Renewables advocate takes chair in desalination at Murdoch University

Murdoch University’s School of Engineering and IT has appointed Professor Wendell Ela as the inaugural chair of desalination and water treatment. He is an advocate of the use of renewable energy for desalination and has developed small solar desalination systems for remote Navajo communities in USA.

On the announcement of his appointment Ella said: “The longer I am involved in this arena and the more I see the challenges facing water supply internationally, the more I am convinced that there is a tremendous opportunity now to integrate and better focus our efforts as well as to break exciting new ground. This spans the whole spectrum from the most to the least developed countries and the need is urgent.”

Ela will take up the post on 4 January 2015. He is currently professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the University of Arizona,

Earlier this year, as Fulbright Professor of civil and water engineering at Zimbabwe’s National University of Science and Technology, he prepared a proposal to establish a graduate environmental engineering programme with a Sub-Saharan Africa regional water emphasis.

Ela will work closely with the National Centre for Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) in seeking to boost research activity at the Rockingham Desalination Research Facility. NCEDA chief executive, Neil Palmer, said the centre had benefitted from an immense contribution from Murdoch University. “The presence of an internationally recognised desalination professor will complement the great collaboration between the NCEDA’s 14 participating organisations who have collectively built an international reputation for Australian desalination research.”