Desal Directions – August 2011

Posted on 17 August 2011

From the CEO

It was great to hear the Western Australian Premier and Water Minister promote the benefits of desalination for Perth as expansion of WA’s second desal plant was announced this month.

From December 2012, up to 50% of Perth’s water will be supplied from the new Binningup and existing Kwinana plants, and as with all Australia’s major desal operations, these will be powered by renewable energy.

South Australia’s Premier also announced the first desalinated water produced from the Adelaide plant, and from next year, up to half of that city’s water will be supplied through desalination.

While Australia rapidly grows capacity with its six coastal plants reaching various milestones, and countries like Singapore increase its use of the technology to secure water supplies, forecasters Global Water Intelligence (GWI) indicate a short term global slow down in the growth of desalination projects due to climate and economic factors.

However, according to Chris Gasson from GWI at the recent Singapore International Water Week, China and India remain buoyant and by 2016 the world desalination market will more than double from $7 billion currently to a projected $15 billion per year.

Mr Gasson says the Middle East will remain the largest market but China will grow to number two and Australia will still be in the top 10.

We hope to welcome and see many of you at the International Desalination Association’s World Congress in Perth from September 4-9. We are also working hard on completion of our new Rockingham Desalination Research Facility and Desal Discovery Centre which will be opened by WA Minister for Water, the Hon. Bill Marmion MLA on September 4.

We acknowledge the efforts of principal contractor Waternish Constructions in completing the project and also the generosity of a large number of suppliers to our Centre – see the full list in our donations story.

Neil Palmer
0417 996 126

In this issue

Osmoflo becomes second Gold Industry Sponsor

We are delighted to announce that Osmoflo has taken up the second of five exclusive Gold Industry Sponsorships of the NCEDA. This five-year commitment provides access to the Centre’s research and testing facilities, involvement in research activities and direct support for the Desal Discovery Centre.

Osmoflo Managing Director Marc Fabig said: “We are passionate supporters of the Australian desalination industry and are striving to grow Osmoflo into a truly world-class desalination business. We are pleased to support the NCEDA with a Gold membership, and hope with this support we can further grow the Australian desalination industry as a whole.”

Osmoflo is the largest Australian desalination and water recycling company. Operating to world standards, it is Australia’s market leader in reverse osmosis desalination technology.

Grateful thanks for valued donations

We are extremely grateful to a number of firms and supporters who have given materials, support and cash to complete the new research facility at Rockingham. The total value of donations to date is more than $500,000, and the Centre is much more capable as a result of the generosity of the firms listed below.

concessional rate on initial design


control system

Endress and Hauser:
process instrumentation


Georg Fischer:
pipework and valves

process pumps


Thermo Fisher Scientific:
laboratory instruments

Water Corporation:
contribution to video for
Desal Discovery Centre


Waternish Constructions and
SAGE Automation:
RO system

We will be recognising these organisations at our Grand Opening on September 4 with special thanks and presentation of a token of our appreciation. The Centre will have an “open house” following the Grand Opening and these organisations will have the opportunity to promote their products and explain their contribution to visitors.

Sustainable desal solutions at September World Congress

In just three weeks the IDA World Congress on Desalination: Sustainable Solutions for a Thirsty Planet opens in Perth.

Partnered by the WA Water Corporation and AWA, the Congress from September 4-9 will feature keynote speeches by Sir Richard Branson (via satellite) and Philippe Cousteau.

NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer is joint Technical Program Chair of the World Congress which will examine in depth the latest innovations in desal technology and applications from around the globe.

The Centre will host two Perth events – the Grand Opening of the Rockingham Desalination Research Facility and Desal Discovery Centre by WA Water Minister the Hon. Bill Marmion MLA, and an Australian Cultural Night for Congress delegates at the Perth Zoo.

Visit NCEDA’s stand N27 at the large Congress Exhibition, and we will also post daily Congress news updates on our website and via our Twitter account @DiscoverDesal.

There are opportunities to tour Perth’s desalination and wastewater recycling plants. The Congress Final Technical Program and General Schedule are now available.

Scholarships worth $580,000 offered to graduates

Twenty scholarships for desalination research worth a total of $580,000 have now been offered this year to students from the NCEDA’s member universities.

In the latest round, the Centre allocated funding for six national PhD supplementary scholarships on desal research worth $30,000 each over three years, and five one-year Honours scholarships worth $10,000 each.

In addition, four WA state government-funded PhD supplementary scholarships have been awarded to graduates from WA universities worth $50,000 over three years.

Research funded by the Centre scholarships includes investigation of inland desal systems, novel low grade heat-driven desalination, brackish water desal systems, and hybrid bioreactor systems.

NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer says the scholarships represent sound investment in Australia’s scientific and economic future and will build the desalination industry’s capacity.

Names of award recipients and information about their research projects will be published on our website later this month.

GWI Desalination Short School

The second Global Water Intelligence Desalination Short School will be held at NCEDA on September 9, coinciding with the IDA World Congress.

This is a one-day course for executive-level technical staff in the desalination sector. It will be led by Tom Pankratz, Editor of Water Desalination Report, and John Tonner, Principal at Water Consultants International.

Early bird discounts are available for bookings before August 17. For more information please contact Max Richardson at GWI at

OzWater call for abstracts

The Australian Water Association is calling for submissions to present papers at Ozwater ’12, to be held May 8-10 in Sydney. Researchers are invited to submit extended abstracts on one of five themes: History and Heritage, Water and People, Changing Times, Rural and Regional Water, and Water and Wastewater Systems and Processes. Abstracts are due September 1.

A reminder to NCEDA researchers who intend to submit a publication: You must provide the manuscript to the Centre for approval 30 days prior to the submission deadline. Please submit publications to

Recent media coverage

‘Low impact solutions sought by new Australian research hub’, Desalination & Water Reuse
‘Desalination comes of age across arid Australia’, Water & Wastewater International

‘Centre to test desalination science’, The West Australian

‘Future of desalination with CDI’, Science Network WA

‘First desalinated water produced from Adelaide desal plant’, SA Premier announcement

‘Agreement for $228 million funding for Adelaide desalination plant’, Federal Government announcement

‘Perth’s major new water supply secured’, WA Premier announcement

‘Getting there is half the battle’, Water Desalination Report

Researcher profile: Dr Pierre Le-Clech

Dr Pierre Le-Clech from the University of New South Wales aims to meet a growing industry challenge – how to reuse and recycle reverse osmosis membranes which otherwise end up in landfill.

Dr Le-Clech leads the NCEDA project to develop options for reuse of the desalination membranes which only have a typical three to four-year lifespan.

He says finding solutions is a necessity for sustainable desalination in Australia.

At present, no other option than landfill discharge is proposed to membrane users, and the current amount of waste generated will reach 200 tonnes this year and nearly 800 tonnes by 2015.

Dr Le-Clech, a Senior Lecturer in the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering, is collaborating with Victoria and Monash universities and industrial partners Dow Chemical Australia, Sydney Water, SA Water, the WA Water Corporation and Skyjuice Foundation.

His team of joint investigators will research new options for sustainable disposal such as energy recovery, and recycling of reverse osmosis membranes as porous membranes.

Another NCEDA project Dr Le-Clech leads from UNSW’s UNESCO Centre for Membrane Science and Technology is optimising low pressure membrane pre-treatment for desalination.

This work will characterise organic compounds present in feedwaters, enable better understanding of and optimal strategies for membrane fouling control and recommendations for sustainable operation and performance.

UNSW is collaborating with Curtin University, Siemens, Veolia Water Australia and the Water Corporation of WA.

Dr Le-Clech, who was awarded a two-year New South Global Fellowship in 2005, currently supervises eight research students, and serves as Associate Editor of the Desalination and Water Treatment journal. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of Membrane Water Treatment.

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@discoverdesal on Twitter:

David H. Paul is coming to Australia to deliver his Advanced RO Training. Book now!… #desalination

About 2 weeks ago from NCEDA's Twitter via web

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