SEMINAR: Water Conservation in the U.S. Manufacturing Sector
Inadequate water supplies are a growing concern in the U.S., but its impact on the nation’s manufacturing sector is largely unstudied. Further, few resources, best practices, or technologies are available for manufacturers seeking to substantially conserve and manage their water use. Commonly advocated strategies for conserving water in other sectors, like the installation of low water use fixtures or irrigation controls, are unlikely to significantly impact water use in the manufacturing sector due to its diversity and water use characteristics. Transplanted energy efficiency solutions may not yield water savings either because the drivers, economics, and use characteristics of the two resources are not the same. This seminar will examine challenges to efforts aimed at increasing the uptake of water conservation strategies in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Through interviews with several major U.S. manufacturers, some of these challenges are examined. A lack of data on water use characteristics, including quantities by sector, geographic distribution, and consumptive use, is one significant challenge. It severely limits the ability to drive and estimate impacts from water conservation efforts or conduct research and development in the sector. A method for estimating these water use characteristics was developed and the results presented here. These results are the first known estimates of their kind. Next steps for refining these estimates and using them to evaluate water conservation strategies and the water-energy nexus within the manufacturing sector will be presented.
Energy/Environmental Policy Research Scientist/Engineer, Industrial Applications, Building & Industrial Applications Department, Building Technology & Urban Systems Division
Dr. Prakash Rao is a Research Scientist within the Buildings and Industrial Applications Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Dr. Rao conducts research and analysis into the potential for reducing the energy consumption and water use impacts of the US manufacturing sector while maintaining its productivity. Dr. Rao also conducts analysis of large-scale desalination, focusing on its energy implications and reduction opportunities. Dr. Rao received his doctorate in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Rutgers University and his bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.