Research Advisory Committee

Mr Rhett Butler (Chair)
Business Development Manager, Siemens Water Technologies

Rhett Butler has over 25 years experience in the international water industry and is currently the Business Development Manager for Siemens Water Technologies. He began his career in water with Memtec Limited in 1986 where he occupied various roles, including Regional Manager for NZ, Indochina, Korea, South Africa and Middle East. He spent 8 years with Vivendi Water (now Veolia Water), a world leading water and wastewater service, where he became the General Manager, Sales Marketing and Business Development. Mr Butler is an experienced water engineer well versed in technology and start-up companies water industry strategies and international water policies. He is the Founder and Chairman of the SkyJuice Foundation, a not for profit organisation which manufactures and supplies re-usable potable water treatment units for developing countries, third world water supply, disaster relief and emergency water supply. He is also Chairman and Director of Aquasynergy Solutions Pty Ltd and Managing Director of Ravia Pty Ltd. Mr Butler has degrees from Sydney University, the University of New South Wales and Deakin University.


Mr Tymen Brom
Commercialisation Manager, NCEDA

Tymen Brom has over 20 years corporate business, legal and scientific experience including successful research and development, progression of innovative technologies and commercialisation.

Mr Brom’s roles have included Operations Manager, IP Manager, Patent Attorney and Metallurgist for organisations such as Excalibur Steel Company, Q Technology Group, Watermark, Bradken Mining and West Australia Specialty Alloys. He has advised numerous businesses from start-ups to large corporate clients from direct IP advice to corporate strategy and route to market. Mr Brom has extensive commercialisation experience and has advised in the negotiation of international distribution and technology transfer agreements.

Mr Brom is Registered Patent and Trademark Attorney, a Member of the Institute of Materials Engineering Australia, and has qualifications from Curtin and Murdoch universities, the Institute of Patent and Trademark Attorneys Australia and TAFE.


Mr Gary Crisp
Global Business Leader, Desalination, GHD

Gary Crisp is a Civil Engineer with 32 years of water engineering experience and is a member of NCED’s Research Advisory Committee. Mr Crisp was involved with Water Corporation desalination projects for 9 years from 1998. He prepared the Water Corporation’s desalination strategy and associated reports in 1999/2000, “A Strategic Review of Desalination Application in Western Australia” and “Desalination a Viable Resource”. He was the Water Corporation’s Design Manager seconded to the Multiplex Degremont JV during the project development stage of the Perth Desalination Project (144 ML/day SWRO), a plant awarded the Global Water Intelligence Membrane Desalination Plant of the Year 2007. He participated in the Burrup Fertilisers Project, the Kwinana Water Reuse Plant and numerous small RO plants. In 2005 Mr Crisp was appointed to head the Water Corporation’s Desalination Centre of Expertise Section. In another project, Mr Crisp spent 7 months in the UK with a major desalination contractor involved in the design of the world’s first large SWRO plant with UF pre-treatment.

Mr Crisp has been instrumental in Australia’s desalination thrust. He has appeared on many media programs including the Running on Empty Debate Show – The Weather Channel (Foxtel), 60 Minutes (Australia), Garden Guru’s, Catalyst, BBC world service, NPR radio, ABC radio and all the states commercial radio stations and newspapers in the promotion of desalination. He was interviewed by the New York Times on the sustainability of desalination in Australia. He was interviewed by Ian Thorpe for the Foxtel “Fish out of Water” program and in October 2007 and has assisted the Canadian producers in the preparation of a Discovery Channel documentary, on which he appears, on the sustainability of desalination, aired world-wide in mid 2008. He was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for a major desalination article which featured the Water Corporation’s CEO and has recently been interviewed by the Economist for a three page article on Australia’s sustainable desalination endeavours published in 2008.

In 2007 Mr Crisp was appointed as Desalination Technical Leader with GHD Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s top multidisciplinary engineering consultants with offices worldwide. In September 2007 he was seconded to the Gold Coast Desalination Plant as Chief Technical Officer for Sure Smart Water, the owner of the plant. The plant was commissioned in 2009 and was awarded the Global Water Intelligence Membrane Desalination Plant of the Year 2009. In 2009 Mr Crisp was promoted to Global Business Leader: Desalination at GHD and is currently bidding for projects worldwide. In 2007 Mr Crisp was elected as WA Engineer of the Year in recognition of his desalination endeavours. Also in 2007 he was elected as a Director of the International Desalination Association, (Australia’s first elected Director).

Mr Crisp is passionate about the future of desalination and the sustainability thereof and has worked tirelessly to promote desalination and water reuse in all its forms in Australia, the region and more recently, the world (on behalf of IDA). He initiated Perth, as Australia’s successful bid for the 2011 IDA Congress, the world’s premier bi-annual desalination and water reuse conference.


Mr David Furukawa
Chief Scientific Officer, NCEDA

David FurukawaDavid Furukawa has more than 40 years of desalination technology experience in both public and private sectors. He is Chairman of the Research Advisory Board, National Water Research Institute; Vice-moderator of the Research Advisory Council, Middle East Desalination Research Centre; Past-President and Director of the International Desalination Association and American Desalting Association (now AMTA), and life member of AWWA. He has more than 60 publications and is patented in the field. His company, Separation Consultants, Inc., provides technical, management and strategic business consultancy.


Dr Thomas E. Hinkebein Ph.D.Tom Hinkebein Photo (3)

Thomas E. Hinkebein received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1976 followed by a distinguished thirty-year career at Sandia National Laboratories. During his last 10 years at Sandia, Dr Hinkebein was the Water Treatment Lead for the Advanced Water Treatment program at Sandia and became manager of the Geochemistry Department where he oversaw all water treatment activities at Sandia. He also managed several lab directed research and development programs which explored novel concepts in desalination.  Additionally, Dr Hinkebein was responsible for coordinating the development of a technology roadmap for future research in desalination technology. This National Roadmap was developed in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation for all regions in the US. Dr Hinkebein also contributed to the Energy and Water Nexus Roadmapping effort. The roadmapping concepts developed at Sandia have gained international acceptance and have been applied in North Africa, the Arab States, and Israel and now Australia. Since retiring from Sandia Laboratories, Dr Hinkebein formed a consulting company, Hinkebein and Associates. His company specializes in underground storage of materials in salt, and in desalination roadmapping.  Dr Hinkebein is the author of over 100 technical papers.


Professor Sandra Kentish
Head of Department, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Sandra Kentish is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne. In October 2012, Professor Kentish was appointed Head of this Department. She is also an invited Professor at the Centre for Water, Earth and the Environment within the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) in Canada. The focus of Sandra Kentish’s research career is the field of separations processes and more specifically the use of membranes in these applications. She leads a node of the CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country Flagship – Advanced Membrane Design cluster, which is focused on the reduction of energy demand in desalination systems. Within this cluster, Prof Kentish’s research is focused on the fouling potential of reverse osmosis membranes. She is also the Discipline Leader for membrane technology within the CRC for Greenhouse Gas Technologies. In this role she has conducted extensive studies on solubility and diffusivity within both polymeric and carbon membrane systems. She is also an inventor on two recent patents for novel gas separation membrane materials. She has conducted extensive research in dairy membranes systems with a focus on ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and microfiltration systems. Prof Kentish is regarded as an international expert in the application of ultrasound to industrial processes. This includes the use of ultrasound for water disinfection. She is the author of 87 refereed publications (66 journal papers) and 4 patents, yielding over 300 citations (ISI). She is an Editorial Board member for two international journals (Recent Patents in Chemical Engineering and Food Engineering Reviews) and a reviewer for a further 16 international journals. She collaborates with a range of industrial sponsors including Burra Foods Australia, Nufarm, Biofuels, Alcoa World Alumina, Dairy Innovation Australia and Industrial Galvanizers Limited.

Prof Kentish was on the Technical Committee for the International Membrane Science and Technology Conference (IMSTEC) in 2007 and has been appointed to the Organising Committee for the combined IMSTEC/Aseanian Membrane Society Conference in 2010.Prof Kentish is a founding Board Member of the Australasian Membrane Society which was formed in late 2008.

She was invited to speak at the International Congress of Acoustics (Madrid, 2007), the International Workshop on Applied Sonochemistry (Melbourne, 2007), the AWA’s Victorian Branch Young Water Professionals (2009), the International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies (Hawaii, 2005 and 2010), the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit (Melbourne, 2004) and a joint meeting of the Non-Thermal Processing Division of the Institute of Food Technologists USA and the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (Sydney,  2004).


Mr Blair Shackleton
Principal Consultant, DC GroupBlair Shackleton cropped

Blair Shackleton has over 25 years of experience within the Water and Power industries. As a Chartered Chemist, Mr Shackleton is a Principal Consultant at PDC Group and enjoys working at a management level as well as a member of a team, leading projects and mentoring other team members.

Mr Shackleton started his career within the water industry working with Western Power as a Chemist progressing to a Senior Scientist. One of his major projects with Western Power included the Muja Power Station waste water zero discharge plant. Mr Shackleton was directly responsible for the process development & environmental aspects as well as the involvement in commissioning and support to the operations team.

Mr Shackleton was employed by WorleyParsons as a Principal Scientist within the WP Water Group and was the Lead Process Engineer and Team leader for the Southern Seawater Alliance. Mr Shackleton has extensive experience in water treatment unit operations, sustainability & environmental Management, water chemistry, potable & power station water system design, water quality, sampling and analysis, project management, commercial evaluation processes and project commissioning. He brings key technical knowledge in the in the areas of fundamental process selection, design and optimisation of water treatment unit operations, water chemistry and impact on process design and optimisation, potable and power station water system design and sustainability and environmental aspects of water treatment.

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The history of drinking water from the Roman Empire to desalination #desalination…

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