Energy Efficiency in Water Reuse and Desalination - Final Project Report

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Energy Efficiency in Water Reuse and Desalination - Final Project Report. (PDF file, 41 pages, 1.2 megabytes).


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Publication Number: CEC-500-2013-093
Report Date: May 2013



Water reuse and desalination are potential solutions to help meet the water demands of a growing population in states such as California. However, water reuse and desalination systems are energy intensive processes. This is of particular concern due to the rising costs of electricity and pollution concerns. The California Energy Commission and the WateReuse Research Foundation have joined forces to support five projects that identify opportunities to reduce energy demand.

The five projects covered three study areas:

The first study area explored opportunities that show high potential for water reuse as a new water source in the energy industry. A background report exploring this question thoroughly and a decision support tool were developed to bridge the gap between water reuse and energy industries. The results of the study show that there is great opportunity for water reuse in the energy industry; however the power and heat production sector has the most potential.

The second area explored was system optimization. In one study, a guidance manual with strategies for energy minimization and promotion of alternative energies was developed for water reuse and desalination utilities. Another study in this topic area focused specifically on energy recovery devices (ERD) for desalination and wastewater membrane plants. A model was created to assist water utilities in assessing whether an ERD is appropriate (i.e., cost effective) for a reverse osmosis (RO) application and, if so, to select the most appropriate ERD for the specific application.

The third topic area explored was the potential of using water reuse and desalination as part of the solution for climate change. In one study under this area, a guidance document was produced to direct water utilities in long‐ and short‐term planning for climate change with a focus on water reuse. In a second study under this area, a computer model called WESim was also developed, allowing water utilities to integrate a theoretical water reuse or desalination system into their current water portfolio to determine if it is a prudent alternative from an energy and carbon use perspective.