Water and Cogeneration Energy: Interesting Intersections for Sustainability

As water demands soar to new levels, the constant pressure to find a good solution to creating cheaper and cleaner  usable water increases as well. In California specifically, as predicted by the EPA back in 2010, the amount of population growth and water usage would lead to an all time high demand of 6.2 million acre-­feet of water (during drought years) by 2020. However, with the current shortage of water and 5 years left to go, it is apparent that the current demand will surpass the predicted amount much sooner, leading to impending price increases and quality control issues for all of surface water, groundwater, and potable water.  

As a result, finding more immediate, small scale solutions may be the answer to this answer. For example cogeneration, or CHP, is a system of combined heat and power that cogenerates both hot water and on-­site electricity. CHP not only leads to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also uses a negligible amount of water resources (near zero) in generating electricity, which outweighs typical power plants in their 0.2 to 0.6 gallons of water usage (Ex. 150 KW plant saves 250,000 to 750,000 gallons of water per year!). CHP is both cost effective and a recommended option to a sustainable future by local municipal wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF), according to the EPA. Perhaps in this time of desperate water demands, it would be in the favor of businesses to consider using CHP.



Heather Cooley, water program co-­director of Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, states, "The challenge is that in last drought we drew down groundwater resources and never allowed them to recover. We're seeing long term, ongoing declining groundwater levels, and that's a major problem." Though there have been orders set by Governor Jerry Brown to cut back water usage from 20­-25% and to increase water saving incentives (i.e. by largely fining residential and commercial areas), many of these orders will take a long while to become effective. Therefore, we should take another look at alternatives like cogeneration.

Click on the following link to find out more about CHP: http://www.winwerksipd.com/