Skip to content

Industrial Project of the Year

For the project, commissioned in 2022, that represents the most impressive technical or environmental achievement in the field of industrial water and wastewater.

Shortlisted Nominees


ACG pharmaceuticals ZLD, India

What is it?

A 350m3/d zero liquid discharge (ZLD) plant using membrane distillation technology to treat pharmaceutical wastewater at ACG Pharmapack’s capsule plant in Dahanu, Maharashtra. Operating in a harsh environment for ZLD regulations, ACG took a proactive stance implementing innovative industrial solutions to the problem of complex wastewater streams with high organic loads and problematic additives. The advanced combination of expanded granular sludge bed treatment, anoxic treatment for denitrification, membrane bioreactor, and high-recovery reverse osmosis was deployed with a radical twist: proprietary membrane distillation technology which combined the advantages of thermal distillation and membranes. This delivers ZLD with a minimal energy footprint compared to established approaches.

Who is involved?

The plant and all technology was delivered by industrial wastewater treatment specialist Aquatech on behalf of ACG. Aquatech also operates the plant under a 10-year operation & maintenance agreement.

What makes it special?

The membrane distillation technology used in the Dahanu plant is unique as the first implementation of a patented combination of advanced vacuum membrane distillation for membrane evaporation and an agitated thin film dryer for dewatering, representing an industry-changing move by ACG and Aquatech.

The ZLD project at ACG’s Dahanu plant recycles and recovers an impressive 90% of starting water for reuse, helping to meet regulations and alleviate local water stress. This project has set the stage for similar developments across other ACG locations, as water stress rises in India.


Breaking away from the norm of high-energy thermal distillation, ACG is making strides to achieve its sustainability goals. As well as choosing membranes as a lower energy distillation alternative, the overall system generates 400kWh/d through biomethane production to be used within the plant. Furthermore, the project contributes towards ACG’s goal to reduce water consumption by 50% in the next 4-5 years.


GSK Jurong wastewater facility, Singapore

What is it?

A 624m3/d wastewater treatment plant handling discharge from the Jurong facility owned by pharmaceuticals and biochemistry giant GSK, and sending treated effluent to Singapore’s national wastewater recycling system. The project, delivered as part of the industrial company’s 2030 environmental masterplan, features a membrane bioreactor and advanced oxidation process to tackle volatile organic compounds.

Who is involved?

The project was the result of a collaboration between local and international companies. The National University of Singapore carried out the technical evaluation and feasibility studies while Ramboll Environ provided plant design and consultancy. Wehrle-Werk designed and provided the ultrafiltration technology; Flotwegg supplied the centrifuge system; Novexx supplied the advanced oxidation unit. In-house contractors include PEC Ltd., Onyo, and Swee Builder.

What makes it special?

Efficiency is a core component of the new wastewater treatment facility. It utilises repurposed equalisation tanks with bioreactors that have an average efficiency of up to 99% before passing effluent through ultrafiltration and advanced oxidation stages with an average efficiency of 85%.

The site and its efficient technology reduce the quantity of wastewater that must be incinerated due to the presence of volatile organic compounds from 732m3 to just 125m3. The reduction in incineration has slashed the CO2 impact by 83% while boosting recovered water by 83% – this has translated to solid cost-savings.


The wastewater treatment plant facilitates a valuable contribution to national efforts in Singapore to increase water circularity – water demand in Singapore is expected to double by 2060. By making pharmaceutical wastewater safer to discharge, it can join streams heading into Singapore Public Utility Board’s plant to be reclaimed as NEWater, the city’s brand for potable quality treated wastewater.


PepsiCo Vallejo circular water system, Mexico

What is it?

Food and drink conglomerate PepsiCo’s first truly circular water treatment facility, delivered at its snack manufacturing site in Vallejo, Mexico. The water is treated by a membrane bioreactor coupled with reverse osmosis which has the benefit of producing World Health Organisation potable water standards with a reuse capacity of 1,971m3/d.

Who is involved?

PepsiCo made use of water giant Suez’s expertise and technology for end-to-end development of the circular water system. PepsiCo also demonstrated initiative through in-house development of water efficient technologies such as the Splash Cone, a specialised sprinkler used in food preparation.

What makes it special?

In 2022, the circular water system allowed the Vallejo plant to go an unprecedented 150 days without the use of freshwater between April and mid-October. This saved a volume equivalent to the annual water consumption of 4,000 local families. The system’s use of harvested rainwater and condensation, on top of in-house technologies which improve water efficiency contributed to this.

The scope of the plant reaches beyond PepsiCo by bringing in wastewater from four other local food manufactures – it is then recycled and reused within the PepsiCo Vallejo factory. This amplifies the benefits of the circular water plant and heightens the positive impact on local water sources. Municipally sourced water to the plant fell by a staggering 93% compared to 2019.


The plant has a near-perfect on-site reuse efficiency of 99%, acting as a blueprint to reduce freshwater consumption and expand circularity projects to over 1,000 PepsiCo sites globally. Overall, this makes a substantial contribution to PepsiCo’s goal to become net water positive by 2030.


Shenghong refinery treatment plant, China

What is it?

A greenfield, 79,200m3/d wastewater treatment plant serving the Shenghong Refining and Petrochemical Integrated Complex in Lianyungang, China. The plant embraces the philosophy of “use waste to treat waste” to optimise the environmental impact for the petrochemicals industry. Technologies used in the plant include Suez’s spiral flow aeration technology as well as a premier combination of biological filter technology and ozonation for reverse osmosis brine treatment not seen before in China’s petrochemicals scene.

Who is involved?

Client Shenghong partnered with water expert Suez for the project, which had an engineering and procurement contract value of $23.5 million. Biological filter technology was provided by Veolia.

What makes it special?

The pioneering project achieved an industry-leading reclamation rate of 84% and met a punishing discharge target of 30mg/l COD. All of this was achieved alongside a 34% saving on energy consumption and a 40% saving on ozone consumption compared to other petrochemical wastewater treatment projects, marking a devastatingly effective performance level in a taxing industry for water handling.

The project ups the circular economy game by implementing resource recovery and reuse in several avenues. Carbon to be added to wastewater is sourced from wastewater streams with a high concentration of glycol, instead of building two independent treatment lines to remove glycol and add carbon. Meanwhile, overcoming a tricky environment for sludge disposal, the project explored new waste-free uses: sludge is used for hot coke cooling to reduce freshwater consumption or, if hazardous, is converted to biochar.


This project is a shining example of green development in the Chinese petrochemical industry. Energy consumption was reduced by 6 million kWh/yr, while 14 million m3/yr of freshwater was saved as chemicals consumption fell by 1,400 tonnes/yr, and hazardous waste transported offsite fell by 1,650 tonnes/yr.


%d bloggers like this: