Water Journal : Water Journal September 2013
september 2013 WATER 35 Opinion capacity is daunting, let alone the need to develop advanced storage technologies. However, using more water-efficient technologies at conventional power plants could produce significant gains for electricity producers in Australia. Around the world, we’re seeing this happen. In South Africa, for example, Black & Veatch helped Eskom adopt air-cooled condensers as an alternative to traditional water cooling techniques at its 4800 MW Kusile power plant. When completed, it will be one of the largest power plants in the world using air-cooling technology and will save approximately 327,000 cubic meters of water per day when operating at full load – more than enough to fill 130 Olympic-sized swimming pools through this one innovation. Outside the power sector, there are many innovations that other businesses can apply to save water. Reuse is a way businesses could make a big impact on their water consumption. Recent advances in membrane technology, championed in countries such as Australia and Singapore, mean high quality recycled water can be produced cost effectively to meet the rigorous requirements of specialised producers of semiconductors and pharmaceuticals. Adapting and proving the reliability of membranes for recycling at global award-winning facilities like the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant near Brisbane has paved the way for a mature public and private market for membrane technology. Predictions from business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan recently estimate the potential for more than 60 per cent growth in this market in Australia and New Zealand within just six years. Other industrial players, including power producers and manufacturers, can also look seriously at closed loop applications, where systems retain and reuse hot water, steam or cold water for a variety of alternative purposes. Real long-term operational savings can be achieved from limited capital investments. Cogeneration technologies, where steam or heat is produced alongside electricity, are becoming more widespread in Australia. We are now helping the Chinese government, through a US-funded grant, to evaluate trigeneration technology where the high demands for energy and water from China’s industrial sector could be eased by producing electricity, steam or heat, and cooling at the same time. nEEd fOr fundInG Funding for the adoption of these new technologies will still be required. Investing in upgrading water and related infrastructure is critical to secure our water and energy resources in Australia. The good news for investors is that demand for water is comparatively inelastic. Goldman Sachs once again highlighted last month the stable, long-term return that investing in utilities, infrastructure and water rights provides. In order for Australia to realise greater water efficiencies, we need to continue to attract global and local finance to invest in our future. For business, every day should be ‘Water Day’. I encourage business readers to continue to push water up on their agenda, and to participate in conservation programs and best practices to save water. Not just when it rains too much or not enough. James Currie is Client Services Director – Australia, with Black & Veatch. Black & Veatch is a global engineering, consulting, construction and operations company specialising in infrastructure development in energy, water, telecommunications, management consulting, federal and environmental markets. With almost 25 per cent of the world’s water supply used by industry, it’s vital that companies manage their water use efficiently.
Water Journal August 2013
Water Journal November 2013