Sandia Labs releases Asia-Pacific study on water vulnerability around energy production including biofuels

September 19, 2016 |

In New Mexico, A wide-ranging analysis of water vulnerability across the Pacific — including the U.S., China, Russia and Japan — has identified hundreds of locations where energy production depends upon scarce water supplies.

The Sandia National Laboratories study, “Mapping Water Consumption for Energy Production Around the Pacific Rim,” was published in Environmental Research Letters.

Prepared for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the first-of-its-kind report maps out every power plant, refinery and mine in 21 Asia-Pacific economies that rely on fresh water for energy. Simultaneously, it shows the data in context to regions at high to extreme risk of drought and dwindling natural water supplies.

The report compares demand in 10 energy sectors where fresh water is consumed to produce energy — including thermoelectric and hydroelectric power production; coal, uranium, natural gas and oil extraction; refining of biofuels, oil and natural gas; and production of biofuel feedstocks.

Among the 21 APEC economies are some of the world’s biggest energy users, where economics, population growth and other factors contribute to mounting water demands. The U.S. alone has more than 1,200 thermoelectric power plants, more than 500 refineries, and about 800 mines.

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Category: Research

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