Apr. 12, 2015 | By Alec

Over the past few years it has become increasingly apparent that the mini-state of Singapore is becoming a giant in the 3D printing industry. And now it looks like we can add another name to the list of successful 3D printing ventures to originate in Singapore, as the start-up NanoSun – who have recently developed an intriguing 3D printed water filtering system – have just signed an impressive S$4.3 million (USD3.14 million) deal with the state-owned Chinese corporation China Commerce Group for International Economic Cooperation (CCIEC).

The goal of this partnership? To deploy NanoSun’s 3D printed membrane technology to treat the industrial wastewater produced by the Qingdao National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, a gigantic 20 square mile industry zone in Shandong – about halfway between Shanghai and Beijing. This zone produces millions of liters of polluted water annually. NanoSun aims to treat at least one million liters of wastewater produced by the zone’s textile factories by August of 2015, and is expected to deploy enough filters to treat 100 million liters of water over the next four years.

Artist's rendition of the zone.

This joint venture is expected to act as a springboard for China’s billion-dollar industrial wastewater treatment market. The partnership therefore also launches a clear business strategy which is highly technology intensive, market-driven and amply supported by China’s manufacturing capabilities and supply chain. There are even plans to market these 3D printed membrane products internationally in the near future.

NanoSun is a two-year-old start-up that has been co-founded by Wong Ann Chai and Associate Professor Darren Sun from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University. While conventional membrane water filters struggle with industrial wastewater, NanoSun’s 3D printed membranes are even capable of water reclamation. The 3D printed membranes, which are manufactured at Nanyang, even last twice as long and boast anti-breakage, anti-bacterial and anti-biofouling properties. They even feature aflow rate of at least ten times faster than conventional water filtration membranes.

‘What we will demonstrate at Qingdao will be an affordable but effective technology that can turn polluted and industrial wastewater into a source of clean water, without the generation of secondary waste which other systems have. We see great potential for our innovative made-in-NTU technology to succeed in China and beyond,’ Prof Sun argued. Sun is also  Chairman of the Chemical Industries Specialty Group of the International Water Association, which advances sustainable water management. President of CCIEC Chen Yu affirmed the membrane’s potential. ‘There is an increasing demand for the industry to treat wastewater better and faster. I believe that applying NanoSun’s technology at a large scale will increase the efficiency of water treatment and reduce the impact of environmental pollution. That is why we would like to cooperate with NanoSun to start this transformation.’

The joint venture is expected to further boost NanoSun’s efforts to increase its range of water treatment products to meet industrial demand. The start-up will also be working with various NTU schools to develop new membranes with innovative materials and processes. ‘NanoSun technology cannot be developed without market inputs. Many communities are water-stressed, facing a shortage of clean drinking water or pollution in their water sources. This is where cost-effective yet efficient solutions can make a huge impact to people’s lives,’ Wong Ann Chai concluded.




Posted in 3D Printing Company


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