Diving into desalination technology

UNDER the name Associated Water, Australian clean technology business Clean TeQ Holdings and Tokyo-based gas retailer Nippon Gas have established a 50/50 joint venture (JV) company to provide water
desalination facilities and services to the Australian CSG industry. Focussing on growing markets in Queensland and NSW, the company will use Clean TeQ’s innovative Continuous Ionic Filtration (CIF) technology as a basis for desalination processes.
Clean TeQ began developing its patented technology in 2004 with the aim of providing a simple and cost-effective desalination technology that could operate reliably with water that has fouling and scaling potential.
According to the company, the implementation of CIF maximised water recovery with minimised brine management cost.
The system can be used alone or in conjunction with reverse osmosis and evaporation technology. “In a typical desalination operation, the system will aim to recover over 90 per cent of the water as clean water which can be used for agriculture, livestock, industry or, alternatively, returned to the environment,” Clean TeQ stated in the announcement launching the Associated Water JV. “This compares well to the conventional approaches, which typically deliver less than 80 per cent water recovery and involve signifi cantly high cost[s] associated with managing a 20 per cent-plus brine by-product stream.”
Clean TeQ has agreed to provide the JV with an exclusive licence to use its proprietary CIF technology in the Australian CSG industry. For its 50 per cent equity, Nippon has committed to an investment of $4 million in
the venture.
“Nippon Gas is keen to invest in new markets that require alternative solutions which then may be applicable to other industries around the world, including Japan,” Nippon president and chief executive Shinji Wada said in the announcement. “As the world’s resources diminish, the potential for water and mineral-related technologies is growing rapidly, and Japan and Asia are dependent on new solutions in these areas.
“We see many other opportunities for further collaboration between our companies in the future,” Mr Wada said. In addition, Clean TeQ announced that it was supplying two 2-million litre per day CIF plants that would desalinate CSG water for reuse as cooling water at Queensland Gas Company’s Condamine power plant. Clean TeQ reported that the contract was believed to be the fi rst example of the major opportunities open to Associated Water in treating water extracted from the 20,000 to 30,000 CSG wells expected to be developed by major gas companies in Queensland and NSW.
Clean TeQ chief executive Peter Voigt said that the JV would benefi t the residents of local communities in the two states who had expressed concern about the fate of the water produced by the drilling of CSG wells.


By Danica Newnham

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