Figure : water-use-for-electricity-generation-by-fuel-and-cooling-technology

Water Use for Electricity Generation by Fuel and Cooling Technology

Figure 10.5

This figure appears in chapter 10 of the Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment report.

Technology choices can significantly affect water and land use. These two panels show a selection of technologies. Ranges in water withdrawal/consumption reflect minimum and maximum amounts of water used for selected technologies. Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) is not included in the figures, but is discussed in the text. The top panel shows water withdrawals for various electricity production methods. Some methods, like most conventional nuclear power plants that use “once-through” cooling systems, require large water withdrawals but return most of that water to the source (usually rivers and streams). For nuclear plants, utilizing cooling ponds can dramatically reduce water withdrawal from streams and rivers, but increases the total amount of water consumed. Beyond large withdrawals, once-through cooling systems also affect the environment by trapping aquatic life in intake structures and by increasing the temperature of streams.78127ba4-136a-41c5-b02d-55a1b50f36ce Alternatively, once-through systems tend to operate at slightly better efficiencies than plants using other cooling systems. The bottom panel shows water consumption for various electricity production methods. Coal-powered plants using recirculating water systems have relatively low requirements for water withdrawals, but consume much more of that water, as it is turned into steam. Water consumption is much smaller for various dry-cooled electricity generation technologies, including for coal, which is not shown. Although small in relation to cooling water needs, water consumption also occurs throughout the fuel and power cycle.dd69310e-a111-413f-945e-85fde42c1cb9 (Figure source: Averyt et al. 20116c050821-4d0f-452a-9fb3-6576a5cc1c2e).

When citing this figure, please reference Averyt et al. 20116c050821-4d0f-452a-9fb3-6576a5cc1c2e.

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This figure was created on October 28, 2012.

This figure was derived from Freshwater Use by US Power Plants: Electricity’s Thirst for a Precious Resource. A Report of the Energy and Water in a Warming World initiative .

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