Figure 1. Total population, extrapolated energy recovery potential through hidden hydropower and the industry participation in the GDP for the different EU-27 countries.
The potential for the generation of pico- and micro-hydropower through hydraulic energy recovery has been demonstrated across many sectors of the water-energy-food nexus, often termed hidden hydropower. The potential to recover energy from hidden hydropower in water supply, crop production, food processing, and energy production has been demonstrated via numerous in-depth case studies, regional assessments, and physical experiments. This paper presents a holistic overview of the potential role and impacts of micro-hydropower energy recovery on the water-energy-food nexus in the context of climate change. The paper comprises a review and synthesis of the available literature. The paper outlines the potential impacts of hidden hydropower on cost of water supply, energy and food production, considering also the potential impacts on crop yield and food supply. Policy and technological barriers to the exploitation of hidden hydropower resources within the nexus are outlined and recommendations to overcome these are provided. The results of this investigation highlight the potential of micro-hydropower energy recovery in water systems to reduce energy consumption by 0.005–3.7% across various sectors and regions, with consequent impacts in the operating and consumer costs of food, water and energy, as well as on the CO2 emissions of these activities. This hidden hydropower has the potential to ease the pressures of the water-energy-food nexus and is an important element of the route towards sustainability within the nexus.
McNabola, A.; Mérida García, A.; Rodríguez Díaz, J.A. The Role of Micro-Hydropower Energy Recovery in the Water-Energy-Food Nexus. Environ. Sci. Proc. 2022, 21, 27. https://doi.org/10.3390/enviro...
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