministry of National Development responsible for public housing in Singapore) flats, or 26 Olympic-sized swimming pool. In fact, the treated water, along with rainwater collected from the rainwater harvesting system are used for cooling towers, general cleaning and landscaping.

“The water reuse treatment plant uses biological and membrane processes, including reverse osmosis [by Hydranautics]. Reverse osmosis is also the process that PUB uses to produce NEWater to promote water circularity and address the nation’s agenda of protecting water resources,” said Lee.

“On top of achieving water efficiency, promoting water circularity is also an important part of our water conservation initiative. The construction of the water reuse treatment plant and rainwater harvesting system is in line with Singapore’s water conservation strategy where 40% of our nation’s water supply comes from recycled water,” she added.

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As the largest commercial brewery in Singapore, APB Singapore is committed to using water wisely, and constantly seek new and innovative ways to achieve water efficiency. However, it is not easy task as it takes time, resources, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

In addition to promoting water circularity within the brewery, achieving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions are also part of the company’s sustainability agenda. The water reuse treatment plant runs on energy efficient equipment such as ie3 motors to reduce energy consumption. To top it off, APB Singapore is also looking to equip their present air blowers, which use the most amount of energy in the plant, to variable speed drives so as to optimise the aeration process and to consume less electricity.

“We are one of the first in Asia to integrate a water recycling plant at the premise of operation. We will continue to strategise and seek innovative ideas, develop capabilities and secure a sustainable supply of water for our brewery,” Lee said.

APB Singapore has been recognised for its environmental stewardship

  • APB Singapore has been awarded national recognition from SEC­SETSCO Singapore Environmental Achievement Award (Manufacturing) 2019 for its environmental stewardship.
  • International recognition for their water circularity practices where their engineering manager, Norman Goh, shared their practices to a diverse audience consisting of key decision makers in their respective companies at the Singapore International Water Week 2018.