In recent decades, the rate at which demand for water has grown has outstripped population growth by more than double.
Demand for water will continue to rise over the next 25 years, with water withdrawals to meet municipal demand rising to 16% in 2040.
By 2040, almost 20% of countries are anticipated to experience high water stress.
The water sector is currently responsible for around 4% of global electricity consumption – around the same consumption as the whole of Russia.
Electricity use by the water sector varies regionally. China’s consumes the most (roughly one fifth of electricity consumption is used for water process), with the United States in close second.
Although only 30% of water withdrawals for industrial and municipal purposes occur in OECD countries, these countries are responsible for about 60% of global electricity consumption for water.
The technologies to reduce energy consumption in all stages of the water cycle – from production and distribution to wastewater pumping and treatment – already exist. Not only can the water cycle be made more efficient, it has the potential to actually generate energy. And as part of optimizing the energy consumption in the water distribution system, the water leakage will be automatically reduced.
A game-changer approach: turning a city’s largest energy consumer into an energy producer.
The Marselisborg catchment area in Aarhus (second municipality in Denmark) has achieved 100% energy surplus production - by minimizing consumption throughout the whole water cycle and maximizing energy production from the wastewater facility. This has been achieved without adding external carbon to the wastewater facility or use of any other external energy source.
According to the World Energy Outlook, more than 50% of the electricity consumed worldwide goes into electric motor systems, with almost 30% of that consumed by industrial systems.
Globally, total demand for energy services from industrial motors is expected to double by 2040, with around half of this increase coming from China and India.
Installing a Variable Speed Drive can increase motor system efficiency by 15-35% in a standard motor system with variable load.
The average payback rarely exceeds three to four years, making such investment a highly cost-effective efficiency measure.
Electric motor systems can on average consume up to 40% less energy by pursuing a co-ordinated suite of policy measures, including stricter regulation of motor systems, much larger uptake of variable speed drives and, importantly, other system-wide efficiency measures. These actions will potentially save 8% of total global electricity consumption by 2040.
With cities representing three quarters of energy consumption and 80% of CO2 emissions worldwide, looking at water as a resource – and not waste, is of paramount importance.
The water cycle can be integrated into smart energy systems – that connect electricity, heating, cooling, with water & wastewater treatment, and provide for high flexibility to balance power with energy consumption. Driven by digitalization, wastewater treatment plants, such as the one in Aarhus, can drive energy efficiency and generate cost-effective renewable energy to help cities worldwide achieve their zero- carbon goals.
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