Water Journal : Water Journal February 2014
WATER FEBRUARY 2014 30 Workshop Report NCEDA SPONSORED INTERNATIONAL DESALINATION WORKSHOP Reported by Diane Wiesner, Science Plus The National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA), in collaboration with the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), Republic of Korea, held an International Desalination Workshop (IDW6) at the Woodward Conference Centre, University of Melbourne on 28 and 29 November 2013. Professor David Furukawa, Chief Scienti c Of cer, and Neil Palmer, CEO of NCEDA, delivered a wide-ranging program, which not only covered international research but also showcased the project ndings from NCEDA grant recipients. KEYNOTE ADDRESS The Hon John Brumby opened the workshop and delivered the keynote address on 'The Victorian Desalination Plant -- Securing Victoria's Future', addressing reasons and nancing behind the decision to build the plant in 2007. At the peak of an extended drought, amid concerns about supply to Melbourne (population ~ 4million) from depleted surface storages, the Victorian Government's commitment to an SWRO Desalination Plant at Wonthaggi (capacity 444,000m3/day) was the largest public private partnership entered into anywhere in the world. While the extended drought was the trigger for the investment in building modern water infrastructure for the state, something that Mr Brumby's government had identi ed as well overdue, completion of the Victorian Desalination Plant (VDP) has assured security of supply for the state and achieved plaudits for its focus on environmental gains (such as renewable energy offset to power use, use of a 'green roof' for VDP, brine discharge and underground power supply). A single Public Private Partnership (PPP) package was negotiated for the whole project, a signi cant milestone for PPPs given the dif cult economic conditions at the time [the height of the GFC], especially given the scale and complexity of the project. Use of a PPP transferred 100% nancing risk to the private sector, with review and restructure targeted for September 2014, at which time the impact of the GFC on the marginal cost of money should have reduced the extent of the debt burden. After a comprehensive tender process, the VDP contract was awarded to the AquaSure consortium -- Suez Environnement, Macquarie Capital and Thiess -- to nance, build, maintain and operate the project for 30 years. AquaSure's xed price for construction of the project came in at A$3.5 billion. Additional costs were associated with transporting water 85km to the city of Melbourne and other peripherals. The nancing package was restructured in October 2013 by the Liberal Coalition Government that replaced the Brumby regime. With construction complete, agreeing to early re nancing and resolving legal claims has achieved a better risk pro le for the VDP. In turn, this means signi cantly lower nancing charges, which could be passed on to reduce the cost of water. INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS An impressive panel of desalination academic and industry speakers from around the globe included Professor Tony Fane from Singapore Membrane Technology Centre, Professors Sang Lee, Dae Rook Yang, Joon Kim and Heechui Choi from the Republic of Korea, and Kevin Price representing the US Bureau of Reclamation. Professor In S Kim (Republic of Korea) outlined research being pursued by himself and colleagues at GIST. The environmental impacts of SWRO brine discharges and improvements in energy consumption rates in desalination processes are key features of their research. Two hybrid desalination plant projects, an FO-RO (forward osmosis -- reverse osmosis) hybrid and MD-PRO (membrane distillation -- pressure- retarded osmosis) hybrid systems, have been tasked with resolving these challenges. Mr Mohammed El Ramahi from Masdar Clean Energy detailed Masdar's new initiative to develop and demonstrate advanced and innovative energy-ef cient seawater desalination technologies suitable to be powered by renewable sources. The initiative consists of two phases: Phase 1, the Piloting Phase (2013--2016) takes the latest desalination technologies not Australian and international delegates at the NCEDA Workshop. Centre front: Ms Miriam Balaban, anked at left by Prof In S Kim and at right by Prof David Furukawa. Prof Jan Schippers is third row from rear at left.
Water Journal December 2013
Water Journal April 2014