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Our water and energy systems are closely interlinked. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation and energy is required to treat and distribute water. As our Nation’s energy and water demand increases, it is as important as ever to make sure we are using our resources as efficiently as possible.
That’s why the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) supports research to produce usable water from carbon dioxide (CO2) storage sites.
During carbon capture, CO2 released from coal-powered generation can later be stored in geological formations like oil and gas reservoirs, coal seams, and deep saline reservoirs. These storage sites include a lot of brine—or salty water. Currently, FE-funded projects are studying the feasibility of treating these produced water to improve their quality. The treated water could then be re-used for beneficial purposes, like cooling water at a power station, power generation, hydrocarbon production and industrial processes. The usable water would be particularly helpful in regions of the country where water is scarce.
This enhanced water recovery research is not only beneficial for the energy sector, it can also be used to improve water desalination technologies across many industries. And this can have real positive impacts on the environment, the economy, and jobs for American workers.