Water Journal : Water Journal April 2011
conference reviews water APRIL 2011 85 The National Centre of Excellence in Desalination This review has been extracted from a Presentation delivered by Neil Palmer, CEO, National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, Murdoch University, WA. The National Centre of Excellence in Desalination (NCED) is located at Murdoch University's Rockingham campus in Western Australia. In 2009, the University was awarded $20 million to be delivered over five years by the Australian Government to host the NCED as an integral part of the Government's long-term Water for the Future initiative. These funds were topped up with an extra $3 million from the Western Australian State Government. The NCED's aim is to establish an internationally significant research and development destination that helps Australia and the world face future challenges of water security. Its mission statement articulates this more definitively: • Optimise and adapt desalination technology for use in Australia's unique circumstances; • Develop suitable desalination technology for use in rural and regional areas; • Improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of desalination facilities and technologies. Murdoch University, as Administering Organisation of the Centre, has partnered with Australia's leading water and desalination research institutions to bring together diverse capabilities and resources -- CSIRO, Curtin University of Technology, Deakin University, Edith Cowan University, Flinders University, Monash University, University of NSW, University of Queensland, Victoria University, University of Technology Sydney, University of South Australia and University of Western Australia. The 12 projects that the NCED Board has approved for the first round of funding were also announced at the launch ceremony. A second funding round opened in September 2010. Priority Research Under the Pre-Treatment Theme Includes: 1.1 Pre-heating using waste heat or renewable energy and the use of lower-pressure membranes. 1.2 Optimal use of chemicals. 1.3 Specific issues for pre-treatment in rural and remote areas relating to seasonal and location variability in feedwater composition. 1.4 Characterisation of groundwater and seawater sources and mapping those to best fit desalination technologies. Under RO Desalting: 2.1 Anti-fouling technologies and membranes and oxidant- resistant membranes. 2.2 New membrane materials that reduce operating pressure while maintaining or increasing flux rates and maintaining ion rejection. 2.3 Contaminant removal without the need for second-pass RO. 2.4 Direct use of renewable energy via kinetic, electrical or thermal means. 2.5 Real-time monitoring and classification of potential foulants. 2.6 Operational optimisation. Under Novel Desalting: 3.1 Novel technologies including those for direct agricultural use. 3.2 Low-maintenance, reliable evaporative technologies using waste heat or renewable energy. 3.3 Coupling water production with renewable energy. 3.4 Piloting breakthrough near-commercial desalination technologies in real-world situations. Under Concentrate Management: 4.1 Novel zero liquid discharge processes. 4.2 Waste minimisation based on value adding. 4.3 New materials for lower-cost corrosion management. 4.4 Extraction of desalted water at source or concentrate injection. Under Social, Economic and Environmental: 5.1 Appropriate disposal or re-use of spent membrane cartridges. 5.2 Total life cycle analysis and sustainability assessment of desalination against other water sources. 5.3 Public perception analysis and improvement through education and communication. 5.4 Policy development to better understand energy-water interdependence. 5.5 Centralised understanding of national desalination deployment, performance, and lessons learnt. 5.6 Detailed understanding of the salinity and toxin tolerance of marine species in the vicinity of SWRO outflows. 5.7 Managed entrainment of small marine organisms in SWRO intakes. The NCED and its 13 members collaborate in research with 49 industry partners including some of Australia's largest publicly listed companies and water utilities -- Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Hatch, Orica Watercare, Melbourne Water, Sydney Water, Origin Energy, Osmoflo, Water Corporation, Yarra Valley Water, Water Quality Research Australia and SA Water. International collaborators include Yale University, Stanford University, the University of Korea, Siemens, Veolia Water and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Projects Approved from Funding Round 1: • Developing highly conductive graphene electrodes for capacitive desalination:University of South Australia, SA Water. A typical pilot plant.
Water Journal March 2011
Water Journal May 2011