The life-cycle water consumption of fuel cell electric vehicles using hydrogen produced from natural gas with steam methane reforming is almost 50% less than the life-cycle water consumption of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles using gasoline, according to a study by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). If the hydrogen... Read more →

Audi is systematically building on its e-fuels strategy. (Earlier post.) Together with the partners Ineratec GmbH (earlier post) and Energiedienst Holding AG, the company has plans for a new pilot facility for the production of e-diesel in Laufenburg, in Canton Aargau (Switzerland). For the first time, the energy needed will... Read more →

EPA announces 2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners. The annual awards recognize landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development. The Presidential Green Chemistry... Read more →

DOE selects 2 projects to demonstrate feasibility of enhanced water recovery; producing usable water from CO2 storage sites

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected two projects that will test emerging enhanced water recovery (EWR) technologies for their potential to produce useable water from CO2storage sites. The two projects were competitively selected from the five Brine Extraction Storage Test (BEST) projects awarded in September 2015. The two... Read more →

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $30 million in funding for a new program for technologies that use renewable energy to convert air and water into cost-competitive liquid fuels. (DE-FOA-0001562) ARPA-E’s Renewable Energy to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-dense Liquids (REFUEL) program seeks... Read more →

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have analyzed the water consumption for transportation fuels in the United States using an extended lifecycle system boundary that includes the water embedded in intermediate processing steps. In a paper published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, they compared the water consumed per... Read more →

The Game-Changing Water Revolution: Interview with Stanley Weiner

by James Stafford for Globally, water demand is threatening to dangerously outpace supply, while in the US, dry states such as Texas and California are suffering from shortages and the future forebodes more suffering. For the North American shale boom, the lack of water is suffocating. Amid this doom... Read more →

Argonne National Laboratory released the newest version (3.0) of the online tool Water Assessment for Transportation Energy Resources (WATER) this week. This latest version of WATER allows, for the first time, biofuels manufacturers to analyze water consumption associated with use of cellulosic feedstocks such as residue left from lumber production... Read more →

One-pot electrolytic process produces H2 and solid carbon from water and CO2. Li et al. Click to enlarge. A team at George Washington University led by Professor Stuart Licht has simultaneously co-generated hydrogen and solid carbon fuels from water and CO2 using a mixed hydroxide/carbonate electrolyte in a “single-pot” electrolytic... Read more →

ARPA-E’s vision of advanced phenotyping to enhance biomass yield. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will award up to $60 million to two new programs ($30 million each). The Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program (DE-FOA-0001211) seeks to accelerate biomass yield... Read more →

Aluminum and water react exothermically to form aluminum hydroxide and hydrogen; this basic property has lured numerous researchers interested in generating hydrogen from the aluminum-water reaction for modern transportation systems for at least 35 years. (Earlier post.) However, among the barriers to the practical application of this reaction are the... Read more →

A team from Duke University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College and Ohio State University has published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology an overview and synopsis of recent investigations (as of January 2014) into one set of possible environmental impacts from unconventional shale gas development: the potential risks to... Read more →

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released a new report that frames an integrated challenge and opportunity space around the water-energy nexus for DOE and its partners and lays the foundation for future efforts. Present day water and energy systems are tightly intertwined. Water is used in all phases of... Read more →

Left: Wet flood machining. Right: MQL machining. Graphics: Unist Inc. Click to enlarge. Ford Motor Company has added its near-dry machining process—Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL)—to six plants globally, a number that will nearly double in the next few years. Machining metal pieces generates friction and heat. Conventional wet machining floods... Read more →

Researcher urges more effort on assessment of land and water impacts of oil sands production; reference point for other unconventional fuels

Bitumen production from the Canadian oil sands provides a point of reference that could be used to observe and better manage the land and water impacts of a rapid transition to unconventional fuels, suggests Dr. Sarah Jordaan of the Energy Technology Innovation Policy Research Group, Department of Earth and Planetary... Read more →

Borla Performance Industries developing muffler/membrane unit for exhaust water extraction with ORNL nanopore membrane technology

Borla Performance Industries, a leader in the design and manufacture of stainless steel performance exhaust, has an option to license a novel nanopore membrane technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Borla will combine this with its diesel exhaust technology to create a low-cost, novel system that doubles as... Read more →

Schematic representation of the working principle behind a complete cycle of the desalination battery, showing how energy extraction can be accomplished: step 1, desalination; step 2, removal of the desalinated water and inlet of seawater; step 3, discharge of Na+ and Cl− in seawater; step 4, exchange to new seawater.... Read more →

Ford targeting 30% reduction in water used per vehicle by 2015

Ford plans to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle 30% globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009. If Ford meets the 30% goal, the amount of water used to make a vehicle will have dropped from 9.5 m3 (2,510... Read more →

Study finds that bioenergy crops could have a significant impact on the hydrologic cycle of a region

A new study led by Praveen Kumar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, details the links between the hydrologic cycle and large-scale land conversion for the cultivation of bioenergy crops, both now and as growing conditions change in the future. The findings, published this week in the journal Proceedings... Read more →

Other environmental concerns have pushed ahead of climate change on a global average basis. Source: Nielsen. Click to enlarge. Concern about climate change/global warming among online consumers around the world took a back-seat to other environmental issues such as air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of... Read more →

Water consumption intensity of ethanol from corn grain and crop residue and the avoided/displaced water use credits assigned to coproducts: DGS and electricity. Credit ACS, Mishra and Yeh. Click to enlarge. While a number of studies have tired to assess the water consumption required for ethanol production, the results differ... Read more →

Projected median temperature change in °F (of 112 climate projections) over the Western United States, 2070–2099 relative to 1950–1979. Source: DOI. Click to enlarge. The US Department of the Interior released a report that assesses climate change risks and how these risks could impact water operations, hydropower, flood control, and... Read more →

The 50-year linear surface salinity trend (pss/50-years). Contours every 0.2 pss are plotted in white. Regions where the resolved linear trend is not significant at the 99% confidence level are stippled in grey. Source: Durack and Wijffels. Click to enlarge. A new study co-authored by CSIRO (Australia) scientists Paul Durack... Read more →

Ford Becomes First Automaker to Join the CDP Water Disclosure

Ford Motor Company is the first automaker and one of several companies taking a leadership position in joining the CDP Water Disclosure project, which will establish a water disclosure protocol for companies around the world and promote conservation and stewardship. The initiative is sponsored by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP),... Read more →

Oily water treatment schematics. Click to enlarge. ABB has developed a water treatment technology that cleans oily wastewater—by far the largest waste product in oil and gas production—quickly, cost-effectively and energy-efficiently. Oily wastewater, also known as produced water, is basically water that is trapped in underground formations that is brought... Read more →

by Jeff Curtis and Jack Rosebro Cross-section of COMPAC seawater-lubricated stern tube bearing system for ocean-going vessels. Source: Thordon Bearings Click to enlarge. At last week’s Ocean Innovation 2009 conference in Victoria, British Columbia, Craig Carter, Director of Marketing and Customer Service at Thordon Bearings detailed the company’s progress in... Read more →

Consumptive freshwater use for ethanol and petroleum gasoline production. Data: Wu, ANL/ESD/09-1. Click to enlarge. In the US, producing one gallon of ethanol from switchgrass consumes approximately the same net amount of water as does producing a gallon of gasoline from conventional crude or oil sands oil, according to a... Read more →

Colorado River Basin including major dams. Inset (a) shows water demand and losses and supply. Pink: 9-year moving average of the natural flow above Imperial Dam, AZ. Blue: 9-year moving average of the total consumptive use in the Lower and Upper basin. Inset (b) shows 5-year moving average of paleo... Read more →

GAO Preliminary Observations on Links Between Water, Biofuels and Electricity; Calls for More Research

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week provided preliminary observations as testimony to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, Committee on Science and Technology on the water-energy nexus related to biofuels and water and thermoelectric power plants and water. The subcommittee had requested GAO undertake three studies related to... Read more →

Total weighted global average water footprints (blue and green) for major ethanol and biodiesel crops in m3 water per GJ fuel. The yellow marker (also left axis) indicates the total weighted global average WF for bioelectricity from the same crops. The red marker (right axis) indicates liters of water required... Read more →

The change in runoff inferred from streamflow records worldwide between 1948 and 2004, with bluish colors indicating more streamflow and reddish colors less. The white land areas indicate inland-draining basins or regions for which there are insufficient data to determine the runoff trends. (Graphic courtesy Journal of Climate, modified by... Read more →

Top: County-level corn production and ethanol facilities in 2007. The graph illustrates the proximity of ethanol facilities to corn production. Bottom: EWe and TCW of each state as of 2007. The foreground bar height indicates the EWe of each state, with the portion of ground and surface water indicated by... Read more →

Log scale plot of illustrative water consumption by energy-related activity. In the examples cited in the report, biomass for biofuels has the largest and widest ranging footprint: from 24,000 m3 per 1,000 GJ in the Netherlands to 143,000 m3 per 1,000 GJ in Zimbabwe. Data: WBCSD (2009). Click to enlarge.... Read more →

Report Finds Water Stress Rapidly Becoming Key Strategic Risk to Commerce; Impending Water/Energy Collision

by Jack Rosebro Water consumption or withdrawals per unit of energy produced, by energy type, in the United States. Source: DHI Group. Click to enlarge. A Pacific Institute report commissioned by Ceres, whose Investor Network on Climate Risk advises investors with more than US$7 trillion in assets, concludes that impacts... Read more →