Carnegie Mellon University

Power plant

August 27, 2018

How Reducing CO2 Benefits Water Use

By Adam Dove

Power plants provide homes and businesses with electricity on a daily basis. But plants also consume a daily essential: Water. In fact, the US electrical power industry uses nearly half of all water in the country. Power plants use water for cooling and creating steam to turn turbines, which then generate electricity. But during droughts and water shortages, these plants can put a strain on the entire water system.

In their paper, “Assessing carbon pollution standards: Electric power generation pathways and their water impacts,” published in Energy Policy, EPP Professors Haibo Zhai and Ed Rubin, together with colleagues from Singapore Management University, have researched this conflict and come away with an insight: Governmental mandates to decrease CO2 emissions could also reduce water use in the power industry.

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