Hyflux Ltd is a leading provider of integrated environmental solutions offering a full suite of services from research and development, design and development, manufacturing of components, systems assembly, overall project management to operations and maintenance. African Business spoke to Winnifred Heap, the group’s senior executive vice-president, for this company profile.

Headquartered and listed in Singapore, Hyflux employs some 2,400 staff worldwide and has operations and projects in Southeast Asia, China, India, the Middle East and Africa. Hyflux is committed to providing cost effective and sustainable solutions in seawater desalination, water recycling, wastewater treatment, including membrane bioreactor (MBR) and potable water treatment.

The company’s track record includes building Singapore’s first water recycling plant and two seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants. They have built some of the world’s largest SWRO desalination plants in China and Algeria.

Hyflux has been active in North Africa since 2006, when it secured its first project to design, build, own, operate and transfer a membrane-based seawater desalination plant in Tlemcen, Algeria. This has a designed capacity to treat 200,000m3/ day. It also won an international tender to design, build, own, operate and transfer a second seawater desalination plant in Magtaa, Algeria with a designed capacity of 500,000 m3/day.

Magtaa Desalination Plant is the largest seawater reverse osmosis desalination plant on the African continent and was officially opened by Algeria’s Prime Minister Mr Abdelmalek Sellal in November 2014. The two plants account for close to 30% of Algeria’s water supply and have concession periods of 25 years.

Hyflux has an office in Algeria to serve the North African region, and is also setting up an office in Nigeria as it explores opportunities in selected markets in Africa. The company has a twin focus in Africa, explains Winnifred Heap, the group’s senior executive vice-president. “It’s really water and infrastructure development, including power because increasingly, when you talk about planning – you know, urban planning or planning development - you need to think about the supporting infrastructure.

“So, we have been focusing in Africa on pockets of infrastructure development where we can provide a master plan, planning from the beginning, to provide utilities, treating waste water and recycling. In Africa we are looking at various projects in Nigeria and in Tanzania - in terms of developing a total 24/7 utility.” Hyflux’s award-winning Kristal range of polymeric hollow-fibre ultrafiltration membranes has applications in the treatment of aqua-based industrial waste streams, in water purification, water recycling, and seawater desalination pretreatment.

These membranes are used in over 40% of seawater reverse osmosis desalination pre-treatment systems in the world. The UF membrane is the first certified to remove the drinking water contaminant, Cryptosporidium. Heap, who also serves as Hyflux’s communications director, is forthright in her appraisal of the company. She describes the company as the best in the world, and goes even further.

“In terms of technology we have the scalability. We have the cost efficiency. We certainly have the technology to be able to plan and build from conception through to completion, testing and commissioning, operations and maintenance.”

The technologies have also been incorporated into a range of consumer products, from water filtration systems for homes and offices to portable filtration devices suitable for outdoor use, such as on an adventure trip, or emergency and military use.

This article was first published in African Business magazine, June 2015 issue. Copyright IC Publications 2015. Published under permission by IC Publications




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