On the basis of their position in society, water companies, municipalities, waterboards and a growing number of market players want to contribute to meeting energy needs more sustainably. At the interface between energy and water, KWR conducts research into water technologies for purposes of energy saving, generation, storage and reuse, with particular attention to the efficient handling of water. An integrated approach of water and energy contributes to the sustainability and efficiency of the entire watercycle.
Water and energy are interlinked
Both the public and private sectors are increasingly working on meeting energy needs more sustainably. Water has a significant role to play. For example, water has a great thermal capacity, making it possible to extract thermal energy from and store it in water – energy from industrial process for instance. On the other hand, both the production and transport of drinking water, the heating of household water, and the treatment of wastewater all consume energy. Water and energy are inextricably interlinked. In part because of developments such as climate change, the time is ripe for the water sector to improve existing water technologies and develop new ones, thus contributing to making our society more sustainable.
Energy saving, generation, storage and reuse
KWR and its partners develop new water technologies and strategies for an energy-conscious watercycle. We provide the knowledge needed by various sectors associated with water and energy. Our research offers insight into how energy can be saved, generated, stored and reused in any of the contexts in which water is consumed or produced (e.g., subsurface, water companies, households, industry, agriculture, sewage systems, WWTPs).
Water technology for sustainable energy
- Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) in the subsurface, for sustainable climate management in the built environment.
- Geothermal energy: ground heat as an alternative to gas heat for greenhouse horticulture or in the urban environment.
- High-temperature aquifer thermal energy storage (HT-ATES): subsurface heat storage for the optimal use of heat sources, such as residual heat from industrial processes.
- Cold and heat extraction from raw water and drinking water.
- Sewage heat recovery (riothermie).
- Energy-efficient desalination technology, such as Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO), which uses available gradients.
Energy-saving in the watercycle
- Energy optimisations in drinking water production and distribution.
- Energy-saving in household (hot) water consumption.
- Optimisation of cooling water conditioning into the future, by reducing the consumption of chemicals and energy.
Exploration of new energy forms
- Opportunities for the drinking water sector in a possible future hydrogen economy, in which hydrogen is produced as an energy carrier from water.
Sustainable and efficient watercycle
Water companies and waterboards need knowledge to define their role in the area of energy and water. KWR provides this knowledge and translates it into tools for collaboration with users and partners. The integrated approach to water and energy contributes to the sustainability and efficiency of the entire watercycle.