Charting new technology

Having been involved in raising awareness for the environment as an undergraduate, it was only natural for Ng Jiawei, 33, to pursue a career with an organisation that is in alignment with his passion for water.

In 2004, Jiawei joined NTU’s pioneering batch of Environmental Engineering undergraduates.

In 2012, he completed his PhD in Environmental Engineering, where he did research on advanced water treatment processes. He subsequently continued to pursue his interests in water technologies and joined PUB’s Technology Department as an Engineer.

Beyond the books

While he thrived in his academic pursuits, Jiawei also matched knowledge with practice by being elected as the President of Earthlink in his second year during his undergraduate days.

Earthlink NTU is a student-led environmental club that strives to increase the NTU community’s awareness on environmental issues and address climate change in small, achievable and measurable ways.

One of his crowning achievement as President of the club was to chair EnviroFest, an intra-varsity event that was held in conjunction with World Environment Day, at Toa Payoh Hub in 2006.

“Organising the event was a challenge as we had to coordinate with close to 50 different organisations, schools and entities, while juggling with our academic workload,” recalled Jiawei.

Taking almost a year from conceptualisation to implementation, the event was a resounding success, with more than 5,000 people in attendance.

Jiawei

IN THE LAB: Jiawei is at the forefront of improving water sustainability in Singapore.

Ground breaking research

As a Senior Engineer now at the Technology Department in PUB, Jiawei finds himself at the forefront of groundbreaking developments that strive to improve the sustainability of Singapore’s water resources.

Working closely with other researchers, Jiawei’s department receives R&D ideas, and evaluate new water technologies to see how current operations can be further optimised.

After pilot-testing some of these ideas under actual operating conditions, the department then evaluates its benefits to PUB over existing conventional processes. PUB then works closely with collaborators to progressively scale-up the technology for potential larger scale implementation.

“It’s especially rewarding as I get to see how technology makes a difference and plays an important part in ensuring water sustainability in Singapore,” said Jiawei.

One of the more exciting projects that he is working on involves the codigestion of wastewater sludge and food waste.

After undergoing the process of anaerobic digestion, the biogas produced can be used as an energy source.

The synergistic benefits of codigestion is that the produced biogas can then be converted into electricity via gas generators, and used to offset energy consumption of operational plants.

“This project is different from what we have normally been doing as what was traditionally viewed as waste is suddenly seen as potential sources of energy instead,” said Jiawei.

This project is still in its infancy and they are currently designing a pilot plant which would be able to take in 40 tons of waste on a daily basis.

See the world

Apart from his work in office, lab, and worksites, Jiawei also gets the opportunity to travel to other countries and learn from experts and be exposed to new ideas from around the world on how water resources can be better managed.

“I find my work in PUB to be highly meaningful as I am able to utilise my technical knowledge to do my part to help strengthen the resilience of our national water supply and enhance the well-being of fellow Singaporeans,” he said.

 

Written by Nazri Eddy Razali © The Nanyang Chronicle
Photo Credit: Matthew Chew
Reproduced with thanks from The Nanyang Chronicle.

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