International Association of Hydrogeologists Australia

WA chapter monthly talk : CSIRO Pawsey groundwater cooling system – from groundwater to the stars

Thursday 6 March, 2014

Wednesday 19 March 2014

5:30 socialising, 6:00 pm program start

The Melbourne Hotel, corner of Hay and Milligan Streets

The Western Australian Chapter is proud to announce the second monthly talk on the CSIRO Pawsey groundwater cooling system, by Mike Trefry, CSIRO.



In 2012 the Square-Kilometre Array (SKA) project was awarded jointly to South Africa and Australia, with significant parts of the SKA infrastructure to be sited in Western Australia. To support the initial phase of the SKA project, CSIRO is building a world-class supercomputer in metropolitan Perth at the Pawsey Centre. Supercomputers require continuous thermal regulation and CSIRO sought a sustainable and reliable energy solution to this thermal problem. The solution chosen was to employ cool groundwater on a 24×7, year-round basis. This is new and low-impact technology with potential for significant water savings.

The CSIRO Groundwater Cooling (GWC) system has been designed to cool the Pawsey supercomputer with ambient temperature water. The GWC design is to pump cool water from a shallow aquifer, through an above-ground heat exchanger to cool the supercomputer. The now heated water is then reinjected back into the same aquifer, slightly downstream, resulting in no net consumption of water. A total of six boreholes have been constructed in order to provide flexibility in managing thermal performance and, together with an additional nine monitoring wells, to provide learning opportunities for regulators, researchers and industry. This system provides a well-instrumented field laboratory for research into shallow groundwater geothermics, and a unique demonstration at scale for the geothermal and HVAC industries.


Brief Biography


Dr Mike Trefry is a Senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO Land and Water, Australia. Mike has over 20 years postdoctoral experience in environmental fluid dynamics and groundwater hydrology. Particular interests include hydraulic and hydrothermal processes, natural resource management and environmental impacts.

Mike is currently Director of the SESKA Geothermal Project, and is leading research in water, mining and energy spaces. During 2009-2012 he was Program Leader for the Perth Basin Assessments Program in the Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence. He holds an adjunct research position at UWA and he currently serves as an Associate Editor of Ground Water. He has published over 50 journal articles, books and book chapters, numerous conference papers and industry reports, and holds several patents.




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