JWA’s solar-powered water treatment tech awarded $100,000 in Australian Innovation grants
JWA Oilfield Supplies (JWA), which is developing a novel solar-driven distillation technology to treat any waste streams, has been awarded A$100,000 in grants from the Australian government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.
The Brisbane-based company is developing a breakthrough technology that combines concentrated solar power and multi-effect distillation systems to extract pure water from any waste stream, which leads to all water from the waste to be recovered and contaminants to be reduced to solid waste.
The purified water can then be reused in industrial operations, in farming or irrigation, or to rehabilitate ponds in water scarce environments.
Dubbed the Flamingo water treatment system, the technology will bring significant benefits to the water-intensive mining resources sector, which often operate in arid environments and produce hundreds of millions of tonnes of contaminated wastewater and sludge each year.
Under Innovations Connections scheme, JWA’s engineers will team up with researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to validate the technology at full-scale on waste waters from different sectors and optimise processes for maximum clean water production and allow for accurate system sizing.
The Flamingo treatment technology uses an array of parabolic mirrors to concentrate solar irradiance onto a multi distiller system to increase the temperature of the waste input flowing through the system under vacuum.
As a result, highly pressurised steam is released and condenses as pure distilled water, while the remaining dried output is collected separately, achieving zero liquids discharge.
Achieving zero liquids discharge is an extremely demanding target under existing industrial wastewater treatment methods since the cost and challenges of recovery increase significantly as the wastewater gets more concentrated.
The two researcher placement grants will also allow JWA to develop sampling and relevant safety protocols for different waste input, which will help accelerate the use of the zero-carbon water treatment technology into more sectors.
Each Flamingo unit can treat a minimum 30,000 litres of wastewater a day and is more cost effective and has a lower carbon footprint than current commonly used treatment methods, such as those using chemicals or reverse osmosis.
The Innovation Connections scheme assists businesses in establishing research priorities, locating researchers, and providing access to funding to enable R&D projects.
JWA has already partnered up with Bridgeport Energy, the resource arm of Australia’s New Hope Group, to trial the Flamingo technology at the latter's oil and gas site around the first quarter of 2022.