Nexus of Water & Energy

Nexus of Water & Energy

As Black & Veatch addresses the interdependency of water and energy, clients benefit from reduced water usage for energy output, and lowered energy consumption at water and wastewater plants. 

Large amounts of electricity are required to acquire and process water, and large amounts of water are needed to produce electricity. This is the nexus of water and energy, and Black & Veatch sees it as the major emerging issues of the decade. As communities all over the world seek ways to provide their citizens with the water and energy they need, Black & Veatch is providing solutions. 

Power producers are looking for ways to use less water. Energy-hungry water supply and wastewater utilities are also looking for new ways to reduce power requirements. This comes amid rising, and often conflicting, pressures. While utilities try to reduce carbon footprints, they seek greater operating efficiencies.  Budget realities pose barriers to the need to attract large amounts of infrastructure capital.

Black & Veatch is addressing the nexus of water and energy by combining the facilities planning for both. Each case requires a technically elegant and financially sound approach.

You’ll find evidence in our successful projects so far. We’ve achieved energy recovery by installing hydro turbines on transmission and distribution pipes. We’ve used renewable energy, such as wind or solar, for onsite electricity generation at other water plants. 

We’ve collected, treated and combusted biosolids to supply renewable energy and reduce carbon footprints at wastewater facilities. For example, Black & Veatch designed the biosolid incinerator at a Connecticut treatment plant. In the UK, a wastewater treatment works will process biosolids that can be applied to land as fertilizer and produce biogas. Those resources will be used in a combined heat and power plant to generate up to 12 MW of electricity.

We’re aiding the development of advanced technologies such as dry/hybrid cooling, less water-intensive emissions control processes and better energy management systems.

As a global leader in both power and water, Black & Veatch understands the heavy water usage in coal, natural gas and nuclear power generation. And we’re doing something about it. We’re developing and using new alternative water supplies. We’re metering water usage so we know what’s being consumed and what’s being lost to leakage. We also help water utilities to piggyback cost-effectively on telecom systems built for smart grid programs.