Legacy Website

This is a legacy website which is live, but no longer updated. It ensures ongoing access to the tangible elements delivered by the NCEDA (research reports, tools and information about Centre facilities and activities). Importantly it provides access to resources that document the valuable process improvements identified during the delivery of this applied research and development program.

On the completion of its research and development program, the Intellectual Property outcomes were transferred to the project partners best placed to further their development and the Centre closed in September 2016.

About the NCEDA

The National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia (NCEDA) was funded in 2009 as a policy response to Australia’s drought conditions and the challenges created by Australia being the world’s driest inhabited continent. The NCEDA drove scientific excellence to improve Australian know-how to provide water solutions here and overseas, improve desalination technologies with an aim to further reduce energy use and carbon emissions and boost rural and regional Australian communities.

The Australian Government invested $20 million over seven years from the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan into the Centre and the Western Australian Government contributed $3 million.

The NCEDA delivered five competitive funding rounds converting the initial investment of $23 million into $83 million of research activity across 50 projects that spanned five priority research themes aligned with the Australian Desalination Research Roadmap. It also awarded 42 honours and PhD top-up scholarships worth $1,135,000, and developed laboratory, pilot-scale testing and education facilities. The research projects involved input from over 400 national and international researchers from the Centre’s 14 Participating Organisations (POs) and their research project participants.

The NCEDA helped industry connect with university researchers to solve problems and create innovative ideas to boost Australia’s productivity, growth and wealth. It strove for sustainability, cost reductions, an improvement in existing technologies and the development of new ways to separate salt from water.

The research program sought to assist in the creation of secure, climate resilient water supplies as well as new fresh water sources for communities, industry and agriculture.

Download the NCEDA fact sheet (0.3 MB PDF).


The NCEDA was based in Western Australia at the $5 million Rockingham Desalination Research Facility (RDRF). It boasted a world-class desalination testing facility that enabled researchers and industry to performance test novel and improved desalination technologies and processes at pilot scale. The facility allowed industry to validate commercial products, integrate currently deployed technology and evaluate potential technology options.

More information about the NCEDA’s contract research and pilot-scale testing capabilities are available in the RDRF brochure.

The Desal Discovery Centre (DDC) was a national water science education attraction located alongside the RDRF. The DDC showcased the benefits and opportunities that desalination offers Australia with a purpose built science and water testing laboratory called EduLab and a 3D movie experience. Over the lifetime of the DDC 4,500 visitors were introduced to the process of desalinating saline water and came to understand how the technology plays an important role in providing new water for a growing population on the driest continent in the world.

Strategic Objectives

The Centre’s founding strategic objectives were adopted from goals outlined by the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts in its Funding Guidelines. Therefore, to support the development of programs and activities within the Centre, six strategic objectives were established. These were:

  1. To lead research in energy efficient desalination technologies;
  2. To provide facilities to researchers and industry to support the development of new desalination technologies;
  3. To commercialise resultant new desalination technologies;
  4. To build national capacity and capabilities in desalination research and industry;
  5. To promote increased public acceptance of alternate water sources; and
  6. To become a sustainable research centre through commercialisation and industry partnerships.

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