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U.S. Department of Energy to Invest $3.3M to Develop Water Management Projects for Thermal Power Generation

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have announced $3.3 million in Federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002399, Water Management for Thermal Power Generation.

The FOA seeks to support the design, construction, and operation of engineering-scale prototypes of water treatment technologies for the nation’s existing and future fleet of thermoelectric power plants. It is envisioned that fossil asset owners or operators and technology developers will collaborate and advance near-term water treatment solutions that can be commercially deployed.

Water scarcity is a key consideration for managing current systems and planning for future investments. Efforts to decarbonize fossil fuel-based power plants may also contribute to water scarcity. Carbon capture and storage (CCS); fuel switching to biomass or hydrogen; and the integration of intermittent renewables onto the electricity grid will be accompanied by increases in water intensity. Treating water inside a power plant can give the asset a zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) footprint and provide the asset owner with flexibility when water is scarce.

The FOA seeks to advance near-term solutions to reduce the impact of traditional and non-traditional water uses associated with coal, gas, and hydrogen-based power plants. These include plant-effluent streams and brines associated with CCS. Examples of plant effluents that might be treated consistent with a ZLD objective (and environmental compliance) include flue gas desulfurization wastewater, ash pond, and landfill leachate. Integrating treatment of non-traditional source waters (such as brackish groundwater and water generated by municipal, mining, or agriculture operations) with thermal power plants can provide additional synergies.

Projects under this FOA will identify and treat alternative sources of water such as effluent streams, supporting DOE’s Water Security Grand Challenge Goal 3: “Achieve near-zero water impact for new thermoelectric power plants, and significantly lower freshwater use intensity within the existing fleet.”

Applications must be submitted by January 29, 2021. For more information, visit FedConnect. A Teaming Partner List will be available for applicants and potential partners who express interest in the FOA, with the objective of forming strong multi-organizational teams. An informational webinar is planned for mid-December to explain the FOA and answer any questions on the technical topic.

DOE anticipates selecting up to three projects for this FOA. Read more details here. This FOA is sponsored by FE’s Water Management Program. FE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects.

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for FE news announcements. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available on the NETL website.