(Invited) DOE’s Approach to the Energy Water Nexus: New Opportunities and Solutions

Monday, 2 October 2017: 15:20
National Harbor 10 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
R. Ivester (U.S. Department of Energy)
Energy and water systems are interdependent. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation. Similarly, energy is required to extract, convey, and deliver water of an appropriate quality for a range of uses. Because of these interdependencies, problems in one system can affect the other. For example, severe drought can limit water availability and constrain output from some power plants. Major storms and other disruptions can knock out power supplies to vital water infrastructure and lead to public health threats. Meanwhile, as population grows and traditional water sources become a less sustainable option, the demand for clean water from nontraditional sources that require more energy to produce are expected to grow.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has been focusing its science, technology, and analytic capabilities to help the nation move to more resilient energy-water systems. This presentation will address two technology topic areas the Department has been active in: treatment of non-traditional water; and advancing sustainable water utilities. Specifically, DOE has been seeking to resolve the manufacturing challenges that currently prevent the production of clean water from non-traditional sources at a cost competitive with traditional water supplies. DOE has been working with public and private partners to advance technological innovation and address barriers to help water and wastewater treatment systems transition to sustainable water utilities with low energy costs and reduced environmental impacts. These technology topic areas have been pursued as part of a broader Department-wide strategy on the energy-water nexus, stemming from the Department’s foundational 2014 report, “The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities.”