PALO ALTO, Calif., March 22, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) plans to invest approximately $200 million in research and development (R &D) over the next decade to minimize the environmental impacts of water withdrawal and consumption in the electricity sector, address issues concerning the availability and cost-effectiveness of plant water-treatment options, and provide more energy-efficient and demand-responsive options for the transportation, treatment, and storage of water.
EPRI is also building industrywide R &D collaboratives, with participation from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), to evaluate the performance of new, early-stage technologies that have the potential to reduce power plant water use by 15 percent to almost 100 percent.
These EPRI initiatives were among announcements by the Obama Administration at today's White House Water Summit. Held in conjunction with the United Nations' World Water Day, the event is intended to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to help create a pathway to help build a sustainable water future through innovative science and technology.
There is a close linkage today between the use of electricity and water, which is often referred to as the "Food-Energy-Water" nexus. Power plants use large quantities of water for cooling, flue gas treatment, and other operations. Water systems require a large amount of energy for treatment and transportation. Food production relies on energy and water, and creates products which themselves require embedded energy and water.
As global momentum continues to drive a reduction in the carbon footprints of all sectors of the economy, water and energy will become even more closely integrated. Their relationship will expand beyond today's common uses such as thermal power plant cooling or using electricity for wastewater treatment. In the future, electricity will be used in hydrolysis to create hydrogen fuel from water, or thermal storage for a building envelope may use heated water as a way to improve energy efficiency.
EPRI is at the forefront of research into these and many other smarter water-energy infrastructures to increase the efficiency, environmental sustainability, and affordability of these intertwined resources.
"As part of our public mission, EPRI has a long history of providing science-based insights and solutions to address issues related to energy and the environment," said Anda Ray, EPRI senior vice president, Energy, Environment and External Relations. "In the future we will see more integration between clean energy and water, and EPRI is actively addressing technology solutions in this area."
Click here to view an EPRI brochure on water resource management; here for more on the EPRI-NSF collaborative water use optimization project; or visit www.epri.com for more information about EPRI's water R &D. You can watch portions of the White House Water Summit March 22 via live stream.
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery, and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. As an independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety, and the environment. EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.