The energy in the management and treatment of Water. A great chance for saving.

  • 30 October, 2012

Relationship between water and energy is so important and complex. This complexion is not just expressed because energy production requires water and water management requires energy, but also because of the relationship between energy and water with the climate and the climate change. If you consider all the aspects related to consume and water treatment, its transport, its potabilisation and purification, the conclusion can be that the water sector it’s a great energy consumer.

Some researches shows that domestic and industrial water cycles imply the 2-3% of the whole energetic consume and that, if we consider the hydrologic management and the agrarian demand, it could rise to the 4-5% of the national energetic consume.

Among the different productive processes of the water cycle, its desalination and purificationtends to be the most relevant issues from energetic point of view.

According to IDAE researches, desalination, which produces 1.5-2 hm3/year of fresh water, is responsible for about 1% of the national energetic consume.

Meanwhile, the purification of 3,000 hm3/year of urban sewage implies strong another 1% of the national energetic consume. Then, both processes entail the 2% of the national energetic consume.

The same researches conclude that there are important opportunities to improve and optimize this consumes. These chances have much to do with the new efficient technologies –from an energetic point of view– that, at first, weren’t considered or they just weren’t available when the water treatment infrastructures were projected or built.

For example, as modern reverse osmosis facilities consume something more than 3,5 kWh/m3, the oldest facilities could have consumes of 5 kWh/m3 or more. Recent researches suggest that the optimization of the technology of our days could drive us to values around 2.5 kWh/m3 of desalted seawater and, as a consequence, potential 40% savings in the energetic consume.

Referring to wastewater treatment plants, energetic optimization could imply savings around 20%. But the biggest impact could be achieved in small and medium facilities, with significantly higher savings than the ones mentioned before.

There is no doubt that energetic saving opportunities in the water cycle are potentially quite relevant and, even though they require an important knowledge and technical effort, the expected reward in the form of sustained savings over the useful life of the facilities well worth a detailed analysis.

AvanGreen helps public and private organizations to identify and implement cost saving and energy efficiency measures.  In more than 50 water treatment plants analyzed by AvanGreen (desalination, purification and pumping), average savings of 34% in energy consumption have been identified.

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