Even today, when businesses operate as if water is cheap and abundant, water tech solutions provide strategic value within mission-critical facilities. Artemis has been looking at how water management fits into the microgrid paradigm, and how the microgrid might drive widespread adoption of smart onsite water tech solutions.
Energy microgrids bring together leading edge technologies for generating energy, storing it onsite and balancing energy delivery with power use to create small scale power networks that can operate independently of the main power grid. Initial pilots are showing microgrids that are so reliable that they might provide a new distributed energy utility infrastructure that is smarter, cleaner, and more resilient.
Water is an integral issue in designing microgrids, and water scarcity will be a major driver for microgrids.
Decentralized water solutions that use onsite renewable energy for power build a water microgrid that is efficient and resilient. Even amidst urban water infrastructures, onsite water management can save up to 90% of the potable water used to run a retail operation, and 80% of the emissions associated with that water.
A waste water plant, like the Southeast Treatment Plant located at Hunters Point, can “tri-generate” power: electricity (for plant operation), heat (for digestion), and hydrogen (for transportation). In addition to established solutions that use biogas, a new breed of energy harvesters include microbial fuel cell solutions like those from Cambrian Innovation and Emefcy. These solutions produce energy as well as reclaimed water for irrigation, cooling, and recharging wells. In addition, a host of companies, see Clean Water Technology and Watertectonics offer new efficient approaches to treating sewage onsite and generating reclaimed water.
Managing energy use in water treatment plants optimizes energy grid performance. One promising water tech solution is Enbala. Watch for a wave of microgrid projects as droughts in the US and worldwide cripple the thermoelectric energy plants that power the centralized energy grid today. By using renewable and 24/7 baseload fuel cell power generation, microgrids can eliminate water requirements for cooling thermoelectric power plants.