Effective management of assets can mean the difference between average and exceptional performance. At the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant in Western Australia, SUEZ has combined strategic asset management and deep innovation to realise significant gains.
Desalination – the process of removing the salt from seawater in order to make it drinkable – has become a key element of water management strategies here and abroad. The cost and impact of producing desalinated water is highly variable, contingent on a range of factors including plant efficiency and the types of systems in use.
The Perth Seawater Desalination Plant (PSDP) at Kwinana, 30 kilometres south of Perth’s CBD, is operated by SUEZ for the state-owned Water Corporation. The first large-scale desalination plant in the Southern Hemisphere, for more than a decade it has supplied two million Perth residents with more than 45 billion litres of fresh drinking water annually – around 18 per cent of Perth’s total water supply.
SUEZ and Multiplex were awarded the construction contract in 2005, completing it ahead of schedule to deliver PSDP’s first water order just 18 months after breaking ground. The plant continues to consistently produce above its 143.7ML/d design capacity. Chris Young, SUEZ General Manager Operations West (WA, NT, SA) said that PDSP’s innovative design features provide a solid foundation for efficient and effective operation.
“SUEZ’s reverse osmosis technology in use at PDSP features double-pass membranes that deliver salinity levels below 200 milligrams per litre and a bromide content below 0.1 milligrams per litre,” he explained. “The system also allows for full pressure and flow control for greatly reduced energy consumption, while our advanced brine dispersion technology protects Cockburn Sound’s sensitive marine ecosystem.”
PSDP’s comprehensive asset management strategy is critical in minimising risks without compromising assets. The systems in place support fast and effective decision-making processes at the plant – a key factor in delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective output in the long term. In line with these principles, the team is currently working on achieving ISO 55000 Asset Management certification.
Mr Young said that SUEZ takes a continuous improvement approach to asset management, constantly monitoring performance and seeking innovative ways to boost efficiency in areas such as energy consumption.
“Water pressurisation prior to reverse osmosis accounts for around 50 per cent of operational costs.
At PSDP, we utilise pressure exchangers to recover residual pressure from the concentrated brine discharge, for energy savings of up to 20 per cent.”
SUEZ received the Operator & Service Provider Excellence Award at the 2017 National Infrastructure Awards for its work with Water Corporation on the plant. PSDP is widely recognised as one of the most efficient and cost-effective desalination operations in Australia; it also enjoys an enviable safety record and culture, recently surpassing 4100 Lost Time Injury Free days.
“The team are constantly seeking new and safer ways of working, and we have developed a multi-layered safety process to reduce manual handling requirements and enhance membrane removal and installation processes,” Mr Young said.
“PSDP is an important asset for Water Corporation, and we are proud of what we’ve achieved here in ensuring it consistently performs at the highest possible level,” he added.