How the Water-Energy Nexus Affects Your Plant

The water-energy nexus continues to draw interest from our readers and attention in the media. This month, WaterWorld magazine gave it the importance of a cover story position. Why does it deserve such prominence, and what does it mean to your and your treatment plant? In simple language, the water-energy nexus represents recognition of the interdependence between water and energy. On one side is the relationship involving the energy required to treat and distribute clean water and the energy required to collect and treat wastewater, with issues focused on process optimization to reduce energy consumption. There is also the element of energy recoverable from the wastewater process stream that can be used to further reduce a plant’s energy purchases. The other side of the relationship is the amount of water required for energy production. This covers everything from water used in extraction and refinement of fuels to cooling process water during energy generation. This interdependence affects all sectors of consumers: residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural. The strains of growing demands for water place emphasis on more efficient usage in all areas, and the energy costs dictate optimizing energy consumption. And while the concept seems straightforward, implementation can be a complex mix of technical, regulatory, and political challenges. Regardless of whether your plant is involved in water/wastewater treatment, energy production, or industrial processes, it is important that you are aware of the interdependence of water and energy. Such understanding will help you make smart choices about energy and water consumption and the many ways you can impact optimization of both resources when you expand or modernize your equipment and processes. We first began writing about this important subject in the fall of 2012 with our placement of an article in WaterWorld and subsequent blog post.  And we have continued to work at keeping our readers informed as new discussions take place in the media. October 2012 post: Energy and Wastewater Treatment July 2014 post: No Such Thing as Waste Water September 2014 post: Energy-Water Nexus Gets World Attention