Research and analysis are being conducted to evaluate and develop cost-effective approaches to using non-traditional (also called "impaired" or "alternative") sources of water to supplement or replace fresh water for cooling and other power plant needs. Opportunities exist for the utilization of lower-quality, non-traditional water sources. Examples of non-traditional waters include surface and underground mine pool water, coal-bed methane produced waters, and industrial and/or municipal wastewater.
Innovations for Existing Plants Program (IEP) research in this area has focused on a variety of issues, including feasibility studies for a variety of non-traditional water types and research into developing advanced water treatment technologies to enable coal-based power plants to use impaired water in recirculating cooling systems without notably increased scaling and without significant decreases in cycles of concentration. Feasibility studies involve multiple issues, such as the flow of different non-traditional waters available in different regions, abandoned mine water, costs associated with collecting and treating each of the variety of non-traditional waters (like oil and natural gas produced water), and consideration of the variety of state-specific regulations pertaining to non-traditional water use.
Click on a project title in the table or click on the map for more information on individual projects.