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Senator Pete V. Domenici
CHAIRMAN PETE V. DOMENICI
HEARING BEFORE THE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
October 20, 2005
It is my pleasure to welcome you to today’s hearing on S. 1016, the Desalination Water Supply Shortage Prevention Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Martinez and S. 1860, the Energy and Water Technology Research, Development and Transfer Program Act of 2005, a bill I introduced co-sponsored by Senator Bingaman, Majority Leader Frist, Senator Alexander, and Senator Feinstein.
Water scarcity and declining water quality are increasingly critical issues throughout the world. As the world's population grows and stores of fresh water are depleted, finding additional sources of fresh water is critical to meeting our energy needs and ensuring peace and security domestically and abroad.
Widespread water shortages are expected here at home. A GAO report states that thirty-six states anticipate shortages in the next ten years. While we have long dealt with water shortages in the West, available supplies of water in the east coast have also been stretched thin. Despite receiving substantially more rainfall than the western United States, much of the east coast is facing water shortages. Boston, Atlanta and much of Florida are nearing the end of readily available water. Without significant technological advancements that allow us to better utilize, conserve,and produce additional water in a cost-effective manner, it is unclear how we will meet this need.
Ensuring an adequate supply of water is also critical to the United States’ energy portfolio. Electricity production, oil and gas production, and certain renewable energy sources are all dependent on having adequate access to water. For example, it is estimated that every barrel of oil we produce requires 10 gallons of water. Conversely, energy is critical for treating, pumping and distributing water. Put simply, we must reduce water demand for energy production, reduce energy demand for water production, and develop new sources of water.
It is my belief that the federal government should help find solutions to meeting water supply challenges through investment in research and development. However, water resources research accounts for only 0.5 percent of the $130 billion spent annually by the federal government on research and development initiatives. Water augmentation research is less that one fourth of what it was in 1973.
The two bills we are considering today take somewhat different approaches in meeting our need to intelligently manage our use and increase sources of our most important resource. S. 1016 would provide subsidies for energy costs associated with desalination facilities while S. 1860 would establish a program with the Department of Energy to research and develop cost-effective technologies to help us meet our water needs. I look forward to hearing testimony on these two bills.
I would like to welcome our witnesses today.
1. Assistant Secretary Faulkner - Department of Energy
2. Dr. Les Shephard, Sandia National Laboratories
3. Dr. Jane Long - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
4. Dr. James Roberto - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
1. Jim Reynolds- Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority
2. Dr. Parekh (PAW - WRECK) – American Water Works Association Research Foundation
3. Ed Archuleta- Water Reuse
4. Colin Sabol- GE Infrastructure
Written testimony and letters of support have been submitted on both bills. These shall be made part of the record.
Senator Bingaman, would you care to make an opening statement?
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Douglas FaulknerActing Assistant SecretaryDepartment of Energy
Statement of Douglas L. Faulkner
Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate
October 20, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify
today on S. 1016, requiring the Secretary of Energy to make incentive payments to the
owners of qualified desalination facilities to partially offset the cost of electrical energy
required to operate facilities, and S. 1860, which would amend the Energy Policy Act of
2005 to improve energy production and reduce energy demand through improved use of
reclaimed waters and other purposes.
Although supplying and distributing water is largely a local responsibility, we believe
there is a Federal role in providing appropriate scientific and technological support for
these efforts. S. 1016, however, poses a narrower question: Should the Department of
Energy subsidize electricity costs at desalination facilities? We believe the answer is no.
While well intended, S. 1016 is not a comprehensive approach to the challenge we face.
It would subsidize a narrow group of electricity users engaged in water desalination
efforts, and could divert limited Federal funding from efforts to engage in a more
It is our view that incentive payments are not the best means to remove the energy cost
barriers to desalinating water. Instead, we feel continued targeted Federal support for
desalination research and development consistent with the Administration’s Research and
Development Investment Criteria, as well as our ongoing efforts to reduce energy
demand and increase supply through the adoption of comprehensive energy legislation,
will have a larger impact in the long-run on reducing desalination costs than will making
incentive payments to the owners or operators of individual facilities.
The Department of Energy finds S. 1860 to be well intentioned as it shares our view that
we must develop innovative new approaches to dealing with the regional, national, and
global challenges related to water availability and quality. However, we have several
concerns regarding the specific language of this bill.
First, the bill appears to shift substantial statutory authority from the Secretary to the
designated National Labs and places the lead National Labs in inappropriate roles for
assessing Federal funding and activities across agencies. We are also concerned that the
bill appears to leave out the private sector and its key role in RD&D and commercialization.
The bill places as much as two-thirds of the funding at the lead National Labs, largely
outside of any merit-based competitive process and it does so with little flexibility, not
recognizing that the allocation of funding will vary with the status of technology RD&D
and commercialization, and private sector roles. We believe that the funding levels, roles
and responsibilities for the Labs, Universities, and private sector should be determined by
the Secretary in order to meet the national needs identified by the legislation.
We share the view that we must develop innovative new approaches to dealing with the
regional, national, and global challenges related to water availability and quality, and this
is an issue that is commanding significant attention at the highest levels of the
For example, in August 2004 the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
(OSTP) and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) identified water as a top
Administration research and development priority and called upon the National Science
and Technology Council (NSTC) to “develop a coordinated, multi- year plan to improve
research to understand the processes that control water availability and quality, and to
collect and make available the data needed to ensure an adequate water supply for the
Nation’s future.” The NSTC Committee on Environment and Natural Resources has
formed a Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality (SWAQ) comprised of more
than 15 Federal Departments and Agencies who are now in the process of developing a
comprehensive research plan. Their first report, “Science and Technology to Support
Fresh Water Availability in the United States,” was released in November, 2004. Among
the points highlighted by this report are the following:
· We do not have an adequate understanding of water availability at national,
regional, or local levels.
· Water, once considered a ubiquitous resource, is now scarce in some parts of the
country—and not jus t in the West as one might assume.
· The amounts of water needed to maintain our natural environmental resources are
not well known.
· We need to evaluate alternatives to use water more efficiently, including technologies for conservation and supply enhancement such as water reuse and recycling as a way to make more water available.
· We need improved tools to predict the future of our water resources to enable us
to better plan for the more efficient operation of our water infrastructure.
The Water Desalination Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-298) gave lead responsibility to the
Department of the Interior to conduct, encourage, and assist in the financing of research
to develop cost-effective and efficient means for converting saline water into potable
water suitable for beneficial uses. We are looking at ways to better coordinate our efforts
with those of the Department of the Interior and other agencies through the process
underway in the NTSC’s Subcommittee on Water Availability and Quality.
At the Department of Energy, we have been in serious discussions with some of our labs
on what we call the “energy-water nexus.” The relationship between energy and water is
not well understood by the public, and it is surprising to many, for instance, that the
amount of fresh water withdrawn nationally for electricity production is more than twice
as much as the water used for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes, and is
comparable to the amount of water used for agricultural irrigation. Meanwhile, pumping,
storing, and treating water consumes huge amounts of electricity—an estimated 7 percent
of California’s electricity consumption is used just to pump water.
We understand that our energy and water supplies are interconnected. In fact, as much
energy is used for water and wastewater purposes as for other major industrial sectors of
the U.S. economy such as paper and pulp and petroleum refining.
Although the hearing today focuses on producing drinkable water through a technological
process, the equally important aspect of the larger issue is finding ways to reduce water
consumption and remove some of the demand pressure from regional water supplies.
Price and regulatory signals can create market incentives to reduce water use. One area
for consideration is the water intensive process of thermoelectric generation from fossil
fuels such as coal. For these systems, an average of 25 gallons of water is withdrawn to
produce a kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity of which nearly one-half gallon is consumed
by evaporation. Overall, fossil- fuel- fired power plants require withdrawals of more than
97 billion gallons of fresh water each day.
The Department’s Office of Fossil Energy is supporting several research projects aimed
at reducing the amount of fresh water needed by power plants and to minimize potential
impacts of plant operations on water quality. One project at West Virginia University is
assessing the feasibility of using underground coal mine water as a source of cooling
water for power plants. A North Dakota project is attempting to reduce the water
consumption of power plants by recovering a large fraction of the water present in the
plant flue gas. A project in New Mexico is exploring whether produced waters, the byproduct of natural gas and oil extraction which often present a disposal issue, can be used
to meet up to 25 percent of the cooling water needed at the San Juan Generating Station,
as well as investigating an advanced wet-dry hybrid cooling system. In addition, the
Department currently has a competitive solicitation on the street seeking additional
innovative technologies and concepts for reducing the amount of fresh water needed to
operate fossil-based thermoelectric power stations, including advanced cooling and water
recovery technologies. The Department is also investigating whether a suite of specially
selected, salt-tolerant agricultural crops or other plants can be used to remove sodium and
other salts from coalbed methane produced water so that it can be safely discharged or
used in agriculture.
One promising new approach to electricity generation, Integrated Gasification Combined
Cycle (IGCC) technology that converts coal and other hydrocarbons into synthetic gas,
offers significant environmental and water benefits compared to traditional pulverized
coal power plants. Because the steam cycle of IGCC plants typically produces less than 50 percent of the power output, IGCC plants require 30 to 60 percent less water than
conventional coal- fired power plants. The Department is supporting research, development, and demonstration on a number of advancements that will significantly
drive down the costs of IGCC plants.
The Fossil Energy office is also supporting work at the University of Florida
investigating an innovative diffusion-driven desalination process that would allow a
power plant that uses saline water for cooling to become a net producer of fresh water.
Hot water from the condenser provides the thermal energy to drive the desalination
process. Using a diffusion tower, saline water cools and condenses the low pressure
steam and fresh water is then stripped from the humidified air exiting the tower. This
process is more advantageous than conventional desalination technology in that it may be
driven by waste heat with very low thermodynamic availability. In addition, cool air, a
by-product of this process, can be used to cool nearby buildings.
The Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is
supporting R&D for innovative wind and solar electricity supply technologies that have
attributes that may prove to be very beneficial to the desalination industry.
For example, wind power is now becoming a competitive, clean, bulk electric power
supply option in many areas of the Nation, and places no further demand on water
supplies for its operation. In addition, excellent offshore wind resources are available
near many coastal areas facing water supply challenges. The role that wind could play in
powering desalination could take a range of forms, from stand-alone systems exclusively
powered by wind, to desalination plants that receive the majority of their energy
requirements from wind power delivered via electricity grid systems. In either case, the
relative ease and low cost of storing desalinated water, in comparison with storing
electricity, will allow operating flexibilities that will facilitate using inherently variable
wind power as a primary energy source for desalination.
We are currently funding a concept design study which will set up engineering and
economic models to examine viability of wind-powered reverse osmosis systems, looking
at applications for coastal seawater, inland brackish water, and water produced during oil
or gas recovery. A second project will model solar and wind resources for a desalination
unit to determine the effects of variable loads on desalination, and perform pilot-scale
testing to determine how renewable energy could reduce desalination costs.
We are also undertaking a mapping project to overlay data such as fresh and brackish
water resources, wind resources, water consumption, estimated growth, and electricity
supply. Two maps will be developed, one of the United States, and one for the four-state
region of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, identifying locations that have the
best economic and technical potential for using wind to power desalination. Even as we proceed with these activities, we are mindful that the energy intensive technique of reverse osmosis we use for desalination today may not be the membrane technology of tomorrow. But whether that breakthrough comes from a lab working specifically on desalination, or through an area of broader scientific research remains to be seen. The Department’s Office of Science, for example, is studying microbes and smart membranes that may ultimately have relevance to desalination in the future.
Having said that, it seems certain that desalination will play an important role in
maintaining and expanding our Nation’s, and indeed, the world’s water supply. Where
fresh water aquifers are under pressure in many regions, over-drafted and subject to saltwater intrusion, brackish aquifers can be found throughout the country and the world, a
ready source of new water. More than 120 countries are now using desalination
technologies to provide potable water, most commonly in the Persian Gulf where energy
costs are low. The desalination plants of the future must come in a range of sizes so that
they can be installed where demand exists—smaller footprint facilities which can make
use of smaller deposits of impaired water, at a price the community can afford. For
American companies, the growing need for desalination will open new global markets.
Mr. Chairman, this completes my prepared statement, and I am happy to answer any
questions the Committee may have.
Dr. Jane Long
THE ENERGY-WATER EFFICIENCY TECHNOLOGY
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TRANSFER PROGRAM ACT (S. 1860)
Hearing of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 20, 2005
Jane C. S. Long, Associate Director, Energy and Environment Directorate
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
University of California
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I am Jane Long, Associate Director of the Energy and Environment Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Our Laboratory is administered by the University of California for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Lawrence Livermore is a multi-program laboratory with special responsibilities in national security and state-of the-art experimental and computational capabilities that are also applied to meet other pressing national needs. In particular, LLNL pursues a broad portfolio of innovative research and development programs in energy and environmental sciences, many of which deal with water issues.
Water issues and their close ties to energy issues are the important subjects of today’s hearings. Both energy and water are constrained resources subject to high and growing demand. They are inexorably linked and understanding these linkages is vital to effective future management of America’s energy and water supplies. Water supply and management uses large amounts of energy; thus, the availability of freshwater resources may be curtailed by insufficient or too costly energy. Conversely, the energy sector uses considerable amounts of water. Insufficient water resources can reduce the supply of energy or drive up costs.
Clearly, thoroughly understanding the linkages between energy and water is prerequisite to increasing the supply and efficient use of both resources. Congress recently took action to meet this need with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and today’s hearing is about two relevant bills, S. 1016 and S. 1860. My comments focus on S. 1860, the “Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005.” It is a vitally important bill and we fully support it. The program defined by S. 1860 builds on Section 979 of the Energy Policy Act, which specifically calls for a DOE assessment and research program to address energy and water related issues.
S. 1860 establishes a well-designed program to assess the current situation, build a roadmap for future activities, pursue energy-water efficiency and supply technology research, development, and transfer to end-users. It calls upon DOE’s national laboratories, working in partnership with universities, other research institutions, industry, and governmental agencies, to develop and deploy the needed technologies. It also defines appropriate mechanisms to steer the activities and advise the Secretary and Congressional committees of program progress.
Most importantly, S. 1860 fully recognizes the need to apply the nation’s best science and technology to ensure abundant energy and water to meet our country’s future demands.
As one of the lead national laboratories identified in the bill, Lawrence Livermore is committed to vigorously pursuing research and development of new technologies, working with U.S. industry to turn them into effective products for the user community, and to teaming with Sandia, Oak Ridge and the other national laboratories to meet this challenge. My testimony will include pertinent examples of LLNL’s capabilities in fundamental and applied science, current research projects, and ongoing partnerships.
THE ENERGY-WATER LINKAGE
Passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides the United States with its first national energy plan in more than a decade. The Act promotes investments in energy efficiency and conservation as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign energy. Affordable and reliable energy is vital to the continuing economic growth of the United States and the well-being of its citizens. Greater energy security is a challenge that calls for a sustained effort in energy technology research, development of more energy-efficient products and new resources, and conservation. The Energy Policy Act is an important first step.
The subject of this hearing is a proposed amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The bill (S. 1860) builds on Section 979 of the Act, which specifies that the Secretary of Energy shall carry out a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercialization to address energy-related issues associated with water and water-related issues associated with energy. It also directs the Secretary to assess the effectiveness of existing Federal programs to address energy and water related issues.
The energy-water nexus. Because the energy and water sectors are interdependent, water supplies may be curtailed by insufficient or too costly energy, and conversely, insufficient water can reduce the supply of and increase the cost of energy. This critical energy-water nexus is the subject of the proposed bill: “to improve energy production and reduce energy demand through improved use of reclaimed waters, and for other purposes.” The linkages between energy and water provide compelling areas for research and development that would substantially benefit both sectors and will require substantial and timely investments in both fundamental science and applied technology.
Water-related issues associated with energy supply and management. Water is an increasingly strained resource, particularly in the West, where population is growing most rapidly and water is least available. More generally, freshwater supplies are dwindling in many parts of the U.S. due to extended droughts, and future supplies will be affected by long-term trends in regional and global temperatures. It is much more than a national issue; water has been and will continue to be a potent source of international conflict. Modernization of urban centers in the developing world, including expanding energy infrastructures, will demand tremendous amounts of water, making it vital to international security that we develop and share technologies with other nations to enhance and better manage their water supplies.
U.S. Geological Survey data show that electricity production from fossil and nuclear energy requires 190,000 million gallons of water per day, or 39% of all freshwater withdrawals nationally. While only a portion of these withdrawals are consumed, the returned water is thermally and chemically affected by its use. Moreover, enough water must be available to sustain energy production and meet other needs. Much of the nation’s energy fuel production is also dependent on adequate water supplies. Energy resource recovery and processing create large volumes of wastewater that require treatment for reuse or disposal. Future shifts to energy sources such as coal liquefaction or gasification, biomass, and hydrogen will place additional demands on water resources.
Energy-related issues associated with water supply and management. Water pumping, treatment and conveyance use large amounts of energy—equivalent to the energy used by the paper or refining industries (about 3% of national energy consumption and as high as 10% in California). Water sector use of energy will likely substantially outpace growth in other high-energy use sectors. There will be greater demand for water reuse and recycling as well as energy-intensive treatment of impaired or saline water sources, a greater need to tap deep groundwater sources, and higher requirements for water storage and transport—all significantly increase energy usage.
The water sector’s demand for energy will also grow due to a deteriorating infrastructure for treatment and conveyance of freshwater supplies, an increased need to treat for harmful natural constituents, such as arsenic and other contaminants introduced into the environment, and concerns over soil salinization and depletion of groundwater. Significant improvements in energy efficiency will require investments in research, development, demonstration and deployment of water treatment technologies for treating an ever-growing number of contaminants.
THE ENERGY-WATER EFFICIENCY AND SUPPLY TECHNOLOGY
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TRANSFER PROGRAM
The proposed amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 establishes the Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program. The bill (S. 1860) defines a program that provides a means for the Secretary of Energy to carry out responsibilities established in Section 979 of the Energy Policy Act, and it authorizes appropriations to execute the program.
The Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program is designed to clarify issues at the energy-water nexus and to pursue the development and deployment of innovative technologies at this critical junction. The focus of the program will be more efficient or decreased use of water and energy, and creation of new water supplies through advances in treatment or management.
Four features of the Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program—specifically called out in S. 1860—are important to long-term success. The program includes:
• Initial development of a water-supply technology assessment to guide the investment strategy.
• A commitment to invest in research and development of needed technologies together with their deployment for real-world applications.
• Effective use of the Department of Energy national laboratories in partnership with universities, other research institutions, industry, and governmental agencies to develop and deploy technologies.
• Appropriate mechanisms to steer the activities and advise the Secretary and Congressional committees of program progress.
Water-supply technology assessment. The proposed program fittingly begins with an assessment of the current state of energy-water efficiency and supply technology research and the development of a roadmap. Rapid completion of the assessment and roadmap development is challenging, but necessary and appropriate, given the urgency of the problem. Wide-ranging capabilities are needed to carry out the assessment, including knowledge about water supply and energy systems, expertise in state-of-the-art science and technology, access to systems analysis tools, experience working with technology end users, and an understanding of existing policy and sociological constraints.
There are areas of significant synergy between the energy-water nexus program goals and those of existing programs within various federal, state, regional, and local agencies—and likely large gaps where new research and development investments will be required. Roadmap development needs to consider the perspective, needs, and equity of these agencies and other organizations that are responsible for water and energy issues. There are also important efforts in water research and development at regional, state and local levels, led by government agencies, universities, and other organizations. These contributions need to be integrated with the DOE efforts at the energy-water nexus.
Research and development and real-world technology deployment. A strength of the national laboratories is their ability to tackle a problem—from fundamental science to engineering development—and seek breakthroughs that offer dramatic improvements over current capabilities. Coupled with a multi-year commitment to work energy-water efficiency and supply issues, this attribute is important to long-term program success.
Successful research and development projects alone are not the answer. The proposed program includes investments to ensure that the technologies created through energy-water research and development are deployed successfully by end-users. In addition to technology innovation, the program will support pilot testing and assessment, technology transfer and commercialization, and an assessment of the economic and policy constraints for regulatory and public acceptance. To be successful, a new technology must be economically viable, environmentally acceptable, easy to integrate into existing infrastructure or processes, and compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.
National laboratories leading a broad partnership. The bill proposes that three national laboratories—Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, and Sandia—be designated as “program lead laboratories” and shoulder principal responsibility for carrying out the Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program. Each lead laboratory will select one or more university partners to assist in program efforts. Based on the technology assessment and the developed roadmap, the program in future years will include appropriated funds for activities at the lead laboratories and program grants for research, development, and demonstration projects. Since at least 40 percent of the funding in FY2007 and beyond are earmarked for grants, the program will be inclusive—drawing on the best of ideas from universities, other research institutions and agencies, and industry.
Concentration of program responsibilities in three DOE national laboratories makes eminent sense. Three is a number large enough to provide diverse viewpoints and a very wide range of expertise and technical capabilities; yet it is small enough to keep the program manageable and provide the laboratories funding on scale commensurate with the need to pursue large-scale multidisciplinary research and development activities. Each of the three selected lead laboratories brings to bear important attributes that will contribute to program success:
• Broad ranging capabilities. As premier research facilities, the DOE national laboratories are large repositories of multidisciplinary expertise and home to many of the world’s largest computers and state-of-the-art experimental facilities. They define the forefront of science and engineering in materials and nanotechnology development, advanced computations, numerical simulation, and detection and analysis of hazardous chemical and biological compounds. These cross-cutting capabilities are essential to solving water challenges.
• Relevant ongoing research and development activities. The lead laboratories have been engaged in both energy and water projects for many years. One particular source of special expertise in water issues at Lawrence Livermore stems from long standing efforts to characterize and cleanup groundwater at the Laboratory (and other superfund sites). These activities in the 1990s led to the development and transfer to U.S. industry of novel technologies for water treatment, including dynamic underground stripping for rapid groundwater remediation, and capacitive deionization (CDI) for removal of a variety of contaminants. Lawrence Livermore’s capabilities in materials science, molecular modeling and separations science continue to fuel develop and transfer of a wide variety of water- and energy-related technologies, as discussed in the next section.
• Interactions with a wide range of partners. The lead laboratories routinely work with sister research institutions including major universities, and transfer the technologies they develop to U.S. industry for commercialization. In addition, water technology programs at the laboratories entail many partnerships with federal, state, regional, and/or local water agencies.
Advisory and review processes. The proposed legislation very appropriately establishes an Advisory Panel to review program progress, help the lead laboratories identify legal and other barriers to implementing technology options, advise the Secretary of Energy on energy-water issues, and recommend program grant awards. Composed of members with diverse expertise, background, and interests, the Advisory Panel will be most helpful to the lead laboratories responsible for carrying out the Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program. The laboratories will depend on their guidance, and they will support the panel as appropriate to help shape the grant program. The program peer reviews conducted by a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) group also will be important. In recent years, the NAS has completed a wide range of very insightful studies examining water quality and management issues.
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE’S CONTRIBUTING CAPABILITIES
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has a proven track record in applying its capabilities to the complex water issues facing its nearby communities, California, the West, and the nation. The Laboratory emphasizes bringing expertise from many scientific disciplines to its water technology projects. LLNL scientists and engineers have at their disposal unique facilities for analyzing trace amounts of hazardous compounds, some of the world’s fastest computers, nanoscale characterization and fabrication capabilities, and special software and analytical tools developed for water and/or energy management.
At the Laboratory, water treatment and monitoring technologies are at all stages of development, from new materials at design-stage, based on breakthroughs in separations science, to laboratory and field-scale pilots, to commercial units. These research and development activities are sponsored externally and internally and pursued in partnership with a variety of government agencies, water organizations, and corporations.
Four areas of LLNL’s technology research and development activities are briefly highlighted here: selective water treatment, desalination, advanced sensors, and monitoring/management tools. I also will discuss our partnerships that support and inform these efforts.
Selective Water Treatment Technologies. Present water treatment technologies, such as membrane filtration or reverse osmosis, are energy-intensive and expensive, in part because they remove many compounds in addition to contaminants. Technologies that selectively remove only undesired contaminants can improve water treatment operating costs and energy efficiencies enough to allow many small communities and rural households to use local freshwater supplies that currently do not meet potable standards because of a single contaminant (e.g., arsenic, selenium, perchlorate, uranium, or nitrate).
With the Laboratory’s world-class computing facilities, which include three of the world’s top 13 supercomputers, LLNL has made breakthroughs in the fundamental science of separations technology, developing complex molecular-level simulation models to understand the chemical transport of contaminants through different types of materials. The objective is to design materials that are “tuned” to selectively attach to and remove compounds of choice. Laboratory experts in advanced materials science then test these concepts using a diversity of media, including membranes, ion-exchange resins, aerogels, and aerogel composites. (An area of special expertise at LLNL, aerogels are high-surface area, low-density materials that can adsorb large amounts of contaminants per unit weight and volume.) To date, Livermore scientists have been able to identify, fabricate and test designer materials (e.g., chemical functional groups on membranes) to selectively remove arsenic, metals, radioactive compounds, and hydrocarbons from water. LLNL also has developed a spectrum of energy-efficient portable treatment units. These units, designed to have low capital and operating costs and to operate at remote sites, can be configured to run on renewable energy sources such as solar power.
The Laboratory is also helping municipalities in California’s Central Valley that need to treat nitrate- or arsenic-contaminated groundwater. The water is naturally hard and prone to precipitating minerals, creating plugging problems in the low-cost filter media needed to eliminate the nitrate and arsenic. LLNL is using its geochemical modeling expertise to determine ways to prevent the minerals from forming, allowing these communities to efficiently use these low-cost media rather than higher cost alternatives to meet arsenic and/or nitrate standards.
Desalination. LLNL has been developing technologies to improve the energy efficiency of desalination processes for over twenty years. In the 1990s, the Laboratory licensed an innovative approach to capacitive deionization (CDI) using aerogels to desalt water. In 1995, this technology received an R&D 100 Award as one of the top 100 technology innovations of the year. Next-generation and spin-offs from this original technology are under development, including a concept based on the electrodialysis (ED) process. ED is more energy efficient than reverse osmosis at removing salt from brackish water, but it is still not cost effective enough to treat large volumes of marginally impaired waters. Laboratory scientists are working on developing “smart” membranes for ED. They would be designed to selectively remove only the contaminant of interest. Accordingly, the process would be far more efficient and lower energy costs by 50 percent or more. California state agencies are actively supporting this research and development.
Sensor Technologies. LLNL is applying its expertise in sensor technologies and its national and homeland security capabilities to help water utilities and agencies. In support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, LLNL has recently performed an assessment of sensors and systems currently available to utilities for detection of biological and chemical contamination in water distribution systems. More generally, unique facilities at Livermore are available for real-time detection and response to hazardous releases. They include the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), the Biosecurity and Nanosciences Laboratory, the Biodefense Knowledge Center, and the Forensic Science Center.
In addition, Livermore is at the forefront of developing new sensors for chemical and biological hazards, including detectors for single molecules of deadly pathogens, and rapid biohazards detection by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Over the past three years, three LLNL-developed biological agent detection systems have earned R&D 100 Awards. Coupling its expertise in electronics miniaturization and materials science, the Laboratory is also developing high-resolution portable chemical sensors, including a sensor for arsenic, based on selective membrane technology.
Water Monitoring and Management Tools. LLNL is applying innovative analytical and modeling tools to monitor and manage water resources. For example, the Laboratory has state-of-the-art facilities for age-dating tritium (helium-3) and methods for low-level detection of tracers and contaminants. Integrated with high-resolution hydrologic models, these capabilities are aiding California in assessing groundwater vulnerability to MTBE and other contaminants in the State’s Groundwater Ambient Monitoring Assessment (GAMA) program. LLNL has and continues to assist the state of California in multimedia analysis for new transportation fuels. In support of the Orange County Water District, LLNL scientists used these methods to determine how long reclaimed water, which was injected to prevent seawater intrusion, would remain underground before withdrawal for potable use. LLNL has also helped stakeholders understand water management alternatives to meet Total Maximum Daily Loads limits in the Dominguez Channel, Long Beach, California. LLNL is supporting the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by using these techniques to determine if an aquifer in California’s Imperial Valley, fed by leakage from agricultural canals, is a sustainable water supply or could be used for water banking.
LLNL also develops database management tools for water agencies to use to assess and manage contaminated water resources. GeoTracker, a GIS tool developed by the Laboratory and managed by the state of California, provides a public online database of groundwater compositions for all leaking underground fuel tank (LUFT) sites and public wells. Scientists are currently working with a California water agency and the National Water Research Institute on a tool to balance contributions from multiple water sources and manage arsenic loading to a municipal water supply. Another software tool allows water managers to visualize sources, uses, and disposal of water in systems from watershed to national scales, as demonstrated by use of U.S. Geological Survey data to diagram water flows in the U.S. and in some states. LLNL staff participated in the recent water energy relationship study conducted by the California Energy Commission as part of its 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report.
Partnerships. Livermore researchers collaborate with a wide variety of partners including many universities across the nation and industry, ranging from large multinational to small companies that serve niche markets. Sponsors and federal, state and local agency partners include: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, California Environmental Protection Agency, California Energy Commission, California Department of Water Resources, and California State Water Resources Control Board.
For example, LLNL researchers will investigate innovative brine disposal options in a joint project with two California water districts interested in pursuing brackish water desalination as a new water source. Also involving university researchers for membrane testing and an engineering firm, this project will receive state funding as well as contributions from the lead partners. Our many university/research institution partners include: Arizona State University, Hunter College, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, University of Arizona, University of California (UC) Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, UC San Diego Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UC Santa Cruz, UC Cooperative Extension, University of Texas, Austin, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
A significant fraction of public drinking water supply wells in the State of California are contaminated by nitrate, the single most reported contaminant in public wells. Using internal funding, LLNL researchers have been investigating nitrate transport and assimilative capacity in groundwater basins. Working with water agencies, academic institutions, an agricultural outreach organization, and supporting students, LLNL conducted studies in both urbanized groundwater basins and at dairy farms. The significance of the work has been recognized by follow-on funding from the State Water Resources Control Board. Our many water utility partners include: City of Modesto, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Zone 7, Dublin San Ramon Water District, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Alameda County Water District, City of Ripon, Grayson, San Benito County Water District, and Orange County Water District.
A licensee of LLNL’s capacitive deionization technology has just announced an agreement for development and manufacturing of the key aerogel material that is the heart of the company’s product. Given the commercial viability of the technology, LLNL researchers are working on next-generation innovations to improve performance and efficiency. Private industry/consortia partners include: CDT Systems, Balance Hydrologic, Perlorica, Tetra Tech, Boyle Engineering, Malcolm Pirnie, Crystal Clear Technologies, RMC Water and Environment, and the National Water Research Institute.
Our Laboratory is fully supportive of S. 1860, the “Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005.” It is an important bill; America’s current and future needs for abundant energy and water will only be met by pursuing innovative science and technology to address energy and water issues.
S. 1860 establishes a well-designed program to assess the current situation, build a roadmap for future activities, and pursue energy-water efficiency and supply technology research, development, and transfer to end-users. The program makes effective use of DOE national laboratories working in partnership with others to develop and deploy technologies. It also defines appropriate mechanisms to steer the activities and advise the Secretary and Congressional committees of program progress. S. 1860 is an important element in planning for our nation’s water and energy future.
Dr. Les Shephard
Dr. Les Shephard
Vice President for Energy, Resources and Nonproliferation
Sandia National Laboratories
Testimony on the
Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005
Senate Bill 1860
United States Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 20, 2005
Sandia National Laboratories
P.O. Box 5800, MS 0724
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185
Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation,
A Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy's
National Nuclear Security Administration
Under contract DE-AC0494AL85000
Statement of Dr. Les Shephard
Vice President for Energy, Resources and Nonproliferation
Sandia National Laboratories
Testimony on the
Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005
United States Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 20, 2005
• Today approximately 40 percent of the freshwater withdrawn from our country’s lakes, rivers and aquifers goes to electric power generation. In return, a substantial portion of this electric power is then used to move and treat dwindling supplies of water. In short, energy depends on water and water depends on energy – and the cost of both are rising as our population grows and as competing demands for water outstrip supplies.
• Our country must aggressively develop the technological advances required to solve these important emerging issues or face spiraling costs for energy and water, which are both fundamental to economic security.
• The Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005 establishes a program in the U.S. Department of Energy that directly addresses these important issues.
• The Act contains multiple elements that are important to a successful program. Long-range vision and technical direction will be developed through technology road mapping. Cutting edge-research and development on high priority scientific and technology challenges will be implemented through competitive grants. Systems solutions, integration of research into technology, and technology transfer will be coordinated by lead laboratories and their university partners.
• Strong engagement of industry and end users is very important to the success of the proposed program. This engagement must include active participation in the technical advisory panel, extensive participation in technology road mapping, and direct partnering in pilot testing and technology transfer.
• As the agency responsible for this program, the Department of Energy must have flexibility in developing the ultimate strategic implementation of this program.
• Sandia National Laboratories strongly supports establishment of the Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005. I am Les Shephard, Vice President for Energy, Resources and Nonproliferation at Sandia National Laboratories.
Sandia National Laboratories is managed and operated for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by Sandia Corporation, a subsidiary of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Sandia is a multi-program laboratory with mission responsibilities in national security, homeland security, energy, and science.
I will make three principal points in this statement.
The first one is crucial: The “water cost” of energy and the “energy cost” of water are inextricably linked. In the absence of technological advance, the cost of both will rise rapidly in the future.
Second, accomplishing the needed technological advance will require integration across the full spectrum of research, development, and commercialization, drawing on the best science and engineering capabilities in our national laboratories, universities, and innovative industry.
Third, the Act contains the critical elements for a successful program: technical direction of the program driven by technology road mapping and an independent technical advisory board with strong industry and end user focus for the program; research and development drawing on the full spectrum of the universities, national laboratories, and other research institutions through a competitive grants program; and integration from research and development to commercialization through lead laboratories and industry partnerships.
Energy-Water Interdependency Leads to Rapidly Rising Cost
Today, approximately 40 percent of the freshwater withdrawn from our country’s lakes, rivers and aquifers goes to electric power generation. In return, a substantial portion of this electric power is then used to move and treat dwindling supplies of water. In short, energy depends on water and water depends on energy – and the costs of both are rising as our population grows and as competing demands for water outstrip supplies.
The "Water-Cost" for Energy
On a typical day in the United States, coal, gas, and nuclear plants across our country use about 136 billion gallons of fresh water to generate electricity. This water is essential for power generation: no water, no electricity. Underlying these statistics, there is good news and there are two major challenges.
The good news is that only three percent of the water withdrawn for electric power generation is actually consumed. The first challenge is that once used for power generation, water contains waste heat that must be dissipated before it can be used again. The second, more important, challenge is that the water required for power generation competes with other major water needs: agriculture, industry, people and the environment. In a growing number of regions of our country, freshwater supplies are fully allocated. There simply is not enough water to meet all of these competing needs.
This critical energy-water interdependency is not theoretical. In the summer of 2004, after several years of drought, coal-fired power generation in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah came very close to being severely curtailed due to lack of water. In the southwest, power generation will need to nearly double over the next twenty years, exacerbating competition over already limited water supplies.
This critical energy-water interdependency is not unique to the arid southwest. Over the past three years, power plant applications have been turned down in Idaho, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina and New Jersey because there is not enough water. In the Southeast, surface waters are completely allocated and new power plants are increasingly forced to consider using non-traditional waters – mine waters, subsurface brines, and wastewater – which often must be treated before the plants use them for cooling. There is a clear need for more “water-efficient” power plant designs and designs that reduce water quality impacts, particularly as new power plants are constructed to meet growing demands.
The spiraling cost impact of this critical energy-water interdependency will grow in the future. Our country must increase electric power production by nearly 30 percent in the next twenty years – or approximately 1000 new power plants. While moving to dry cooling is an option, the capital cost is typically three times the cost of water-based cooling, and efficiencies are typically 5 to 15 percent lower. Therefore, to keep energy costs from rising because of water-scarcity alone we need to lower the “water cost” of energy and the “energy cost” of water.
"Energy-Cost" for Water
Pumping, distribution and treating water requires large amounts of energy. Approximately 20 percent of electricity consumed in the state of California is used for the state's water infrastructure. On a national scale, water supply and reclamation consumes 4 percent of U.S. electric power generation, and 75 percent of the cost of municipal water processing and distribution is for electric power. These numbers will grow significantly as our country moves to greater utilization of saline and other impaired waters to meet growing demand.
Because freshwater supplies are fully allocated across many regions of our country, competition for water for people, energy, industry, agriculture, and the environment is increasingly intense. To meet the needs of projected 20 percent population growth, we must create "new water" through desalination, treatment of waste-water for reuse, and treatment of other impaired waters. Creating new water is expensive and will consume significantly more energy than is used today. Almost half (44 percent) of the cost of desalinating sea water using today's technology is for energy.
The utilization of advanced technologies for creating new water is growing across the country. In Tampa Bay, Florida, a seawater desalination plant producing 25 million gallons of freshwater per day recently began operations. In El Paso, Texas, ground was recently broken for an inland brackish-water desalination plant that will produce 25 million gallons per day. California, Texas, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Massachusetts are in the planning stages for additional major seawater desalination plants, and new inland desalination plants are planned in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas.
The significant impact of increased energy cost for water is not theoretical. The purpose of Senate Bill 1016, the Desalination Water Supply Shortage Act of 2005 is to partially offset the major cost of electrical energy required to operate desalination facilities. This Act calls for incentive payments of $200 million dollars to offset the "energy-cost" of creating potable water. While these subsidy incentives may be required in the short term, a longer term strategy must be invoked that will drive development of cost-effective, innovative technology that will significantly reduce the energy cost of creating new water.
Cost and Energy Reduction Require Technological Advance Through Innovative Research and Development, and Aggressive Integration From Advanced R&D Through Commercialization
There are major opportunities of technological advance resulting in major reductions in the water-cost for energy, and the energy-cost for water. Opportunities for reducing the water cost for energy includes improving the water efficiency of power-generating technologies, utilization of brackish or other impaired waters for cooling, and reducing severe competition among water-use sectors by increasing water efficiency and developing new sources of water for other water sectors that compete with energy. Major reductions in the energy-cost of water will come from breakthroughs in membranes and separation processes, development of new technologies for reuse of impaired water, as well as enabling management optimization through system-level modeling and real-time monitoring of chemical and biological parameters.
Innovation requires competitive access to R&D capabilities
Accomplishing these needed technological advances for specific high priority needs will require drawing on the best science and engineering capabilities in our national laboratories and universities. Research at universities across the country is a major source of innovative concepts with significant potential to address energy and water issues. University research adds the substantial benefit of educating the undergraduate and graduate students who will work to solve these challenges well into the future.
Solutions for many of these technological challenges will build on the foundation work in multiple DOE Office of Science programs, including such areas as science at the nanoscale, molecular-level material design, engineering the convergence of chemical and biological processes. Through the national laboratories, the Energy-Water Nexus team has been at the forefront of defining technical challenges related to energy-water interdependency. These laboratories have extensive water and energy expertise.
Success in bringing innovation to application requires continuity across R&D, through pilot testing to commercialization
While focusing R&D on specific problem components is important to achieving research breakthroughs, these breakthroughs must be incorporated into technologies and products. Research solutions will require technology integration, systems assessment, and continuity in moving research through technology development, systems engineering, pilot-scale testing, and product commercialization. Technology testing, transfer, and commercialization must be an integral component of the program.
The ultimate merit for success of this program will be widespread commercialization and adoption of new technologies by industry and local communities. Therefore, partnership with industry and end users is imperative. The program must include mechanisms for industry and end-users to engage early in the definition of research needs and priorities.
The Energy-Water Act of 2005 Sets Forth Critical Elements Necessary for a Successful Program
Success of the Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005 will require long-range vision, systems solutions, continuity of technical focus, cutting-edge research and development on specific problems, and a very strong connection to industry and end users. The Act includes many of the critical elements required for this success. Long-range vision and technical direction will be developed through technology road mapping. Systems solutions, continuity of technical focus and technology transfer will be provided by lead laboratories and their university partners. Cutting-edge research and development on specific problems will be implemented through the competitive grants program. Throughout this process, a strong connection with industry and end users will be maintained through the technical advisory panel, direct participation in road mapping, and direct partnering in pilot testing and technology transfer. As the agency responsible for this program, the Department of Energy must have flexibility in developing the ultimate strategic implementation of the program.
Department of Energy Engagement in Solution of Energy-Water Issues
The Department of Energy has broad responsibilities for ensuring future energy production, foundational scientific research, and broad program expertise engaged in both energy and water. Therefore, the Department of Energy is the right federal agency for this program. Because of the diversity of water use sectors, other federal agencies also have significant water responsibilities. The Act appropriately calls on DOE to coordinate with these other pertinent agencies.
The proposed Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005 maps the proposed program into the Title I Energy Efficiency program area of the recently signed Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 also includes Section 979 that addressed similar energy and water issues within the Title IX Science area.
As noted previously, the Office of Science has multiple foundational research programs with strong potential to contribute. In addition, core Office of Science research facilities, such as the Nanoscale Science Research Centers, provide state-of-the-art facilities that enable breakthrough research. Solution of the critical energy-water challenges faced in the U.S. will require both scientific research and technology development. DOE should have the flexibility to define an integrated program strategy, enabling integrated execution of appropriate research in the Office of Science (through Section 979 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005), with a complementary program in an applied program area of DOE such as Energy Efficiency (through the proposed Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005). Energy-water issues cut across multiple applied program areas within DOE (e.g. Fossil Energy), and DOE must have the flexibility to address how best to meet the energy-water challenges across program areas.
Technical Direction and Program Feedback
The proposed Act specifies that technical direction for the program be driven by a combination of technology road mapping and a Technical Advisory Panel. Technology road mapping is a critical element, as it provides a rigorous framework for engaging industry and end users, along with university and national laboratory scientists and engineers, in defining research and technology priorities. The results of technology road mapping should be used to define the framework for critical technologies that will be developed through the competitive grants and lead laboratory programs.
The Technical Advisory Panel will play an important role in providing both guidance and feedback. This panel will provide a source of ongoing information from which to build a broad understanding, not only of research technology challenges, but also of industry, end user and regulatory issues. Therefore, it is important that the Technical Advisory Panel include not only industry and research expertise in energy and water technologies, but also representatives of federal, state and local agencies with management and regulatory responsibilities, as well as water and energy focused nongovernmental organizations.
The proposed Act also calls for National Academy of Sciences (NAS) periodic reviews of the program. NAS reviews have the potential to provide valuable insight to the research dimensions of the program. However, some form of program review that directly engages industry and end users is also important. One possibility is that the Advisory Panel provide, or oversee, this review. Other possibilities should be considered as well.
As noted in a previous section, achieving the needed technological advances for specific high priority needs will require drawing on the best science and engineering capabilities across the U.S. The competitive Program Grants element of the proposed Act is an effective mechanism for accomplishing this requirement.
As noted above, technical framework and direction for the Program Grants should be driven by the technology road mapping. Technical framework for the Grants Program and Lead Laboratory Program must be coordinated, especially in activities involving technology transfer that enables widespread commercialization of newly developed technologies.
Finally, an important component of any competitive grants program is a rigorous, transparent selection process. The Technical Advisory Panel will be in a position to assure that this requirement is met.
Lead Laboratory Program
As noted previously, solution of major energy-water challenges requires continuity and integration in technology development. The proposed Act provides the institutional mechanism necessary to accomplish this by specifying lead laboratories. Important roles that must be carried out by these laboratories and their partner universities include integration of research into technology and systems assessment. Another important role of the lead laboratories will be to provide continuity in moving research through technology development, systems engineering, pilot-scale testing, and product commercialization. In addition to moving individual technologies, lead laboratories must also work across multiple technologies to identify and develop integrated, systems solutions.
An important element of the Program Lead Laboratory program element is partnerships. As noted previously, university partnerships will be important for research and development. The proposed Act calls for each Lead Laboratory to partner with at least one university in carrying out the program. Multiple university partnerships will likely play an important role in carrying out this portion of the program, as well as in facilitating technology integration and transfer from the Grants Program.
Strong partnerships among Lead Laboratories and across DOE labs will also be important. Building on DOE foundational science research at multiple labs and collaboration with labs involved in the Grants Program R&D will be important.
Success in pilot testing, technology transfer, and commercialization will require strong partnerships with industry, end users, and industry research associations. These partnerships must be built through broad end-user and industry engagement with technology road mapping, the Technical Advisory Board, and specific industry commercialization partners.
Sandia National Laboratories is Committed to Making the Proposed Program Successful Through Technical Excellence and Partnering
Sandia National Laboratories is committed to making the proposed Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005 successful. Essential ingredients of our engagement are technical excellence and commitment to partnering.
Sandia National Laboratories is actively engaged in a broad range of water research and technology development. In partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation, Sandia jointly developed the 20-year “Desalination and Water Purification Technology Roadmap.” The Joint Water Reuse and Desalination Task Force (a partnership of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, WaterReuse Foundation, Bureau of Reclamation, and Sandia National Laboratories) is currently updating the 2003 road map to define a more detailed framework of national research needs for desalination and water reuse. Sandia is currently conducting research in areas such as biomimetic membranes and nano-engineered water treatment technologies. Working with the Department of Energy and the Energy-Water Nexus team, Sandia is currently coordinating the development of a roadmap focusing on energy-water technology challenges.
In the areas of water monitoring and water security, Sandia worked with the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a security risk assessment methodology for water infrastructure that has been used to conduct vulnerability assessments of over 90 percent of large U.S. cities, covering the water supply systems of over 130 million people. Sandia is creating new generation sensor technologies enabling real-time monitoring of water quality, and recently entered a major Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for commercialization of micro-chem-lab-on-a-chip technology for water applications. Future sensor development will benefit greatly from the major microsystems, microelectronics, and engineering design investments at the Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) facility at Sandia.
Sandia’s management philosophy has always stressed the linkage of research through development to application. Systems integration is a distinguishing strength of Sandia’s technical management. We have a long history of partnerships at both ends of the development cycle, both with research universities and with industrial firms and consortia. Sandia’s approach to research and development derives from a heritage of fifty years under industrial management, and it yields tangible results. It is not science for its own sake, but science and engineering working together with the mission in mind.
In closing, Sandia strongly supports the establishment of the Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005 as a vital component to U.S. energy and economic security. We are committed to working with the Department of Energy to make the proposed Act successful.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this program.
Dr. James Roberto
JAMES B. ROBERTO
Deputy Director for Science and Technology
OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY
THE ENERGY-WATER EFFICIENCY AND SUPPLY TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH,
DEVELOPMENT, AND TRANSFER PROGRAM ACT OF 2005
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
October 20, 2005
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
P.O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6240
for the U.S. Department of Energy
under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725
U. S. Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
The Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer
Program Act (S. 1860)
James B. Roberto
Deputy Director for Science and Technology
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
October 20, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
My name is James Roberto, and I am the Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and
Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). My role at ORNL is to oversee the Laboratory’s science and technology programs, including physical and materials sciences, neutron sciences, biological and environmental sciences, advanced computing, energy and engineering, and national security. ORNL is a Department of Energy multiprogram laboratory managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute. It is an honor to appear before the Committee in support of The Energy-Water Efficiency and Supply Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005 (referred to here as the Water Technology Act).
The Water Technology Act would open an important area of research for our Laboratory and other parts of the federal and nonfederal research community in the U.S. As Senator Domenici has stated, reliable energy and clean water are essential elements in the quality of life of our citizens and those elsewhere in the world. When we lack one or the other, our standard of living suffers greatly. We have a responsibility to safeguard these resources for the American people. With your leadership and others, we are all getting better educated on the issues associated with unsafe water and unreliable energy – this is a hopeful sign. I will not repeat more water facts here, but I have attached a statement from the National Laboratory Energy-Water Nexus Team, a multi-laboratory team that has been working for more than two years to highlight these issues.
This attachment is a concise statement of the relation between energy production and water
resources and of how science and technology can contribute to new solutions to resource
limitations. The Energy-Water Nexus Team is a broad collaboration among DOE’s Laboratories that I hope will continue to function within the new Program you are proposing.
In my testimony today, I will concentrate on two subjects: 1) how energy-water issues are
becoming acute in the southeastern states, and 2) how new science can make a difference. The first point shows that water problems are not restricted to the western U.S. The second shows some of the benefits that will come from the Water Technology Act.
Energy-Water Issues in the Southeast Population increases throughout the U.S. will drive demand for both energy and water into the foreseeable future. As energy production accounts for the largest withdrawal of freshwater in the U.S., the growing demand for energy and the need to provide water for cities and industry will inevitably collide over limited freshwater. The competition for water between energy, municipalities, and industry is often compounded by the need to reallocate available water to environmental conservation. We are seeing these types of competitive problems in the eastern U.S. today.
In the introduction of the Water Technology Act, Senator Domenici explains how Nevada will have a population of four million people by 2030, twice as many as in 2000. The same trends are occurring in southeastern states such as Georgia, where the growth rate is about the same. Most of Georgia’s new water demand will be located in the Atlanta metropolitan area that is already struggling with water supply shortfalls. Population growth rates similar to those in Nevada and Georgia are occurring all along the east coast of the U.S., in states from Florida to Virginia. It is clear that there are water technology needs throughout the country and that the R&D investments in this proposed legislation are needed as soon as possible. To meet future water demand, many eastern coastal cities are turning to seawater desalination projects. For example, Tampa has been operating a seawater desalination plant since 2003 to augment its groundwater supplies. Tampa’s reverse osmosis plant is located next to a 2,000-MW, coal-fired power plant, where they share a water intake. Tampa’s experience is an important, leading example of how to provide new water sources for our cities, but desalination remains expensive, energy-intensive, and environmentally challenging. Biofouling of water intakes and membranes; unexpectedly high costs for construction, operation, and maintenance; and environmental impact of disposal of concentrated brines are continuing problems. These unresolved technical problems are delaying water solutions at other cities in the East and the West.
In central Virgina, the expansion of a nuclear power plant is being delayed because of limited water resources. The North Anna Nuclear Power Station near Mineral (north of Richmond) is located on Lake Anna, a 9,600-acre impoundment of the relatively small North Anna River. Lake Anna was created in 1971 to provide cooling water for the power station. Over the years, the lake has become home to marinas, dozens of subdivisions, a state park and thousands of recreational users. As is happening elsewhere in the U.S., changing water-use values are putting pressure on water for energy uses. Expansion of the North Anna Power Station would lead to water loss through increased evaporation of cooling water (either from the cooling reservoir or wet cooling towers), and that water loss would put plant safety, striped bass fisheries in the reservoir and downstream, and reservoir-based recreation at risk. This and many other examples make it clear that water and energy are major resource development issues throughout the country, both in the West and the East.
New Science and Technology Solutions
Can new science, technology development, and technology transfer help solve these problems quicker, cheaper, or better than existing technologies? I am confident that the answer is “yes” -- science and technology can make a real difference, and in a reasonable period of time. A combination of improvements to existing technologies and new technologies that we can expect from the dramatic advances occurring in, particularly, the materials sciences will help us use water more efficiently, produce water for human use from brackish or salt water, and reduce and often remove contaminants from water that we return to the environment. Let me illustrate the opportunities for progress through one example of a broad class of technologies that can have a transforming impact in the last two of these areas, the use of inorganic membranes.
Reverse osmosis membranes can be constructed out of inorganic materials: ceramics or metals. Inorganic membranes would be much more versatile than existing organic membranes. Depending on the materials used, inorganic membranes are resistant to corrosive liquids and gases, even at high temperatures (over 1000ºC). In seawater desalination applications, inorganic membranes would have distinct advantages. They could be selectively designed for use in the pre-treatment stage to remove biofouling organisms and other contaminants, or they could be designed for use in later treatment stages. The increased durability and other properties would becompatible with cheaper and more frequent and repetitive regeneration methods. Less costly operation and maintenance and less energy-intensive performance could be achieved. At ORNL, we have been exploring ways to build inorganic membranes for many years. The new Program that would be established by the Water Technology Act would enable us to develop new applications that could make a real difference, such as portable, low-power water treatment
packages to supply clean water to disaster victims.
DOE’s Laboratories have a wide range of capabilities that are well suited to tackle the most
difficult challenges at the intersection of energy and water. These include new information
systems, computational models, and monitoring technology to better understand future supplies and demands for both energy and water. New materials, separation methods, and
sensors/controls can be developed to create clean water and to increase water-use efficiencies in the energy sector. Increasing water-use efficiencies in energy, as well as in other industrial sectors, is an important priority, because it will delay the onset and the severity of unproductive competition between energy and water resources. As others have mentioned, the biotechnologies and nanotechnologies that are being developed within the national laboratories will have many applications to cleaning water that we hope will be more energy-efficient than current technologies.
The proposed Water Technology Program would have many important benefits beyond
providing for domestic water and energy needs. These additional benefits include homeland
security, increased resilience against climate change and variability, and contributions to
international stability in regions of the world that suffer from lack of clean water. New
technology to improve energy and water efficiency will contribute directly to improvements in the use of resources and protecting quality of life domestically and internationally.
The Best Path Forward on Energy-Water Technology Development
DOE’s National Laboratory system is an excellent place to center a new water technology
program, because of our multi-disciplinary nature and our ability to focus on challenging
missions, such as this. However, we know that we cannot do this alone. The full spectrum of basic to applied research, demonstration, and deployment will be needed. The new water technology program should be implemented in a way that is needs-based and merit-based, so that funding is allocated to the most pressing problems and work is done by the best researchers. We need to ensure that we draw on a broad range of skills from Labs, other agencies, academia, and industry. We also must ensure that the new technology that is developed is transferred expeditiously to commercial end-users, so that we impact energy and water resources as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. As the Water Technology Act implies, a base technology program in Labs and universities, combined with competitive grants, will produce effective directed research and the opportunity to incorporate the best new ideas from all sources. This is a strategy that has proved successful in delivering high-impact outcomes in a variety of arenas.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your commitment to providing reliable energy and clean water to our nation and the world. The scientific community appreciates the Committee’s leadership in this area and firmly believes that the future of our nation depends on continued progress in science and technology, including the energy-water nexus.
The National Laboratory Energy-Water Nexus Team’s answer to Question 4 of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Water Conference on April 5,2005: What potential exists and what should be the federal government’s role in enhancing the
available water supply through the development of new technologies, conservation, metering, more efficient storage, water banking and other water transfers?
Enhancing Water Supplies While Addressing Energy Needs
Through Research and Technology Development As highlighted in recent National Academy of Science reports, scientific research and technical innovation will be critical elements in resolving the impending water crises we face nationally and internationally. Achieving this will require increased investment, coordination among many
federal agencies and collaboration among entities at federal, regional, state and local levels.
There are a number of different areas where research and development could enhance water supplies.
Water plays many essential roles in our lives and in our economies: maintaining public health
and sanitation, producing food, protecting sensitive ecosystems, enhancing recreation and
aesthetics, and playing a critical role in industry, energy production, and economic productivity.
All of these are potentially at risk should water supplies fail. The challenges of maintaining water sustainability also are fundamentally important both to national security and global stability. In observance of the 2002 World Day for Water, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan noted that “By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population is likely to live in countries with moderate or severe water shortages. Fierce national competition over water resources has prompted fears that water issues contain the seeds of violent conflict.” In the U.S., competition also is growing for limited supplies of water of sufficient quality for use by municipalities, industries, agriculture, water and energy utilities, and others, including meeting ecosystem and recreational needs.
Insecurity over water as a powerful source for conflict is evidenced by 37 incidents globally
since 1948; but, over the same time period, water has been a greater force for international
cooperation, including 295 negotiated water agreements (Shiffries and Brewster, 2004).
Making sufficient alternatives available to negotiators depends in part on increased scientific
understanding and new technological options that can increase the number of alternatives for
enhancing water supplies to balance demands from competing water users.
A particularly important place for science and technology investment is at the energy-water
nexus. The needs for both energy and water are expected to grow substantially over the next 25 years, and while the separate challenges arising from these projections are recognized, little attention is given to the fact that the future of one of these resources may be compromised by a failure of the other: insufficient or too costly supplies of water can cripple energy production; insufficient or too costly energy can cripple water supplies. A stable U.S. energy portfolio requires adequate and dependable water. According to the USGS, electricity production from fossil and nuclear energy requires 190,000 million gallons of water per day, or 39% or all freshwater withdrawals nationally. In other words, U.S. households indirectly use as much or more water turning on the lights and running their appliances as they use directly for bathing and watering their gardens. Conversely, water pumping, treatment and conveyance use large amounts of energy, equivalent to energy used by the paper or refining industries, about 75 billion kWh/yr or 3% of national energy consumption. In the west, energy use for water is even higher: about 7% of California’s electricity is used for water pumping and as much as 25% of electricity use is water-related (Gleick et al., 2004).
Targeting Research and Development at the Energy-Water Nexus
Energy-water linkages result in synergies for research and technology efforts at the energy-water nexus. Increasing efficient use of energy effectively extends both water supply and energy supply; more efficient use of water effectively likewise enhances supplies of water and energy. There is a clear need for research and technology to develop a better understanding of the energy-water nexus and to find the innovative technological solutions needed to address the challenges at this critical junction. Such efforts should include energy-efficient technologies for treating and using impaired water sources, scientific and technologic advances to reduce water usage in power generation, reuse of waters used or produced in energy resource recovery, and improving energy efficiency in water pumping and conveyance, as well as a long list of other areas that will result in more efficient or decreased use of water and energy.
Water acquisition, management, movement, distribution, purification and post-use treatment are large users of energy (Anderson, 1999). Water sector energy demand also likely will
substantially outpace growth in other high-energy use sectors. Increasing water demand, shifts to water reuse and recycling, more use of impaired water sources, tapping of deeper groundwater sources, and increased water storage and transport will significantly increase future energy demand. Energy demand for treatment and conveyance of freshwater supplies is increasing due \to deteriorating infrastructure (American Water Resources Association, 2005), increased awareness of harmful natural constituents such as arsenic (Bitner, 2004), introduction of new contaminants into the environment (e.g., endocrine disruptors, disinfection byproducts), and concerns over soil salinization and depletion of groundwater (Lawford et al., 2003; McGuire et al., 2003). Addressing these factors will require long-term commitments of significant resources to research, develop, demonstrate and deploy water treatment technologies that can improve efficiencies for removing traditional compounds as well as treat an ever-growing number of new contaminants. Such research should include development of new energy-efficient and selective materials for membranes, ion exchange resins and filters, innovative processes for desalination, and improved processes for handling concentrate waste streams.
With inclusion of freshwater and saline water withdrawals for thermoelectric and hydropower, the energy sector is the largest water use sector. While these withdrawals are not completely consumptive, enough water still must be available to ensure sustainable energy production. With the exception of some renewable energy sources, and regardless of fuel sources, our electricity production is dependent on water supplies (Electric Power Research Institute, 2002; Brocksen et al., 1996). Additionally, much of our energy fuel production is dependent on adequate water supplies to obtain and process fuels (Wolff et al., 2004). Energy resource recovery and processing also create large volumes of wastewater that require treatment for reuse or disposal (Gleick et al., 2004). Future sources of energy such as coal liquefaction or gasification, biomass, and hydrogen will place new demands on water resources.
Many factors are driving the current condition of increasingly strained water resources toward a severe water crisis, translating to negative results for the energy sector. Nationally, population is growing most rapidly where water is least available. Internationally, in addition to the water needed for growing populations, tremendous amounts of water will be needed to modernize urban centers and industrialize the developing world. Freshwater supplies are dwindling due to extended droughts in parts of the U.S. and in other countries throughout the world (Hirsch, 2004). Water will be foremost among resources affected by long-term trends in regional and global temperatures or other manifestations of climate change.
All of these factors will contribute to increasing difficulties for the energy sector to obtain the
water it needs for existing plants and for future expansion. Newspapers from throughout the
country increasingly are reporting that drought, increasing competition among user groups for existing water supplies, and fears of negative impacts on ecosystems are causing denial of permits for new thermoelectric power generation or restrictions on existing electricity generation. For example, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the drought now impacting the western U.S. has reduced hydropower production at Glen Canyon Dam by 25 percent, reducing output to just 124 megawatts out of 165 megawatts of power capacity. Drought has also reduced hydropower output from numerous smaller projects throughout the state, lowering revenues for hydropower producers and making electricity more expensive for many of Utah’s households. In Lassen County in northern California, concerns over water are causing residents and conservationists to oppose construction of a 1400-megawatt coal-fired power plant planned across the state line in Nevada. The plant would produce cheap electricity at 2 cents per kilowatt-hour compared to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for gas-fired plants, however, experts think that the 16,000-acre feet of water per year needed for the plant greatly exceeds sustainable withdrawals from the area’s water resources. In both cases, water shortages result in increasing costs and decreasing supplies of electricity. In central Virgina, near Mineral, a siting permit to expand the North Anna Nuclear Power Station is being contested due to concerns over water. Lake Anna, a 9,600-acre river impoundment, was created in 1971 to provide cooling water for the North Lake Anna Nuclear Power Station. Over the years, the lake has become home to marinas, dozens of subdivisions, a state park and thousands of recreational users. The siting permit has encountered significant resistance from other water users, residents and environmental groups over the impact of reducing lake levels, especially during droughts, and the resulting risk to plant safety, as well s the impacts on aquatic species and recreation from impingement, entrainment and thermal discharges from expanding the facility.
There are also energy implications resulting from choices in water resource utilization. For
example, in California, where power shortages recently necessitated rolling blackouts and other extreme power conservation measures, water constraints are pushing industries and power plants to shift to wastewater reuse and recycling. Because energy as well as water may be limiting factors, the future availability and cost of the additional energy that will be required for
wastewater treatment and conveyance should be considered in conjunction with the cost and availability of various water source alternatives, or switching to other options such as dry cooling or other low water-intensity power generation such as solar and wind power. The cascading blackout that temporarily devastated many parts of the economies of regions in the Northeast and Midwest several years ago also resulted in suspension of Cleveland’s water supply because electricity was not available for pumping stations. Future city planning is likely to consider a mix of energy resource alternatives or back-up generators to increase the reliability and security of both energy and water systems. Decision analysis and systems tools that allow coupling the energy and water sectors are critical for such integrated planning.
Problems at the energy-water nexus are national in scope but there are profound regional
differences in water issues and energy sources that dictate solutions be fit to regional and local needs. Water scarcity is most obvious in the arid West where surface water withdrawals are maximized and groundwater pumping rates exceed natural recharge rates, but even in the more humid Eastern states, limited storage, groundwater level declines, salt water intrusion and depletion of stream flow needed for aquatic ecosystems are common problems (NSTC, 2004). The benefits from new investments should be maximized by focusing on technologies that can be deployed nationwide by virtue of their adaptability to a variety of regional water resource scenarios.
Investment should also be made in a process to ensure that the technologies created through
energy-water research and development are deployed successfully to end-users. Components of such a process should include technology innovation, research and development, pilot testing and assessment, technology transfer and commercialization, and concurrent studies of the economic and policy constraints that may impede regulatory and public acceptance. To be successful, a new technology must be economically viable, environmentally acceptable, should be easily integrated or substituted into existing infrastructure or processes, and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
As highlighted in recent National Academy of Science reports, solving the national challenge of sustainable water and energy supply will require a coordinated and concerted investment in science and new technology development. There is an urgent need to increase research and development efforts to create science-based solutions to water-related constraints on future energy supplies and energy-related constraints on future water supplies. Over the last decades, there have been investments in some water related areas, such as groundwater cleanup and environmental restoration, fossil energy produced water management, thermoelectric power efficiency, and in-home water and energy efficiency. All of these efforts individually fall within the energy-water overlap, but more integration and coordination is needed to provide a foundation for broader research and technology development specifically targeted to cover the scope of the nexus between national energy and water supply needs. Science and engineering expertise to be tapped include high-performance, high-resolution computer simulation capabilities, advanced sensors and controls, separations science including advanced materials development, impaired water treatment and water reuse technologies, improved water and energy efficiency technologies and systems, technology testing and demonstration facilities, tools for integrated analysis of complex interdependent systems, and tools for decision-support analysis and visualization. Finally, a regional approach to water resources is needed, so that new technology development is matched to local and regional needs and priorities. Regionally based
efforts should foster cooperation among national laboratories, universities, other federal
agencies, private industry, state and local agencies to target the most pressing national and
regionally cross-cutting priorities. Creation of strong regional public/private partnerships that
engage federal, state and local decision makers must be a key part of any solution.
Witness Panel 2
Mr. Colin Sabol
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
October 20, 2005
Colin Sabol – Chief Marketing Officer, GE Infrastructure
Email: Colin.Sabol@ge.com Phone: (215) 942-3151
Chairman Domenici, Senator Bingaman and members of the Committee, today it is my honor to share with you GE’s thoughts on both the recently submitted “Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Act of 2005” (S 1860) and the “Desalination Water Supply Shortage Prevention Act of 2005” (S 1016).
By way of background, GE is a global leader in diverse technologies and one of the world’s most recognized brands. Through our Research and Product Development programs, we consistently provide our customers with advanced technologies to generate power, purify and treat water, reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency, enhance safety and security, and improve health care.
GE Water & Process Technologies is a leading global provider of water treatment systems and services. Our treatment systems create safe, affordable “New Water” for millions of people living in water-scarce regions of the world from many sources, including ground water, surface water, sea water and recovered wastewater. In addition, water is the lifeblood of industry, and our products and services conserve billions of gallons of water annually for our industrial customers. GE creates this New Water using multiple technologies, including reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, and treatment systems that remove impurities and improve water quality.
Water Scarcity is Spreading
As population increases and industrial development expands, the stress on water resources will continue to increase. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the number of people living in regions defined as “stressed” and “high stress” will increase from 4 billion in 1995 to nearly 6 billion in 2025 – an increase of 50% in 30 years. (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Global Water Stress
This is a global trend that can also be felt in the US due to shifts in population and impairment of existing water resources. For example:
• Increasing populations and high demand are depleting freshwater aquifers in the southwest US;
• Groundwater contamination is a growing problem in New England;
• Competition for water access in the Colorado river basin have created far-reaching economic and political tensions in that region;
• Lead and bacteria contamination have affected drinking water supplies in areas, including here in Washington DC.
Paradoxically, many regions of high stress have abundant water supplies nearby. The problem is one of access to clean, usable water. There are technology solutions to this problem. GE and other companies are able to provide technologies to convert seawater, brackish water and recovered water into useful water supplies. As demand increases, it will become increasingly important to reduce the cost to treat and purify water.
Economics of Water Treatment and Desalination
Water treatment costs vary by the amount of salt removal, cost of energy, size of plant, as well as the type of treatment technology. As shown in Figure 2, different water resources require different treatment technologies, and higher salinities have higher costs.
Figure 2: Desalination Costs by Method
Desalination costs are dominated by capital investment, energy and maintenance costs. (Figure 3) Reverse osmosis systems, which utilize membrane technology for water treatment, have the lowest cost of operations, especially in areas with high power cost.
Figure 3: Desalination Cost Breakdown
Technology Advances Have Reduced Cost of Clean Water
GE and others have made great strides in reducing the cost of desalinating seawater using membranes, from over $20/K-gal in 1980 to under $4/K-gal today (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Reduction in Desalination Costs Over Time
While membrane technology advances have resulted in significant cost reductions, energy still accounts for up to 60% of the operating cost (Figure 5). Further improvements in energy efficiency will deliver sustainable reductions in operating cost. Along with improvements in energy efficiency, improvements in membrane performance and membrane life through integrated treatment systems can reduce capital cost and life cycle cost.
Figure 5: RO Desalination Process Costs
Roadmap for Sustainable Reduction in Clean Water Costs
Membrane-based treatment solutions are essential to creating new water sources such as brackish water aquifers, seawater, and even wastewater. Membrane based desalination and reuse is a proven solution, but a broader application of these technologies to create meaningful new water sources requires investment to further reduce the energy consumption associated with the operation of membrane systems.
Significant improvements in clean water cost can be achieved by investing in the development of:
• New membrane and other separation technologies that require less energy than today’s best available technology.
• New longer life membrane technologies that are resistant to chlorine and other chemicals to reduce maintenance and replacement costs.
• Advanced membrane systems with increased capacity per capital cost;
• Higher efficiency of energy recovery systems to reduce energy costs;
• Integrated water-treatment, energy-generation systems to increase overall energy and water production efficiency.
GE is already investing in research to develop membranes that have lower energy consumption, improved life, and innovative integrated treatment systems such as the integration of membrane-based desalination and energy generated from wind turbines.
GE is also evaluating whether to embark upon a number of far-reaching, longer-term water scarcity research programs that could result in disruptive desalination and reuse technologies that would substantially reduce energy consumption, increase throughput, and thus substantially lower the overall cost of New Water. Such potential programs include nanotechnologies; “smart” membranes (with pores that adjust so that they can perform selective separation); a 10X simplification in pretreatment processes; and advanced remote monitoring and diagnostics.
We are committed to continuing our efforts in these areas, but government support would enable us to accelerate existing programs, and to pursue altogether new research programs.
Comments and Recommendations
We have reviewed the “Desalination Water Supply Shortage Prevention Act of 2005” (S 1016) and the “Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Act of 2005” (S 1860), and we would like to share our perspectives on certain aspects of each.
With respect to the “Desalination Water Supply Shortage Prevention Act of 2005” (S 1016), we recognize the value of subsidies as effective means to encourage early adoption and deployment of water treatment solutions that exist today. And for communities in need, especially given the inflated costs of energy today, short-term assistance with energy subsidies will help those communities more rapidly adopt today’s technologies.
However, it seems possible that S 1016 could inadvertently drive undesirable outcomes. For example, it is possible that energy subsidies would encourage certain communities to implement inefficient New Water technologies. Once such technologies are installed, they could dissuade a community from implementing newer, more efficient technologies.
Consequently, we believe that the long-term, sustainable solution to producing economical sources of New Water lies in developing more advanced, energy-efficient technologies to treat multiple water sources. And, we believe that the “Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Act of 2005” (S 1860) would be an important step towards realizing such new energy-efficient technologies.
As a practical matter, we believe that substantial incremental funding for research and development would significantly accelerate the development of economical sources of New Water. We further believe that the S 1860 is focused on the right set of research and development programs. More specifically, we believe that a broad research and development program aimed at membrane advancements, improved ‘Total System’ energy efficiency, and integrated water-renewable energy systems could lead to a 30% reduction in operating costs and a 25% reduction of capital costs in the next five plus years, with significant reductions achievable in the next one to three years. Such advances would be consistent with what GE and others in the industry have achieved in the past. (As Figure 4 showed, the cost of desalinating seawater using membranes has dropped from over $20/K-gal in 1980 to under $4/K-gal today.)
We also believe that it makes sense to begin with a Technology Roadmap. However, the development of this roadmap could be expedited by building on the Desalination and Water Reuse Technology Roadmap that was published by the US Bureau of Reclamation and Sandia National Labs in 2003. The new Roadmap should -- in addition to definitively outlining the current state of best available technologies and near-term technological advancements -- take a longer-term view and explore potential breakthrough areas for energy-water efficiency technologies.
In addition, we believe that it is absolutely essential for the Bill to focus more on the process of driving commercialization of funded research proposals. Based on GE’s own experience developing and commercializing technologically advanced products around the world, we would like to share the following suggestions for enhancing the prospects for successful technology transfer and commercialization:
1) Grant Size: Private sector grants should be at least $1,000,000 per year. Such a grant size will encourage “bigger ideas” and draw proposals from a wider base of experienced research and development organizations.
2) Industry Partners: The Lead Laboratories and the Advisory Panel should select at least one Industry partner to participate in each program. The Industry partners could participate as advocates, advisors, joint research partners or subcontractors to the principle research entity. The input of such industrial partners would especially help guide and validate the commercial aspects of the technology programs.
3) Stage-Gate Development Process: Administration of the research grants should be separated into phases and aligned with a classic ‘Stage-Gate’ product development process. GE’s adoption of a ‘Stage-Gate’ product development process, which is based on our leading efforts in Design For Six Sigma practices, has dramatically increased our commercialization success rate . Funding for each stage of the grant should be absolutely contingent on fully satisfying the requirements of each stage. This process could be simplified into the following six Stages:
Figure 6: Stage-Gate Development Process
Thus, for a given government grant, if the research entity fails to meet the requirements of any stage, the administrator would have the ability to terminate the remainder of the grant.
As a leader in the industry, GE looks forward to working with policymakers, users, and the technical community to continue to improve desalination and reuse technologies and increase the availability of economical New Water and energy. Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of this committee for your time.
Mr. Edmund Archuleta
ENERGY-WATER EFFICIENCY TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TRANSFER PROGRAM ACT OF 2005
DESALINATION WATER SUPPLY SHORTAGE PREVENTION ACT OF 2005
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED STATES SENATE
EL PASO WATER UTILITIES
EL PASO, TEXAS
ON BEHALF OF
WATEREUSE RESEARCH FOUNDATION
OCTOBER 20, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am Ed Archuleta, General Manager of the El Paso Water Utilities and a current member of the Board of Directors of the Water Reuse Foundation (WateReuse). I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you today on behalf WateReuse in support of S. 1860, the Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005.
The WateReuse Association (WateReuse) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the beneficial and efficient use of water resources through education, sound science, and technology using reclamation, recycling, reuse, and desalination for the benefit of our members, the public, and the environment. Across the United States and the world, communities are facing water supply challenges due to increasing demand, drought, and dependence on a single source of supply. WateReuse addresses these challenges by working with local agencies to implement water reuse and desalination projects that resolve water resource issues and create value for communities. The vision of WateReuse is to be the leading voice for reclamation, recycling, reuse, and desalination in the development and utilization of new sources of high quality water.
WateReuse assists its members in implementing projects that solve these water supply challenges for local communities by:
• sponsoring research that advances the science of water reuse and focuses on the Association's commitment to providing high-quality water, protecting public health, and improving the environment;
• reaching out to members, the public, and local leaders and officials with information that communicates the value and benefits of water reuse; and
• encouraging additional Federal support for water reuse, including funding for research and local projects.
WateReuse members use advanced treatment processes and monitoring to produce water of sufficient quality for the intended purpose from treated municipal and industrial effluent, storm water, agricultural drainage, and sources with high salinity such as seawater and brackish water.
The Association’s membership is growing rapidly as more communities around the nation recognize the need to reuse water and develop alternative supplies. WateReuse now has more than 310 organizational members nationwide, including more than 150 local water and wastewater agencies.
The Association has developed a successful cost-shared research program with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and other research organizations through its WateReuse Foundation. The Foundation is engaged in conducting “leading edge” applied research on important and timely issues, including: 1) evaluating methods for managing salinity, including the disposal of concentrates from membrane treatment systems; 2) working cooperatively with USBR, Sandia National Laboratories, and through the Joint Water Reuse & Desalination Task Force (JWR&DTF) to implement the Desalination and Water Purification Technologies Roadmap developed in 2003 by Sandia and USBR; 3) evaluating ways to advance public acceptance of indirect potable reuse; 4) understanding the occurrence and fate of emerging contaminants, such as endocrine disrupting compounds, in conventional and advanced water recycling systems; and 5) gaining a better understanding of water quality changes that might occur in aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The WateReuse Foundation currently has a water reuse and desalination research portfolio consisting of more than 50 active projects with a value of more than $10 million.
My utility in El Paso must work with multiple jurisdictions including the United States and Mexico, Texas and New Mexico, and multiple counties, all of which face the challenge of providing water resources to a growing population in an arid region of our country. This experience, and my service as Chairman of the AwwaRF Board of Trustees and as a Board Member of the Water Reuse Foundation has convinced me that it is essential for our nation to identify and develop new technologies to treat new sources of water, including brackish groundwater, and to do so in the most energy efficient manner possible. Senator Domenici, the water community is deeply appreciative of your leadership and vision as exhibited in S.1860 that provides the framework for this crucial enterprise.
S. 1860 and the Importance of a Comprehensive Approach to the Nation’s
The importance of the energy-water nexus has become apparent to water and energy professionals at all levels of government. Water is critical to the production of energy and, conversely, energy is needed for water production. Water and wastewater utilities consume approximately 3% of the nation’s electrical energy to pump, treat, store, and distribute water.
In the future, the nation will depend more and more on the availability of “alternative water supplies,” primarily reclaimed and reused waters and the desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater. In order for these two sources of “new water” to be cost-effective, research is needed to drive down the costs. For example, the new Tampa Bay Water desalination facility will produce water at a currently estimated cost of $2.54/1000 gallons. By contrast, the cost of wholesale water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to its customers is approximately $1.50/1000 gallons. It is this differential of about a dollar per thousand gallons that must be addressed through research.
Similar research is needed for water reuse since many of its applications require membrane applications. For example, Orange County Water District in California currently is designing and constructing its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) at a cost of $487 million. The technologies utilized are microfiltration, ultraviolet irradiation, and reverse osmosis – technologies that also are used in desalination.
In El Paso, we are in the process of constructing what will be the world’s largest inland desalination facility. One of the technologies featured will be reverse osmosis. One of the greatest challenges facing us will be the disposal of concentrate resulting from the removal of salts and other solids. The types of research envisioned in S. 1860 would likely benefit El Paso in two very tangible ways: 1) reduction of the energy costs of the membrane technologies employed; and 2) development of better and less expensive means of the disposal of concentrate.
WateReuse is strongly supportive of S. 1860 for two basic reasons. First, we believe that research will benefit the entire water community by driving down costs and facilitating the development of new technologies that will allow water utilities to resolve difficult challenges such as concentrate disposal. Second, in the arid West and Southwest, the annual rainfall ranges from about seven inches to 12 inches per year. To accommodate the rapid population growth that is occurring in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and southern California, we need to be able to reclaim and reuse our wastewater and we need to be able to desalinate water in a cost-effective manner. Only research will allow us to do that.
According to the Desalination and Water Purification Technology Roadmap, “by 2020, desalination and water purification technologies will contribute significantly to ensuring a safe, sustainable, affordable, and adequate water supply for the United States.” For this to happen, however, a substantial research investment will be needed to find a way to reduce the capital and operating costs. Although desalination has several advantages, it will always have two huge technical challenges: 1) removal of as much as 35,000 milligrams per liter (i.e., 3.5% by volume) of salt and other impurities; and 2) disposal of the brine concentrate that is a by-product of the treatment process. The WateReuse Foundation, working in conjunction with Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation through the JWR&DTF, is heavily engaged in conducting research on innovative, cost-effective methods of concentrate disposal and sponsoring research on membrane technologies and alternative technologies.
The scientific expertise of our national laboratories is something that we all recognize and we are excited over the prospect of having some of these capabilities focused upon developing new, energy efficient water treatment technologies. The purpose of my testimony today to better acquaint the Committee with what we consider the other crucial aspect of this enterprise which is to ensure that these new technologies are applicable to, and implementable by, water agencies. Based upon my experience in running a water agency and also in working with my fellow Board Members at WateReuse and Trustees at AwwaRF, there is often a wide gap between what seems to work in a laboratory and what does indeed work at a water treatment facility and also what will be approved for use by state regulatory agencies.
S.1860 challenges three of our national laboratories to identify groundbreaking new approaches to water treatment. I believe they will be successful in this endeavor. But it is also essential that the research expertise of the water community, as embodied by organizations such as WateReuse, should also be made a part of the research agenda. I am not referring here to technology transfer activities, but rather how S.1860 can create the framework for a true working research partnership between the national labs and the water community. For example, within the past three months, a partnership of El Paso Water Utilities, New Mexico State University, Texas A&M, the University of Texas at El Paso, and the City of Alamogordo (CHIWAWA) have initiated three desal research projects with Sandia Labs. We will be meeting in Albuquerque in early December at the time of the Multi-State Salinity Conference to discuss the parameters of the research program and agree on our research schedule. This partnership could use the support of S.1860 could provide.
CHIWAWA’s (Consortium for High Tech Investigations of Water and Wastewater) work with Sandia is aimed at ensuring that cutting edge next generation technologies developed by the national laboratories also have the benefit of the practical research expertise offered by our research organizations. WateReuse has a proven track record of cooperation in developing and executing research that is of direct practical use by the very utilities that provide their financial support. For example, it has enabled water utilities to comply with an ever expanding regulatory scheme at a cost less than the expected compliance cost without such research. Direct involvement by utilities assures that research is driven by practical need rather than academic interest and increases dramatically the likelihood of adoption and implementation by the water community.
In addition to WateReuse and research management capabilities, the financial support from our more than 1000 subscribing water and wastewater agencies allow us to provide local funding to leverage those of the federal government. The WateReuse Foundation, through contributions from its Subscribers, local water and wastewater agencies, and state agencies, has leveraged funds received from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation by a factor of more than 3:1. We believe that in these times of federal deficits the best way to address the national priorities outlined in S. 1860 is to create a federal-local research partnership which includes investment from all levels of government. WateReuse stands ready with both its research expertise and a portion of its utility generated income to support the goals of your legislation.
WateReuse notes that today’s hearing is also examining innovative ways to finance desalination technologies. Specifically, S. 1016 would, if enacted, provide operating subsidies for facilities to subsidize energy costs. WateReuse has supported strong federal partnerships for water supply facilities and during these times of fiscal austerity, we believe that creative financing mechanisms hold the promise of maintaining a federal partnership. At the same time, the ability to drive down the overall costs of producing alternative water supplies ranging from technology to disposal of byproducts is equally important. Research and technology demonstration holds the promise of delivering on this priority. We hope that as the committee considers tools like operating subsidies that it also target research needs.
Again, WateReuse thanks you, Mr. Chairman and Senator Bingaman, for convening this hearing. We would be pleased to work with you in addressing critical issues related to energy-water efficiency and water technology research. We strongly support the Committee’s leadership efforts to ensure adequate and safe water supplies for the entire country in the 21st century. Also, I want to thank you both for agreeing to be speakers at the Multi-State Salinity Conference in Albuquerque on December 8 and 9.
At this time, Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to respond to any questions you or the other members may have.
Mr. Jim Reynolds
TESTIMONY OF JIM REYNOLDS
FLORIDA KEYS AQUEDUCT AUTHORITY
ON BEHALF OF THE
U.S. DESALINATION COALITION
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES
UNITED STATES SENATE
OCTOBER 20, 2005
Chairman Domenici and Members of the Committee, my name is Jim Reynolds. I am the Executive Director of Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and I serve on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Desalination Coalition. I very much appreciate having the opportunity to testify today in support of S. 1016, the Desalination Water Supply Shortage Prevention Act of 2005.
The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority is the sole provider of potable water for all the residents of the Florida Keys and presently serves over 44,000 customers in Monroe County. Like water resource managers throughout the United States, we are struggling to address the long-term challenges posed by drought, increasing population, and competing demands from business, agriculture, and the environment. These challenges led us to join together with water agencies and utilities from other States including California, Texas, Hawaii, and New Mexico to form the U. S. Desalination Coalition, a group dedicated to advocating an increased Federal role in advancing desalination. Seawater and brackish water are virtually inexhaustible resources that can be tapped as a viable long term tool for meeting our Nation’s growing water supply needs.
Drought, increasing population, and competing demands from business, agriculture and the environment for limited water supplies has taken us to the brink. The reservation of fresh water for the natural systems to maintain a sustainable environment and protection against drought are concerns throughout the Country. The economic, social, and environmental consequences of a water supply crisis are not local or regional in nature. It is a national problem and I believe that it demands the attention of Congress.
The ultimate goal of the U.S. Desalination Coalition is to encourage the Federal government to create a new program to provide financial assistance to water agencies and utilities that successfully develop desalination projects that treat both seawater and brackish water for municipal and industrial use. The Desalination Drought Prevention Act of 2005, introduced by Senator Martinez, will achieve this goal in a fiscally responsible way. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Jim Davis of Florida and Jim Gibbons of Nevada and now has approximately 30 cosponsors. I am delighted to be here today in support of this legislation and tell you how it will positively affect the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and the State of Florida.
Despite the tremendous advances in desalination technology that have reduced the costs of desalinating water, energy costs remain quite high and are responsible for more than 30% of the overall cost of desalinated water. S. 1016 directs the Secretary of Energy to provide incentive payments to water agencies and utilities that successfully develop desalination projects. This would be a competitive, performance-based program that will help to offset the costs of treating seawater and brackish water. Under the proposed program, qualified desalination facilities would be eligible to receive payments of $0.62 for every 14 kW of electricity used for the initial ten years of a project’s operation. The legislation would also insure that there is a balance in the amount of money going to seawater and brackish water projects in any one year.
The rationale for this approach is that while the cost of desalinating water has dropped dramatically over the last decade, the energy costs associated with desalination are still quite high. Most experts believe that these costs will continue to come down over time and that desalination will eventually be widespread. But waiting for this to occur is a luxury that, in my opinion, we cannot afford. A modest investment to jump-start the development of these projects and stimulate advances in desalination technology today is the smart thing to do.
It is true that the approach suggested in S. 1016 to encourage the development of seawater and brackish groundwater desalination projects is different from the traditional approach of providing construction grant funds. That difference is by design. While the availability of energy assistance grants will encourage the development of desalination projects, these grants will be performance based. In other words, the Federal government will bear none of the risk of project permitting and construction as it does under the construction grant approach. Only those projects that are technically, environmentally and economically sound, and have actually been constructed will be eligible to apply for the grants.
I am proud that the Florida Keys has historically been a leader in the development and use of desalination technology. In fact, the very first seawater desalination plant ever built in the United States was constructed in the 1840s to provide water to Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West. Today, the FKAA maintains desalination plants on Stock Island and in Marathon for use in case of emergencies or a disruption in service of our main pipeline that is 130 miles long and crosses 42 overseas bridges. These facilities produce freshwater from seawater, as a limited emergency source of potable water for the Lower and Middle Keys.
Passage of S. 1016 is of vital importance to the future of the Keys. The Aqueduct Authority currently obtains its water from the fresh groundwater Biscayne aquifer in Dade County. However, because of skyrocketing growth in south Florida and the needs of Everglades National Park, the South Florida Water Management District is setting limits on the amount of water our agency can withdraw from the aquifer. As a result, we are moving forward with a plan to supplement our water supplies by building a new, brackish water desalination facility in south Dade County that will produce 7 million gallons per day of fresh drinking water. S. 1016 will allow us to meet the needs of the environment without subjecting our customers to a massive increase in water rates that would otherwise result. I hope that you agree that potable water is not a luxury and that it is a necessity that must remain affordable especially too many of our citizens who are on low or fixed incomes.
Mr. Chairman, the U.S. Desalination Coalition also supports the enactment of S. 1860, the Energy – Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer Program Act of 2005. We support increased research in this area and believe that the goals of Senator Domenici’s legislation are consistent with and complementary to the goals of S. 1016. As important as enhanced research of desalination technology may be, however, we do not believe that additional research should come in lieu of a federal investment of the development of actual projects that will provide clean and reliable water to families and businesses. In fact, a strong case can be made that we will learn a great deal about how to improve the efficiency of desalination technology through the development and operation of large-scale seawater and brackish groundwater desalination facilities.
We are very supportive of the program grants that would be authorized under S. 1860. We would hope that a significant portion of the grant funds to be made available under this program would be directed to water agencies and utilities developing desalination demonstration projects. These projects are often a precursor to the development of full scale desalination projects. The information derived from such projects can be very helpful in the continuing improvement of membrane technology, energy recovery systems, and pre-treatment techniques.
In conclusion, thank you again for holding today’s hearing on these important pieces of legislation. We very much appreciate your leadership on this important issue and hope that the Committee will move promptly to pass both S. 1016 and S. 1860.
Dr. Pankaj Parekh
Testimony submitted by
Pankaj Parekh, Ph.D.
On behalf of the
Awwa Research Foundation
Before the Senate Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources
Honorable Pete Domenici, Chairman
October 20th, 2005
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am Pankaj Parekh of the Los Angeles
Department of Power and Water, and also Chair of the Awwa Research Foundation’s
committee for tailored collaboration. I appreciate the opportunity to testify before you
today on behalf of the Awwa Research Foundation, [AwwaRF] and in strong support of
S. 1860, the Energy-Water Efficiency Technology Research, Development, and Transfer
Program Act of 2005. There is a consensus among the water supply community that it is
essential for our nation to identify and develop innovative technologies to treat new
sources of water, including brackish groundwater and sea water, and to do so in the most
energy-efficient manner possible and with the least disruption of the environment. The
water supply community is deeply grateful and appreciative of the leadership and vision
as exhibited in S. 1860 that provides the framework for this crucial enterprise.
AwwaRF’s priority is to address, through research, the most pressing needs of the water
community. Over the past decade and a half, these challenges have included the control
and reduction of disinfection by-products, cryptosporidium, perchlorate, and arsenic, to
name only a few. In each case, AwwaRF sponsored research has taken a leading role in
ensuring that water utilities have had the tools necessary to meet these challenges and to
continue to fulfill their obligation to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the
public. S. 1860 focuses not just on drinking water contaminants but how our nation can
access previously unusable water sources to meet the water supply challenges of the 21st
century. One of the few certainties that we all live with is the fact that there is no “new”
water on the face of the earth. Faced with this reality there is no alternative but to
identify and develop cost-effective treatments that will allow our nation to make use of
all available water sources to help us meet the 21st century needs of our growing
population. The prospect of cost-effective and energy-efficient technologies to address
this challenge is truly exciting to all of us. We believe that S. 1860 offers not just the
vision and promise of how to achieve these ends but also a practical roadmap for a
federal-local partnership that will allow the water supply community to meet its
obligations to the public and to do so well into the 21st century.
AwwaRF is a member-supported, international non-profit organization that sponsors
research to enable water utilities, public health agencies, and other professionals to
provide safe and affordable drinking water to consumers. Our more than 900 subscribing
water utilities in the United States and in seven foreign countries invest $2.05 per every
million gallons of delivered water into the research subscription program administered by
AwwaRF. This produces over $13,000,000 in income each year which we leverage with
in-kind contributions from researchers and in funding partnerships which include a
number of Federal agencies. Over the past quarter of a century, AwwaRF has invested
and leveraged over $370 million in over 900 research projects on all aspects of drinking
water treatment and supply. This includes a number of projects which address
desalination and arsenic treatment, including our current research partnership with Sandia
National La bs and WERC at New Mexico State University and our cooperative
agreement with Sandia National Labs, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and
WateReuse through the Joint Water Reuse and Desalination Task Force to implement the
Desalination and Water Purification Roadmap developed in 2003 by Sandia and USBR.
All AwwaRF research is done by sub-agreement with water utilities, universities, private
research organizations, consulting engineering firms, and other qualified organizations.
This sub-agreement approach allows the Foundation to avoid the cost of equipping and
maintaining separate laboratories and instead enables us to leverage existing facilities
throughout the academic and water supply communities in support of our research.
AwwaRF’s staff of over 50 manages this research. The results are published in the form
of a final report which is widely disseminated throughout the water community and with
federal and state agencies. AwwaRF also conducts an ongoing program of technology
transfer conferences and periodicals that bring the latest in priority research directly to
water agencies. AwwaRF holds no patents on any technology that is developed through
our research but instead publishes and disseminates its research results to a wide
audience. Interested parties are then free to use this knowledge and develop these
technologies for commercial application that ultimately improve protection of public
The scientific expertise of our national labs is well recognized and we are excited over
the prospect of having some of these capabilities focused upon developing new, energy
efficient water treatment technologies. The purpose of my testimony today is to better
acquaint the Committee with what we consider the other crucial aspect of this enterprise
to ensure that these new technologies are applicable to, and implementable by water
agencies. Less than two weeks ago, AwwaRF, as part of the Arsenic Water Technology
Partnership was privileged to participate in an arsenic workshop in Albuquerque attended
by you, Mr. Chairman. The topic of concern was the pending EPA arsenic regulation and
how utilities, particularly smaller ones, are going to meet the new federal standards.
There were dozens of representatives from New Mexico water agencies at the workshop
and it was obvious how much these agencies are in need of affordable technologies which
will enable them to comply with the EPA mandated arsenic standards. Their concern
reminded us of how crucial it is that the knowledge that will be produced by S. 1860 be
applicable and usable at the local level and with all sizes of utilities to solve water supply
problems. But based upon my experience both with my own water agency and with the
larger water supply community, there is often a wide gap between what seems to work in
a laboratory and what does indeed work at a water treatment facility and also what will be
approved for use by state and federal regulatory agencies.
S. 1860 challenges three of our national laboratories to identify groundbreaking new
approaches to water treatment with particular emphasis on desalination technologies. I
believe they will be successful in this endeavor. But it is also essential that the research
expertise of the water community, as embodied by organizations such as AwwaRF, be a
partner in this research. I am not referring here to technology transfer activities, but
rather how S. 1860 can create the framework for a true and dynamic working research
partnership between the national labs and the water community. This ensures that cutting
edge next generation technologies developed by the national laboratories also have the
concurrent benefit of the practical research expertise offered by AwwaRF. With more
than a third of a billion dollars in either completed or ongoing research backed by
hundreds of researchers and thousands of project advisory volunteers, AwwaRF offers
this capability to the S. 1860 process at the outset of this journey. As a long-standing
and familiar supporter of good and useful water research, I cannot over-emphasize how
much the early and direct involvement by utilities during technology research and
development dramatically increases the likelihood of adoption and implementation of the
new technologies by the water supply community. In addition, such collaboration
expedites the application of research results in the field.
AwwaRF has pioneered the transfer of membrane technology from other industries into
the water supply sector. Membranes hold the promise of drastically reducing the cost of
utilities in meeting EPA’s Surface Water Treatment Rule and are the backbone of
desalination efforts in turning brackish waters into pure drinking water. AwwaRF
research proved the efficacy of UV light to inactivate Cryptosporidium, which is a much
more cost effective technology and will likely save water and wastewater utilities
hundreds of million of dollars. When perchlorate threatened several California water
supplies, AwwaRF research developed practical removal methods using available
technology to save millions of dollars and provide safe water to affected communities.
In addition to AwwaRF’s ground breaking research expertise and management
capabilities, we offer the financial support of our more than 900 subscribing water
agencies. Their annual investment in the research subscription program allows us to offer
a local leverage for federal funds. Since 1983, AwwaRF has provided a nearly seven to
one match for EPA and DOE funding which it has received from the Congress. The
goals embodied in S.1860 are so important to water agencies throughout the United
States and the world that AwwaRF would be willing to provide a substantial cash and inkind
match along with our research management expertise in support of the initiatives
addressed in S. 1860. We believe that in these times of federal deficits the best way to
address the national priorities outlined in this legislation is to create a federal-local
research partnership which includes investment from all levels of government. AwwaRF
stands ready with both its research expertise and a portion of its utility generated income
in support of the goals of your legislation.
AwwaRF is also aware that the Committee is considering S.1016 today and that this
legislation provides for incentive payment to owners of qualified desalination facilities to
partially offset the cost of electrical energy required to operate their facilities. S. 1016
calls attention to a large and growing concern among water utilities which is how to pay
for the cost of electricity associated with water treatment. The development of innovative
technologies under discussion today at this hearing will require ever growing amounts of
electrical power which will grow increasingly expensive in the future. Funding
partnerships between water agencies and the federal government, as proposed by S. 1016,
are one option for addressing this challenge. AwwaRF has long been involved with the
research aspects associated with the cost of electricity, including $6M invested in 18
projects and research partnerships with interested parties such as the California Energy
Commission. Paying for the energy costs associated with water treatment is a major
concern and priority throughout the water supply community and we appreciate the fact
that the Committee is addressing this issue in its hearings today.
In closing, we wish to once again express our appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman and the
Committee for holding this hearing and for the introduction of S. 1860. We hope that this
testimony has provided the Committee with some food for thought with regard to the
need to drive the research strategy to its ultimate application at a utility level and also
consider the readily available venue offered by AwwaRF to further leverage the costsharing
potential with water utilities in support of the goals of S. 1860. The challenges
and the vision embodied in this legislation are as important to the water community as
those of a century ago when drinking water disinfection rapidly became the norm and
saved countless lives. The resulting public good was crucial for our national wellbeing in
the 20th century. We believe that S. 1860 is a true bridge to helping us meet the
challenges of the 21st century in providing adequate water supplies and energy to the
nation and we thank you for the opportunity to present our thoughts.