Consumptive Water Use in Liquid Fuel Production: Select Analyses



Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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The production of energy feedstocks and fuels requires substantial water input. Not only do biofuel feedstocks like corn, switchgrass and agricultural residues need water for growth and conversion to ethanol, but petroleum feedstocks like crude oil and oil sands also require large volumes of water for drilling, extraction and conversion into petroleum products. Moreover, in many cases, crude oil production is increasingly water dependent. Competing uses strain available water resources and raise the specter of resource depletion and environmental degradation. Water management has become a key feature of existing projects and a potential issue in new ones.

This book examines the growing issue of water use in energy production by characterizing current consumptive water use in liquid fuel production. As used throughout this book, “œconsumptive water use” is the sum total of water input less water output that is recycled and reused for the process. The estimate applies to surface and groundwater sources for irrigation, but does not include precipitation. Water requirements are evaluated for five fuel pathways: bioethanol from corn, ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks, gasoline from Canadian oil sands, Saudi Arabian crude and U.S. conventional crude from onshore wells. Regional variations and historic trends are noted, as are opportunities to reduce water use. (Imprint: Nova)


Consumptive Water Use in the Production of Ethanol and Petroleum Gasoline — 2011 Update
(May Wu, Yiwen Chen, Energy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory)

Energy-Water Nexus: Many Uncertainties Remain about National and Regional Effects of Increased Biofuel Production on Water Resources


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