Gatton project could transform global electricity generation

NEW technology aiming to transform the electricity industry is being developed at The University of Queensland's Gatton campus.

The university's hybrid cooling tower technology aims to reduce the amount of water used in thermal power generation, a major issue for drought-affected regions.

Science and Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch officially opened the new test research facility at Gatton yesterday and said the technology could transform electricity generation in Australia and overseas by cutting water consumption and operating costs.

"The University of Queensland has taken a giant leap forward in this field with the development of this hybrid cooling tower test facility," Ms Enoch said.

She said the 20-metre cooling tower at Gatton was made possible due to a $1.5 million investment by the Labor Government in 2012.

Lead researcher Dr Kamel Hooman said the research aimed to reduce water consumption in future Queensland power generation plants by more than 70,000 megalitres per year by 2020 - equivalent to about 28,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.

"The technology offers the prospect of making geothermal and solar thermal power generation viable in regional areas suffering from drought," he said. "The implications of this are huge - offering up a reliable electricity supply without posing a significant environmental cost on rural communities."



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