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$2.7 million for VU desalination research

Victoria University researchers have received almost $2.7 million in grants from government and industry partners for three innovative desalination projects.

The projects will focus on improving efficiency in groundwater desalination techniques, industry guidelines for regulators and policy makers and prevention of biological fouling during desalination.

Biological fouling is the undesirable accumulation of microorganisms, plants and algae in water systems.

Dr Nicholas Milne of Victoria University's Institute for Sustainability and Innovation said improving desalination technology was important to save water and money.

One project will investigate more effective treatment of water before and during filtration of brackish water extracted during coal seam gas mining, so that a higher percentage of groundwater can be reused rather than left in evaporation ponds.

"In Australia, desalination is necessary for groundwater in most cases so it is important we use as much of that water as possible rather than 25 per cent to 40 per cent of it going to waste, as is currently the case," Dr Milne said.

The $2.7 million in grants through the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia was part of $3.8 million for 11 new desalination research projects across Australia, with Victoria University involved in more projects than any other university.

Dr Milne said it was a welcome acknowledgement of Victoria University's leading role in the development of desalination technology.

"It's an important announcement to VU because we are one of the largest membrane research groups in Australia and we have a strong research focus on its applications for desalination," he said.

The university's project partners include Origin Energy, Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water and the Smart Water Fund.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, announced the successful projects earlier this week at the opening of Australia's first dedicated national desalination research facility and Desal Discovery Centre in Perth.


Available for interview:

Dr Stephen Gray, Director

Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, Victoria University

(03) 9919 8097; 0434 605 847; [email protected]


Dr Nicholas Milne, Research Fellow

Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, Victoria University

(03) 9919 7646; 0419 017 342; [email protected] 


Media contact:

Michael Quin, communications officer (research)

Marketing & Communications Department, Victoria University

(03) 9919 9491; 0431 815 409; [email protected]

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