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Energy-Water Analysis

NETL Is Committed to Improving Water System Technologies at the Power Plant

Most recently the IECM was used to assess impacts on regional water use and costs of switching from wet cooling tower systems to dry cooling systems in arid regions.

In addition, check out NETL’s recently published work with Argonne National Lab to develop the AWARE Model examining water stress in the United States.  NETL also published a Water Brief for a discussion on water demands and consumption throughout the contingent US.  Data utilized in the Water Brief was compiled by Sandia National Labs.

Water is a vital ingredient to thermoelectric power generation. This diagram explains the movement of water throughout the plant and highlights key technologies where water efficiency can be improved.  All water that enters the plant, must also exit the plant in some form. Some plants utilize dry or hybrid cooling to minimize or eliminate water usage in water-stress or water-constrained regions. In regions where water availability is not an issue, the diagram above depicts how water would flow in, out, and throughout the plant and be utilized in several systems such as in the condenser and boiler.

The technologies illustrated here specifically apply to a coal power plant with wet flue gas desulfurization systems. However, these technologies also apply broadly to other energy systems as well as industrial applications.

Note that even though the blue arrows refer to water entering the plant and green arrows refer to water exiting the plant, much of this water is reused throughout the plant to limit the amount of water taken from the source. This limits environmental impact locally.