The sun's heat could be harnessed to turn saltwater into drinkable water and ‘green' electricity if an exciting new idea gets the green light.
The proposal, which would slash carbon emissions, is the result of a partnership between The University of Western Australia, Impact Building Systems of Queensland, and the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination (NCEDA). It has just been entered into The Australian Innovation Challenge.
UWA's researcher in the project is Winthrop Professor Hui Tong Chua. Professor Chua is Research Theme Leader for Geothermal Energy and Waste Heat Utilisation in the University's Centre for Energy.
NCEDA is funded by the Australian Government via its National Urban Water and Desalination Plan, supporting more than 45 desalination research projects involving 60 Australian and 30 international industry partners.
The awards are helping drive some of the nation's best ideas to commercialisation or adoption. They are sponsored by The Australian newspaper in association with Shell, and are supported by Innovation Australia, the Federal Government's leading statutory body supporting industry innovation.
Now in its third year, the Challenge has attracted entries from researchers in laboratories and start-up companies around the country, from people making a difference in lecture theatres, classrooms and the community, and from backyard heroes inventing in their spare time.
Previous entrants in the Challenge have built on Australia's history of innovation to take on the big problems facing the nation today - food, water and energy security, biodiversity conservation, health, social inequality and the need to transform the manufacturing sector.
Innovation policy expert and former CSIRO deputy chairman Terry Cutler is heading a panel of eminent Australians judging the awards. See the Australian Innovation Challenge judging process and panel.
The theme of this year's Challenge is "Innovation for people". The judges will give an extra tick to entries showing evidence of the involvement of users in the design or testing of ideas or successful innovations.
Winthrop Professor Hui Tong Chua (Research Theme Leader, Geothermal Energy and Waste Heat Utilisation, UWA Centre for Energy) (+61 8) 6488 1828
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783