Aqua Dyne Tests Solar-powered Mine Water Desalination

Aqua Dyne, a thermal desalination specialist, and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO) will advance study into the use of solar energy for mine water desalination and the treatment of acid mine leachate. This initiative is part of the Aqua Dyne Solar Thermal Mine Water Desalination Research program under the project management of the CSIRO’s Queensland Centre for Advanced Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

The CSIRO Division of Exploration and Mining will be responsible for the research activities. This phase of the program is part of a world-first research initiative with the solar energy project having enormous potential for remote mining areas. Aqua Dyne received approval to deploy component modules of the JetWater Thermal Desalination system to a site adjacent to Lake Liddell in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. The JetWater Thermal module will be tested and monitored over a three-month trial program. The module will be connected to a solar energy system developed and supplied by Solar Heat & Power Pty Ltd of Singleton, NSW Australia. The flexibility of the Aqua Dyne JetWater system design allows it to be used for a wide range of desalination requirements ranging from seawater, brackish groundwater and remediation of industrial wastewater, as well as the ability to co-generate with a variety of industrial plant and equipment. Research indicates that solar collecting panels of 1000 square meters in area are required to produce 1/2 megaliter of desalinated water per day. These solar panels have been installed and are operationally ready awaiting the integration of the JetWater components. Surplus steam can be produced to run a generator capable of producing sufficient electricity for mine use or sold onto the grid. CSIRO Research Scientist Dr Pat Glynn said that combining known solar technology to the Aqua Dyne thermal desalination technology has the potential reduce greenhouse gas emissions that occur when using electricity or diesel power for thermal desalination. In the western U.S., according to the release, the Forest Service estimates that between 20,000 and 50,000 mines are currently generating acid on Forest Service lands, and that drainage from these mines is impacting between 8,000 and 16,000 kilometers of streams (U.S. Forest Service 1993). In addition to the acid contamination to surface waters, acid mine drainage (AMD) may cause metals such as arsenic, cadmium, copper, silver, and zinc to leach from mine wastes. The Solar / Thermal JetWater system will demonstrate an environmental and economically sustainable solution to remediate wastewater streams.
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