The next morning, we went to Bukit Merah lake whose shore is dotted with pockets of development, some completed and some in various stages of completion. The immense lake is carved in two by an embankment on which a railway line sits. We had to wait for a small boat to pick us up. It took about 20 minutes to get to the sand extraction facility which sits on two barges and a landing platform. For an ageing landlubber, clambering up a barge from a small bobbing boat required physical dexterity that was beyond me, but I managed with help of my friend who gave me a push from under my butt.
We were to observe the installation and testing of equipment to supply water diesel emulsion or emulsified fuel to run the engine. Water diesel emulsion fuel, a blend of water, diesel and a surfactant, is much cleaner and economical for heavy users of diesel fuel. The water, diesel and a surfactant are first blended in a blending machine and the resulting emulsified fuel is heated to the right temperature before it is fed to the engine. There were technical problems in installing the fuel delivery system which were only ironed out on the third day. But my interest that day was to observe the sand extraction process.