Water-Energy Nexus // Emerging Scientific and Engineering Opportunities within the Water-Energy Nexus

By Jeffrey J. Urban. The goal of this article is to define the scientific context of the water-energy nexus and examine ways in which developing technologies could have an impact on the future of deriving energy from water and, in turn, water from energy. Scientists, perched upon the steep slopes of demand curves for water and energy, are charged with developing enhanced techniques to enable a sustainable water and energy future. Inevitably though, for sustainability to be achieved, there must be a pairing of these innovative new technologies with a more cognizant public perception surrounding water use and reuse.

Fundamentally, energy and water resources are deeply interconnected. This presents urgent demands for impactful innovation in light of trends in population and energy consumption. Appropriate technologies can substitute for water in two of its three main roles (thermal medium, solvent, and biological medium); however, innovation is needed as these technologies have evolved over time from engineering needs, and not first-principles scientific thought.

Central research priorities in the water-energy nexus are water-free energy generation, CO2 sequestration, low-energy separations, and enhanced fluids. Above all else discussed in the article, water pretreatment is presently a mystery and could transform future water and energy landscapes on an ultimate path to sustainable energy generation with no water waste.



October 2017


In press

› back


Presentation // Nexus Message on Water-Energy-Food-Climate Through an Urban Lens

By Felix Dodds. Held at the HLPF Side event on "Addressing Resilience through the Nexus of Water-Food-Energy – Cities as SDG Laboratories", 17 July 2018, at United Nations Headquarters, part of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2018

// more
Solar-powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS)

Return on Investment Case Study // Accelerating Solar Water Pump Sales in Kenya

This Return on Investment case study by Winrock International shows an increase in gross profits of up to 186% within one to two crop seasons after purchase of a solar water pump (SWP) for smallholder farmers in Kenya. Between August 2015 and December 2016 Winrock demonstrated SWPs to more than 16,000 of such smallholder farmers and found that despite strong demand, the lack of smallholder credit options for solar irrigation is a key obstacle preventing SWP sales from increasing rapidly;...

// more
Urban Nexus

Making Sense of the Urban Nexus // An Integrated Approach to Intersecting Challenges

By Giulia Salvaterra and Michael Woodbridge. Cities are sites of complex and intersecting challenges which threaten the success of the global sustainable development agenda. All over the world, cities face persistent challenges related to increasing climate- and weather-related impacts, insufficient infrastructure, sustained poverty and inequality, resource scarcity, and sustainable service provision. Finding solutions to these challenges will be made even more difficult by growth and migratory...

// more