(492a) Industrial Boiler Systems and the Energy-Water Nexus

Authors: 
Walker, M. E., Illinois Institute of Technology
Masanet, E., Northwestern University



Industrial systems consume a great deal of water, a large portion of which is utilized in facility boiler systems.  As a first step towards reducing freshwater use and improving manufacturing sustainability, it is important to develop a firm understanding of the breakdown and magnitude of water consumption in these systems.  However, comprehensive water use data is not available on an industry-by-industry basis, and is particularly difficult to find on an end-use basis, (cooling water, boiler makeup, etc.).  This is in contrast to energy use data, which is collected on a relatively rigorous basis, at a detailed level, and is publicly available.  This presentation will discuss the application of a thermodynamic engineering model to a boiler system to obtain previously unavailable information on industry-level water use for industrial boiler systems.  This model was applied to detailed energy use information from the 2006 Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS) in combination with operation data for the 60 largest energy consuming manufacturing industries.  Results show that an estimated 370 million gallons of freshwater is consumed by industrial boiler systems throughout the U.S. every day; approximately 350 MGD of which is attributable to paper manufacturing, chemicals production, petroleum refining and food processing.  This presentation will also highlight estimates of total potential and realized water savings in over 1,000 major U.S. manufacturing plants, based on energy savings audit data for steam systems at these same plants.