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Are we the Clever Country?: March 2008

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Aerosol Pollution - What part in Ice-cap Meltdown?

Our polar icecap meltdown is accelerating.

Satellite images displayed at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in March 2008 of the Wilkins Ice-sheet [part of the West Antarctic Ice-shelf - WAIS] melting, have me worried:

The report by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center discusses the latest images in context of other large ice-melt events.

"The Wilkins is one of a string of ice shelves that have collapsed in the West Antarctic Peninsula in the past thirty years. The Larsen B became the most well-known of these, disappearing in just over thirty days in 2002. The Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Wordie, Muller, and the Jones Ice Shelf collapses also underscore the unprecedented warming in this region of Antarctica."

See the British Antarctic Survey [BAS] PDF report - British Antarctic Survey's version of this joint release.

The NSIDC have reported on other disturbing breakups on the Wilkins Ice Shelf and the Larsen B collapse.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Nyrstar Lead Smelter at Port Pirie notified

Senior staff of the Nyrstar Lead Smelter in Port Pirie given copies of the Thermal Desalination proposal in early March 2008.
Port Pirie is close to the Mining Operations at Roxby Downs and Olympic Dam -- they may require additional water to further develop their mining resources, given the current boom in the mining sector.

Onesteel Whyalla sent papers on Thermal Desalination

Contacted Onesteel Whyalla management -- passed on the Desal proposal to them. Their blast furnace process generates temperatures of 2,000 deg C - they already capture part of this heat for use in other parts of the steelmaking process. Hopefully they can also use some for thermal desalination.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Water for South Australia

Visited Adelaide - many gardens dead - very dusty - high level of water restrictions in place - La Nina event produced floods in QLD, no respite for SA.

Adelaide also just experienced a 1 in 3,000 year event of continuous hot days [15 days over 38 deg C].
Now there is more stress on the Murray River and Groundwater resources - as per the fourfold increase of salinity levels in the Coorong, extremely low water levels in Lake Alexandrina etc. Some of the groundwater resources failed on a couple of occasions in the past.

Action: Desalination Proposal sent to:
* SA Members of Parliament -- including the Premier, Mike Rann; MP, Andrew Evans; Federal Senator-Elect, Nick Xenophon.
* Private industry - staff members at the Nyrstar Lead Smelter at Port Pirie.
The concept may also be used by the Onesteel Facility at Whyalla.

Rationale: Original paper with Heat Capture/Heat Exchanger process focusses on the Aluminium Smelter at Portland VIC, but it can be used in any Heavy Industry process producing large amounts of heat as a byproduct.

With the Federal Govt have still not able to reach agreement over a comprehensive Murray River Strategy [VIC are still holding out] it looks like the Murray Basin will not get any new water recharge action anytime soon.

Conclusion: By sending this material directly to the South Australians, they may be able to go ahead themselves in a joint venture with SA Heavy Industry to build 2 small [20 M/litre day] Low Temperature Distillation Desal Plants at Port Pirie and Whyalla.
If successful, the plants may be extended/expanded to make South Australia more drought-proof.

AS Leopards Unsuitable for Conversion

Bad news - the original concept was to demilitarise and convert the Australian [AS model A3] Leopard Fleet into a Firefighting Role - unfortunately this plan is unworkable - these tanks are too old for conversion.

Good news - New Leopards [A4 models] are currently available from the US and Germany already specifically designed and configured for firefighting.

The original paper NEW RECRUITS FOR OUR ASHES TEAM, will be revised soon.