The Keppel Marina East Desalination Plant (KMEDP) is an innovative large-scale desalination facility and is the world’s first dual-mode desalination plant, built with the ability to treat both freshwater and sea water, depending on weather conditions.

Located at the Marina East area of Singapore, the KMEDP is in close proximity to the urban catchment Marina reservoir and the sea. As a world’s first, the plant is fully fitted with dual intakes so that during dry weather, when the water level in the reservoir is low, sea water can be pumped into the plant to be desalinated.  Conversely, when the reservoir water levels are high, the plant will then treat water from the reservoir, enabling energy efficiency compared to a typical desalination plant since fresh water utilizing less energy than seawater desalination. The unique design helps Singapore to harness new technology cost effectively.

As Keppel Infrastructure’s appointed engineer, AECOM provided innovative solutions to overcome the design and control challenges in the design and construction of the world’s first dual-mode desalination plant, which can treat 137,000 m3/day. The engineering design includes raw water intake from the sea and reservoir to a dual flow chamber, through pre-treatment using flocculation and dissolved air flotation, then ultrafiltration; a two-pass reverse osmosis system; and post-treatment using ultraviolet disinfection.  In addition to using dual water source, KMEDP also implements other features for energy optimization such as direct coupling, permeate split, etc.

On the sustainable urbanisation front, the desalination plant also achieves multiple uses of land, featuring a 20,000 sqm of open green space on the rooftop for community recreation and a viewing gallery through which the desalination equipment and underground treatment facilities could be observed.  Governed by good design and engineering excellence, the KMEDP breaks away from that of conventional treatment plants and sits against the backdrop of Singapore’s Central Business District skyline, along the Eastern Coastal Park Connector Network that bridges East Coast Park and Gardens by the Bay East. It is set to incorporate environmentally friendly features such as rainwater harvesting, where rainwater collected can be used to irrigate the green roof and support the facility’s water features and landscaping needs.

The KMEDP is Singapore’s fourth desalination plant and is a public private partnership between Keppel Infrastructure (through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Marina East Water) and PUB Singapore. The plant will be built and operated by Keppel Infrastructure Holdings under the Design, Build, Own and Operate model and will produce 30 million gallons a day (mgd) of drinking water over a period of 25 years under the Water Purchase Agreement, making it an important and crucial infrastructure to provide a reliable source of water supply for Singapore. The KMEDP successfully achieved its Project Commercial Operation Date (PCOD) on 29 June 2020 and was formally launched on 4 February 2021.