Desal Directions: January 2012

Posted on 30 January 2012

From the CEO

Caitlin Gardner from Dubbo NSW with National Centre of Excellence in Desalination facility manager Mike Blackwood (Courtesy of the Community Newspaper Group).The Centre was fortunate to be visited in January by 28 high school students from across Australia who were in Perth as part of the National Youth Science Forum. These students, entering into Year 12, are the among top science students in Australia (photo above courtesy of the Community Newspaper Group).

It was a pleasure to share some of the chemistry and physics of desalination, and the intelligence, courtesy and curiosity of the students was exemplary. One of the objectives of NCEDA is to encourage enquiring minds of all ages, particularly the young, to explore the fascinating world of water and its conversion from salty to fresh.

Hopefully, some of the budding young scientists were inspired by the presentations and will be attracted to study water science and engineering at one of our Participating Organisations in order to make a difference to the world they will soon inherit.

Neil Palmer
0417 996 126
Follow us on Twitter: @DiscoverDesal

In this issue

Feature Article: Australia a leader in dealing with climate variability

By Nick Apostolidis, Global Development Leader, GHD

We cannot ‘climate proof’ our infrastructure. We can better understand the risks we face and plan for extreme events such as the millennium drought or the Queensland floods. The latter highlighted the importance of understanding the consequences of building in flood prone areas. Having to cope with such variability poses many challenges for our governments. The investment needed is much greater than other countries with more stable and predictable weather patterns. How do we build climate resilience into water infrastructure, transportation and energy networks, buildings and communication systems?

Read the feature article on

Public Open Day, February 25, 2012

The Desal Discovery Centre will open its doors to the public on Saturday, February 25. This coincides with the local Rockingham Musselfest, and will be held between 1pm and 5pm.

DDC Manager Warren Hays says the Centre has so far hosted tours by schoolteachers from local schools Kolbe Catholic College and Rockingham Montessori, a class from St Judes Catholic Primary, and students from the National Youth Science Forum.

School visits will continue throughout the school year and further public events will coincide with Science Week and Murdoch University’s Rockingham Campus Open Day later in the year.

Schools and organisations interested in visiting the DDC or supporting its science education activities can contact Mr Hays at or on 08 9360 7177.

International Intakes and Outfalls workshop now open for registration

Registrations are now being taken for the Centre’s fourth research workshop, to be held in Adelaide on May 16-17.

International and national researchers and industry leaders will present current best practice in seawater intakes and discharges, examine case studies, and consider challenges for future research.

See more information about the workshop, or register online now.

Funding Round 4 attracts 38 EOIs

Thirty eight Expressions of Interest have been received from NCEDA Participating Organisations for Funding Round 4 project grants.

The next stage will see EOI evaluation completed by February 17 and shortlisted applicants invited to submit proposals by March 26. Approved FR4 projects will be announced at the end of April.

The Centre’s research activity is funded under the Australian Government’s Water for the Future program.

New resident researcher explores solar desalination

A Victoria University Mechanical Engineering student is now a resident researcher at NCEDA’s Rockingham Facility.

High Distinction-achieving Christina Knorr is evaluating and developing suggestions for improving a commercially available simple solar desalination system which has the potential to provide sustainable and safe drinking water to remote communities and developing nations.

The only female in her VU Mechanical Engineering class, Ms Knorr was successful in her application for a travel bursary which enabled her to work on the solar desalination system based at the Rockingham Desalination Research Facility (RDRF) over the summer period. This topic will now be the subject of her final year project and ongoing literary review.

In line with NCEDA’s aim of providing opportunities for students of Participating Organisations to study desalination in a practical laboratory environment, Ms Knorr is able to meet and work with top researchers, industry leaders and technicians with broad water industry experience at NCEDA. She has also taken opportunities to explain how solar desal works to science teachers and high school students visiting the Centre.

Born in Russia, Ms Knorr studied in Germany before backpacking with her husband-to-be throughout Australia. The couple worked hard to gain entry to universities here to continue their studies, and once she has completed her degree, Ms Knorr intends to move permanently to Rockingham to undertake her PhD studies with Victoria University at the RDRF.

Under the surface of Perth Seawater Desalination Plant

The Water Corporation has recently published underwater vision around the Kwinana desalination plant, showing marine life around the intake and brine discharge from the diffuser.

Watch the video on YouTube.

Media coverage, links and articles

A new vision for desalination, Institute of Chemical Engineers, Dec 21, 2011.

Top science students learn about desalination, Murdoch University News, Jan 23, 2012.

Fact Sheet: Desalination in Australia, NCEDA, Jan 2012.

Gold Industry Sponsors

The NCEDA is grateful for the generous support of our Gold Industry Sponsors.


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