Irrigation and Agricultural ApplicationsCustomer Problem: Revenue from sale of harvested grapes for wine production is dependant on factors such as salinity, water application rate and market price of
product. With no guarantee on water allocation for a particular season (due to climate factors), yields are often well below the potential that could be achieved under full water application rates. Bore water is typically used to supplement shortfall but is limited by the impact of salinity with a reasonable compromise being a 1:3 blend. Higher blend ratios are possible if the salinity of the frequently brackish bore water can be reduced using cost effective desalination.
Customer Value Proposition: Typical yields of 3-5t/ML for grape growers in the MDB were recorded in the 2011-2013 season. In periods of water deficit these gains can be recovered by applying additional water. At an average grape price of $700/t, annual revenue gains of $2000-$3500 per additional ML can be sustained. A CDI system sized to have one module per 4ML of demand can facilitate these revenue gains with a 2 year payback period if the bore water salinity is between 1000-2000mg/L with longer payback periods for waters of salinity up to 4000mg/L (5 years).
Research and Development
Mincarb was awarded $560,000 by the Australian Research Council in 2015 to accelerate development of solar powered CDI for use in areas of need such as saline impacted agriculture. This is a recognition of the viability of flexible small to medium scale electrochemical desalination as a means of buffering against the uncertainty of water availability.