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Recent Achievements

TECHNICAL PROGRESS

Estimated that a new promising sorbent for COcapture of coal-fired power plants could offer up to a 50% reduction in the energetic cost of capture as compared to traditional technology

RECOGNITION

CERC researcher elected a 2016 Fellow of the American Chemical Society with the following citation: “Recognized for the synthesis and applications of new materials including the world’s hardest metals; conducting polymer membranes for water purification; and graphene-based energy storage devices”

Water and Energy Technologies

Clockwise from top left: A sequential batch reactor used to test wastewater treatment and energy efficiency; Researchers examining waterless dry CO2 fracturing tools; GE 7FB gas turbine modified for external heating via non-fossil sources; Researchers using liquid chromatography as one of their tools to track chemical contaminants in water supplies

Several current trends are increasing the urgency to address the energy-water nexus in an integrated way, both in the U.S. and China. Precipitation and temperature patterns are undergoing rapid change with increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events. Population growth and regional migration trends indicate that the population in certain arid areas (such as the Southwest United States) is likely to continue to increase, further impacting the management of both energy and water systems. The introduction of new technologies in the energy and water domains could shift water and energy demands. Moreover, policy developments addressing water impacts of energy production are introducing additional complexities for decision making. As both the challenges and opportunities at the energy-water nexus within the U.S. are mirrored in China, productive research collaboration is expected to benefit both nations.

The CERC Water and Energy Technologies Consortium (CERC WET) aims to build and share knowledge, technologies, human capabilities, and relationships that position China and the United States, in particular with relevant industries and non-profits, to thrive in a future with constrained energy and water resources in a changing global climate. Dr. Ashok Gadgil from University of California, Berkeley leads the U.S. consortium, and Liu He, from Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration & Development (RIPED) leads the Chinese consortium.

The U.S. and Chinese consortia (collectively, CERC WET) have agreed to a Joint Work Plan (Bilingual PDF) to significantly advance water and energy technologies, in both China and the United States. U.S. and Chinese officials simultaneously agreed to a Technology Management Plan (TMP) (Bilingual PDF) regarding intellectual property rights. The Agreement (English PDF Chinese PDF) protects American and Chinese research, scientists, and engineers by ensuring their intellectual property rights for the technology they create.

Research Focus Areas

WATER USE REDUCTION AT THERMOELECTRIC PLANTS

The overarching objective is to address electricity needs, particularly in regions where water is scarce, by creating technological breakthroughs in the areas of water recovery system, dry cooling, non-conventional power conversion, dry carbon-capture methods, and reduced fuel consumption for thermoelectric power plants. The research projects are aimed at developing new approaches to reduce water consumption and emissions from thermoelectric plants.

TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF NON-TRADITIONAL WATERS 

Researchers are leveraging existing expertise to create new, integrated solutions that will enable the expanded use of non-traditional waters with an emphasis on desalination techniques, natural treatment systems to remove contaminants, and forward osmosis technologies. Researchers are developing models that provide comparative scenarios for non-traditional water management, gain a broader understanding of regional factors, and support technology selection.

IMPROVING SUSTAINABLE HYDROPOWER DESIGN AND OPERATION

Research focus is to improve sustainable hydropower design and operation and to evaluate system reliability under non-stationary hydroclimates. Researchers are developing short-term optimal operational strategies for hydropower facilities; improving life-time design and operations of hydropower facilities under nonstationary hydroclimates; developing remote-sensing precipitation monitoring and forecasts platform to support short-term hydropower scheduling and examining system resilience under extreme events; and assessing hydropower dispatch on electric grids and its social impacts.

CLIMATE IMPACT MODELING, METHODS, AND SCENARIOS TO SUPPORT IMPROVED ENERGY & WATER SYSTEMS UNDERSTANDING 

The focus is to project future changes in the hydrological cycle of the American West and China, to evaluate these projections against the historical record, and use the validated projections to quantify the impacts of the changing hydrological cycle on power plants, electric grid operations, hydropower generation, and power requirements for the reliable provision of water supplies. The primary goal is to improve our understanding of the resiliency and risks associated with critical energy and water resources.

DATA ANALYSIS TO INFORM POLICY AND PLANNING DECISIONS

Researchers will provide insights for future energy-water nexus management decisions in the United States and China. The research team is identifying technology and energy development pathways to maximize water and energy efficiency, conduct policy analysis, and provide recommendations for optimal co- control of energy and water.

The CERC Water and Energy Technologies Consortium currently includes the following U.S. members:

  • Lead:
  • Partners:
    • California Energy Commission (Sacramento, CA)
    • Deltares, USA (Silver Spring, MD)
    • Duke Energy (Charlotte, NC)
    • Energy Foundation (San Francisco, CA)
    • Glacier Technologies (El Paso, TX)
    • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA)
    • Porifera, Inc. (Hayward, CA)
    • Southern California Gas Company (Los Angeles, CA)
    • Southern California Edison (Rosemead, CA)
    • Stockholm Energy Institute (Somerville, MA)
    • University of California, Davis (Davis, CA)
    • University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA)
    • University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
    • University of California, Merced (Merced, CA)
    • University of California, Office of the President (Oakland, CA)
    • Walt Disney Imagineering (Glendale, CA)

The CERC Water and Energy Technologies Consortium currently includes the following Chinese members:

  • Lead:
    • Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration & Development (RIPED) (Bejing)
  • Partners:
    • Asia-Europe Water Resources Research and Utilization Center (Hunan)
    • China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (Beijing)
    • China Power Engineering Consulting (Group) Corporation (Beijing)
    • China Three Gorges Corporation (Beijing)
    • China Yixing Industrial Park for Environmental Science & Technology (Jiangsu)
    • Dano (Beijing) Oilfield Services Co., Ltd (Beijing)
    • Guodian New Energy Technology Research Institute (Beijing)
    • Hunan Yongqing Environmental Science & Technology Co., Ltd (Hunan)
    • Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing)
    • International Applied Energy Technology Innovation Institute (Zhenhai)
    • National Development and Resource Commission, Energy Research Institute (Beijing)
    • North China Electric Power University (Beijing)
    • Peking University Water Center (Beijing)
    • Power Construction Corporation of China (Beijing)
    • School of Resource and Earth Science, China University of Mining and Technology (Jiangsu)
    • Shanxi Yanchang Petroleum Co., Ltd (Shaanxi)
    • Shenhua Group (Beijing)
    • The Institute of Seawater Desalination and Multipurpose Utilization, SOA (Tianjin)
    • Tsinghua University, School of Environment (Beijing)
    • Yalongjiang River Basin Hydropower Development Co. Ltd (Chengdu)
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