Australia’s Largest Desalination Plant Reaches Full Operation
GE technology powers plant to help solve local fresh water shortages
GE’s Power Conversion business employed to bring Australia’s largest seawater desalination plant into operation by providing technology that provides a rainfall independent water supply to complement catchments and storages in the area around Melbourne.
The Victorian Desalination Project, 130 kilometers southeast of Melbourne, runs on low- and medium-voltage drives and medium-voltage motors supplied by GE. The plant is among the largest reverse osmosis plants in the world. It was brought online in November 2012, completed successfully the required 30-day continuous production test and reached full operation in December, three years after construction began.
“The expertise of Degrémont in reverse osmosis technology and operations is illustrated through achieving such a rapid, incident-free commissioning phase for a project of this scale, with the milestone marking the beginning of the operational phase. We take great pride in our ability to operate such critical water infrastructure assets around the world. Our operation team, involved in the project since the beginning of the construction phase, is now ready to manage this world-class desalination plant for decades to come,” said Rémi Lantier, CEO of Degrémont.
The plant can supply up to 150 billion liters of drinking water per year to Melbourne and regional communities, providing a rainfall independent supply, and is a resource that will be valued particularly in times of future drought.
The AquaSure consortium, which led the project, contracted Thiess Degrémont Joint Venture to design, construct and operate the desalination plant, together with marine structures, a 1.9 meters in diameter water transfer pipeline stretching over 84 kilometers and an 87-kilometer underground power line (the longest 220kV HVAC underground power cable of its type in the world) to connect the plant with the electricity grid. The plant incorporates reverse osmosis desalination technology used by Degrémont.
“The Victorian desalination plant is one of the largest and most complex infrastructure projects undertaken in Australia in recent years—and in just over 36 months, a very great deal has been achieved,” says Chris Herbert, CEO of AquaSure.