Experimental Water Purifying Plant opens in Australia

An experimental facility launched in the Australian State of Queensland on Monday will test a new way to purify bore water, industrial wastewater and sea water for drinking.

For the past three years, researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), along with Japanese chemical conglomerate Asahi Kasei, have worked to develop a method by which solar energy or industrial “waste heat” can be used to desalinate water samples.

Their method utilises a membrane which can run for up to 2000 hours filtering salts out of waters before needing to be changed.

According to lead researcher Professor Graeme Millar from QUT, a major advantage is that they can now use industrial “waste heat” to distil the water through the membranes, giving it far reaching applications from mining to agriculture.

“We can tap into that and make water on the spot for the companies,” Millar said.

“Agriculture is the major consumer of freshwater resources in Australia. Consequently, there is a need to develop means to use impaired water resources such as coal seam gas associated water for irrigation purposes.”

According to designs for a full-scale facility, the method could be used to purify up to 1 million litres of water per day.