The Need and Challenge of Alternative Surces of Water for Use in Electric Power Production
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Special Presentation - AEESP Distinguished Lecturer - Dr. David Dzombak
The Pratt School of Engineering, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Duke University presents the 2011 Distinguished Lectureer sponsored by the Associate of Environmental Engineeering and Science Professors (AEESP).
David A. Dzombak, Ph.D., P.E., DEE
Walter J. Blenko, Sr., Professor of Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Increasing population and development in the U.S. will continue to increase demand for electric power in the years ahead. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a 1% average annual increase in electric energy consumption through 2035. Despite growth in renewable energy sources in the decades ahead, most of the electricity generating capacity in 2035 will still be from coal-fired and nuclear thermoelectric power plants. In most thermoelectric power production, water is used for cooling.
About half of the power plants in the U.S. employ once-through cooling, while recirculating systems with cooling towers are used for the rest. Thermoelectric power generation accounts for essentially as much freshwater withdrawal as agricultural irrigation in the US., with both at about 40% of total Water withdrawal. Increasing demand for electric power will thus increase demand for water. Meeting this demand with freshwater will be very difficult in parts of the nation that already have limitations on available freshwater, in the western U.S. and other regions.