DOE Water-Energy Report Finds ‘Dramatic’ Amounts of Primary Energy Gets Dissipated
Present day water and energy systems are tightly intertwined. Water is used in all phases of energy production, and energy is required to extract, convey, and deliver water.
DOE’s comprehensive report “The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities” finds one of the most dramatic messages from the Sankey diagram (pictured below) is the amount of primary energy that is dissipated into the atmosphere through flue gases and cooling operations from thermoelectric power plants. Turning this waste heat into a resource rather than a cooling burden represents a significant opportunity to save both energy and water.
Additionally, while power plants are the most obvious example, similar conditions exist in energy-intensive industries such as cement, metals smelting, refining, chemicals, and steel production.
The report identifies six strategic pillars that will serve as DOE’s foundation for coordinating water-energy nexus research and development:
- Optimize the freshwater efficiency of energy production, electricity generation, and end use systems;
- Optimize the energy efficiency of water management, treatment, distribution, and end use systems;
- Enhance the reliability and resilience of energy and water systems;
- Increase safe and productive use of nontraditional water sources;
- Promote responsible energy operations with respect to water quality, ecosystem, and seismic impacts; and
- Exploit productive synergies among water and energy systems.
Photo: Hydro via Shutterstock
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