The Adelaide desalination plant has a total capacity of 300,000 m3/d. The plant has been designed by ACCIONA Agua and is operated since December 2012 (20 years) by ACCIONA Agua-TRILITY consortium. The plant is required to verify, by Australian standards, its capacity (annually) to determine whether it can comply with potable water and energy guarantees at full load.
This year, the test was carried out under complex conditions. The plant had to be operated at full load within a very short timescale without any prior preparation because it had just entered service again after the winter shutdown. Since November 2015 its average capacity was below 10%. Furthermore, the start-up of the plant took place at low tide (full moon), with sediment (shells and grasses) in the inlet tunnel. This was because the plant had not operated with higher flow rates all year and it used a lime settling vessel in poor condition due to insufficient operation prior to the test.
The design of the plant, together with the professionalism of the team, were essential to reach full performance under safe conditions in just 48 hours, complying with the specifications related to potable water.
The test, highly satisfactory for SA Water, shows that the Adelaide PWTP can reach full capacity under the most complicated conditions that a desalination plant could face. Thanks to this test, SA Water has the confidence that the plant will be ready to exceed contractual requirements at any time and provide fast and reliable support to Adelaide’s water network.