May 15 – Steven


Today we were up early for breakfast then off to the Adelaide desalinization plant. We walked through the Kauwi garden on the way inside the plant. Kauwi is the native word for water. Once inside we were given two presentations on how the desalinization plant deals with the ecological environment surrounding it and the desalinization process as a whole. Second on our busy day was the Australian Bureau of meteorology. We learned what Australia’s weather and climate is and we got to compare it to our weather back in the U.S. One way we discussed was how El Nino and La Nina had opposite effects for the Australia climate opposed to what we experience in the U.S. After we came back to the hostel for a quick lunch.


At the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

At the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

After lunch we were off to the University of Adelaide. The University was just on the north side of the city and had older buildings that somewhat gave it a look similar to MSU’s campus. But they also had newer tech savvy buildings to complement the older ones.  There we were given a speech on how Australia is approaching alternative renewable energy. After we got to go back into the labs to see experiments on some allege that was being grown and tested on, along with some engineering experiments labs too. Finally we wrapped up the day with a potluck dinner. Everyone was grouped and then prepared a dish that dealt with sustainability.

Walking through the campus of the University of Adelaide.

Walking through the campus of the University of Adelaide.

Today was jam-packed with information on sustainability. The desalinization plant is a great resource for the people of Adelaide. With Adelaide being in the driest state on the driest Continent of the world, water is a important topic for the city. The plant gives Adelaide safe clean drinking water, but the plant also tries its hardest to not leave a huge carbon footprint or a big impact on the environment surrounding it. They also make it a point to use energy efficiently.

Topics of water usage at the Desalinization plant.

Topics of water usage at the Desalinization plant.

When we visited the University of Adelaide we were taught how Australia’s geography and population plays a big role on the energy grid. With most of Australia’s population being on the coast, that’s where the energy grid is. They use wind turbines for the coastal areas. This keeps the energy close to where it is consumed. We also discussed that in the long run they could start harvesting more solar thermal energy in the middle of the country where it has desert like conditions.

At the lab's where we saw the Algae experiments.

At the lab’s where we saw the Algae experiments.

Lastly when we ate our potluck dinner we talked about what made each dish sustainable. Everyone purchased the ingredients from the local farmers market, where we saw what it was like to shop for local venders and not at the typical U.S. supermarket. We discussed how buying local puts more money back into the city’s economy. Why buying local ment less cost for food delivery and how the food itself was sustainable and would replenish.

Preparing the Potluck dinner.

Preparing the Potluck dinner.




As our adventure in Australia is just beginning, this will be our third and last day in Adelaide. Lets take a little look closer as to what the this great city has to offer. Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and the fifth largest city in Australia. With a population of around 1.25 million. The city was founded in 1836 and was named after Adelaide of Saxe-Meininge, the queen consort to king William IV. The city streches 20km (12mi) from coast to the foothills on the west side, and 90km (56mi) from Gawler on the north to Sellicks Beach on the south. Adelaide is home to some of the most thrilling attractions. The Adelaide Zoo, which is the second oldest zoo in Australia, is coming up on its 130 anniversary.  The zoo is located on the north side of the city and is owned and operated on a non-profit basis. Other attractions include the Adelaide Entertainment Center and the Adelaide Oval. The Oval is a sports stadium which mainly is the home to sports like cricket and Australian rules football. Concerts also take place here where acts like Micheal Jackson, AC/DC, David Bowie, and Foo Fighters have all performed. In 2014 construction will be completed to seat 53,500.

The Adelaide Oval

The Adelaide Oval

Today’s weather will have a high of 17.2 C (63F) and a low of 11.6C (53F). This is pretty standard temp for Adelaide this time of year. But the bad news is there is a 40% chance of rain.

Our first trip today will be to the Adelaide Desalinization Plant, bright and early at 9:30am. Hopefully we will have recovered from jet-lag by this point. For those of you who are unaware of what a desalinization is, it is the removal of salt and minerals from salt water to be made into potable drinking water. The plant is on the eastern shore of Gulf St. Vincent. The plant started desalinization in 2011, after water shortages and great drought in 2006 and 2007. The plant is powered 100% on accredited renewable green energy. They maximize natural light and solar power, along with harvesting rain water for non-potable water use inside the building. This plant has one of the lowest carbon footprints for a desalinization plant in the world. From start to 2013 the plant provided 30 billion liters of clean drinking water.

Adelaide Desalinization Plant

Adelaide Desalinization Plant

The second stop for today will be to the TAFE Regency Campus where we will be visiting the Renewable Energy Center. This will most likely be one of my favorite stops on our trip, because Renewable Energy is so interesting to me! The Regency campus has many courses to offer from Meat Processing and Food Technology to Electrical and Renewable Energy. The Renewable Energy Center studies renewable energies such as Photovoltaic,  Solar Thermal Systems, and Wind Energy.

An Array of Solar panels at the Renewable Energy Center.

An Array of Solar panels at the Renewable Energy Center.

To wrap up our last day in Adelaide we have the option of going to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens. These gardens are some of the most beautiful gardens in all of South Australia. The gardens are home to three architectural significant glass houses, the Palm House, Bicentennial Conservatory, and the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion. You may also stumble into the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, or the Garden of Health. The Garden of Health is divided into two sections the Contemplation garden where well-being and reflection are enhanced, and the Healing garden which informs how we can use natural plants for disease prevention and treatment of illness. Lastly one might find themselves looking at the Native Garden where native plants are used at a domesticated level. Native plants to the area are used for hedges, structural planting, and screening vegetation.

The Palm House in the Adelaide Botanical Gardens

The Palm House in the Adelaide Botanical Gardens


9 thoughts on “May 15 – Steven

  1. Sonya Ribnicky

    Tell us more about the potluck dinner. What did you buy, how was it prepared? Looks like a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

    • ribnick2

      My group did grilled chicken. It was purchased at the local farmers market and the chickens were free range, the breasts were larger than what you would find back at a super market in the states. We bought all local seasonings from the market as well. We made the dinner in the hostel so we had to use the kitchen in shifts so others in the hostel could use the kitchen at the same time.

  2. Shelly Schmidt

    Are the prices about the same as they are on the USA for organic or fresh food? Are you finding anything that is different than the fruits and veg’s we eat in the US??? How was the Potluck? Are there very many vegetarians on the trip?

    • rubinsc1

      Wow, it’s great to see so many questions here. I know it was a while ago, but from what we’ve seen the food prices are quite a bit more than they would be in the US. This is especially true for prepared foods which have a GST (Goods and Services Tax) incorporated with the sticker price. Having said that some locally grown produce is comparable in price to that of the USA, but the meat-no matter where it’s from-was quite a bit more expensive. The produce is probably cheaper when it is locally grown because they do not have to pay shipping and handling costs. This is a win-win because it is also more enviornmentally sensitive to shop locally. There are very similar fruits and vegetables, but I think I can speak for everybody when I say we’ve never had more oranges than we had during the bus rides with Flick. But besides that we’ve eaten apples and bananas, or opples and bononos if you’d prefer. As for the vegetables, some of us eat only vegetables-by my quick count it’s about six-and some of us refuse to eat vegetables, with beetroot being the only common vegetable that doesn’t overlap the two countries. I hope that was helpful!

    • paranjp1

      The cost of food here is more expensive compared to America. However in terms of freshness and quality the price is worth it most of the time. The prices for organic food varies. It depends on where you shop. For instance the organic food in the farmers market is cheaper such as local fruits and vegetables. However in supermarkets the price for organic food is higher.

      There are two complete vegetarians, 2 gluten free girls, and a few people who have religious restrictions on food.

      I hope I answered some of your questions!

  3. Great blog post Steve! I found a lot of what we saw on this day really interesting, especially with the desalination plant. It was a real treat for me because it shows how the Australian government, specifically in Adelaide, has decided to divert its funds what with the water crisis it is encountering. After learning why the state government decided on creating the deal plant with the Adelaide CBD representatives, it was great to see the product of that decision. Even though our readings cite a lot of negatives associated with desalination- the high cost, the degradation of marine ecosystems, the amount of energy required to do so, and salty wastewater that may not be disposed of in a sustainable manner- it seems that this desal plant is exceptional. The presenter told us about how the ocean’s oxygen concentrations and salinity levels, along with other indicators of environmental health, were not becoming tarnished by the desal process. Though there may be some controversy surrounding the associated energy usage, it has the potential to relieve Adelaide of many water management issues.

  4. azrolling

    Though most everyone thought the engineering portion of this day was boring and bland I found it extremely interesting. First of all I really enjoyed the presentation about the different types of solar energy collection methods. I also thought the lab tour about analyzing soot concentrations of different types of fuel by using lasers to section flames was very cool. I only wished they gave a demo. To answer a question below the pot-luck dinner turned out great. My group (Paul, Leo, Scott, and I) made guacamole. The freshness of the ingredients we bought from the Adelaide central market made the final product taste amazing. Plus the chips we bought were fresh corn chips from an olive farm and nicely complimented the guacamole. The only problem we had (which didn’t end up being a problem at all) was that a vender sold us peppers which looked spicy but were not spicy at all, and just tasted like green peppers.

  5. shanersnyder

    I can see many comments following a blog full of information, but I would like to add a little more. As with any large project such as the Adelaide Desalinization Plant, public support is key. We have also learned about the difference in lab controlled science and how things may work differently in the real world. These two topics collided in the Adelaide area. It would make sense that higher salt levels in the water that is returned to the ocean could cause harm to the local ecosystem, so that appears to be the majority of the public’s opinion. Our group learned that the plant actually has results that show very little effect on the local ecosystem. To the surprise of those at the plant, there has even been a growth in local marine wildlife as fishing was restricted in the area. Such results and events show that for now, the effects of the plant on marine life has proven to be minimal. It now will take time and effort to convince the public of these results. I personally have been impressed by this desalinization plant.

  6. leoornelas23

    The Potluck has been one of my favorite activities. I was partnered with Paul, Andrew and Scott. We made some amazing Guacamole with all locally grown items. The avocados, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and limes were all grown in Australia. By purchasing local products we helped the local economy and reduced our Carbon Foot Print because the items were not imported.

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