The Desal Discovery Centre is an initiative of the new $5 million National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) pilot testing facility being built at Murdoch University’s Rockingham campus in Western Australia.
Its September 4 official opening coincides with the International Desalination Association World Congress in Perth where thousands of water and desalination experts will gather.
The new Centre will explain the benefits and opportunities desalination offers to Australia as the only fully sustainable new source of water independent of drought and climate change able to meet increasing population growth and industry demands.
NCEDA CEO Neil Palmer says Perth is already reliant on desal – 17 per cent of its public water supplies come from the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant at Kwinana, and this will jump to more than 30 per cent later this year when the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant comes online at Binningup.
“The continuous flow of water from desalination dramatically reduces likelihood of summer water restrictions,” Mr Palmer said.
“Drinking water from desalinated seawater is cheaper than rainwater tank schemes and often cheaper than stormwater collection and treatment.
“The carbon footprint of desalinating water is also already considerably less than that of home air conditioning or of running a domestic hot water service.”
From September, visitors to the new Centre will be able to view a 3D walk-through of a municipal desalination plant and be taken on an animated virtual journey through the desalination process.
A purpose-built multimedia room will enable video conferencing with schools around the country and live links with industry specialists.
Mr Palmer says the Desal Discovery Centre’s Edulab is designed to capture young schoolchildren’s imaginations with the science and engineering of desalination technologies, fostering future generations of scientists.
Run by a fulltime science educator it will engage up to 36 students at a time offering a mix of scientific demonstration and small group activities linking content to the education curriculum.
NCEDA is also working with the tertiary education sector to increase the number of university graduates with specialist skills in desalination across the country, and the number of PhD students employed by desalination companies.
Read more about the Centre on the ScienceNetwork WA website.