Siemens signs wind desalination MoU in Australia

Siemens Australia has announced a partnership with Windesal, a South Australia company using technology designed in Denmark, to develop clean technologies and wind-powered desalination plants.

Speaking in Adelaide on 20 May 2010, the chairman and managing director of Siemens Australia, Albert Goller, said that the development would ensure a reliable source of fresh drinking water to towns and cities across South Australia.

Mr Goller said Siemens’ alliance with Windesal is an extension of the organisation’s newly-launched Picture the Future: Australia Energy and Water 2030 blueprint, which recommends Australia invests Aus$ 60 billion (US$ 74.2 billion) on alternative energy initiatives and Aus$ 23 billion (US$ 28.4 billion) on water infrastructure over the next decade. Under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two companies, a water technology hub could be set up in South Australia and serve as a world-class industry showcase for new water technologies.

Port Pirie, on the Spencer Gulf north of Adelaide, has been earmarked as a possible location for the water technology hub, which would position the city and other regional areas as global leaders in water innovation. It would also potentially create a new food bowl for South Australia by providing water to the nutrient-rich soils of the state’s mid-north.

The development is envisaged as a series of wind-powered desalination plants established across the state, each of which would be capable of harnessing 100% renewable energy to turn seawater and groundwater into potable water.

The executive director of Windesal, Barrie Harrop, said 20 locations have been identified in South Australia as possible sites for wind-powered desalination plants, initially generating up to 100 million m³ of new water for the state annually and potentially creating thousands of new jobs.

Bertram Ehmann, executive vice president of energy for Siemens Ltd, said, “Siemens offers a turn-key solution for Windesal with the expertise to fully integrate wind power, diesel and desalinated water into one remotely-based water purifying solution for regional areas. Particularly important is our vast experience in the South Australian region and capacity to offer hands-on assistance for maintenance and ongoing continuity of the project long-term.”

Windesal uses standard commercial wind-turbines with back-up power being provided by diesel generator sets available from a number of recognised manufacturers. These standard gensets are modified in the company’s factory to incorporate a low-load and fast start-up capability.