The Water-Energy Nexus: Emerging Issues and Challenges

Originally delivered Aug 18, 2010
Developed by: AIChE
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Water and energy are interdependent – water is used extensively in energy development as cooling water in thermoelectric power generation; in oil and alternative transportation fuels refining, and in biofuels production. At the same time, water and waste water pumping, treatment, and distribution is one of the largest energy use sectors in many developed countries. At a time when fresh water availability is becoming limited in many regions due to changing precipitation patterns, increased ecological and environmental demands for water, and issues over sustainable surface and groundwater withdrawal and use, water consumption demands by the energy sector could expand significantly in the next two decades. The emerging water needs for the energy sector and the emerging energy needs for the water sector could significantly change how these two critical natural resources are developed and utilized. The general energy and water interdependencies and challenges were highlighted in a Report to Congress in 2007.

This webinar provides an overview of water and energy interdependencies, as well as examples of emerging US and international water and energy related challenges, and discusses the potential local and regional conflicts that could emerge. The presentation also discusses some of the current research and development initiatives underway to address these emerging challenges.

This is the first in a 2-part series on Water. Please note that each webinar in the series requires separate registration, and has been designed to function as both a standalone presentation and a component in the series. The other webinar in the series is called Critical Water Issues for the Chemical Process Industries.


Michael Hightower

Mr. Hightower is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff in the Energy Security Center at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He is a civil and environmental engineer and has over 30 years experience in research and development projects.  His current efforts include research and evaluation of innovative environmental and energy technologies and security and protection of critical water and energy infrastructures.  One of his current activities is as project leader for development of a Science and Technology Roadmap for DOE for Energy-Water research and...Read more

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