Social Media Sidebar

Announcement

Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'

 

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Biofuels may put unsustainable demands on water use

RATE THIS! +10
Posted in Science on 28th May, 2015 11:09 PM by AlexMuller

As the world moves towards renewable energy, it faces a challenge: water scarcity. The intensive water use in the coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries is well documented, but if we want to encourage a faster transition to renewables we must also contemplate the water use of the alternatives.

 
It is a great challenge to limit the drain on land and water resources now the transition has taken off. Bioenergy, hydropower, and wind, solar and geothermal energy all require substantial amounts of land and water resources. Given limitations to the availability of land and water, what energy scenarios are feasible in the long run?
 
With fossil fuels we have learned to worry about energy scarcity as a major concern for economic development and national security. In contrast, renewable energy seems inexhaustible: incoming solar radiation, for example, is far beyond what we need. The fact that renewable energy is available into infinity reinforces this idea of limitlessness. This, however, is a misunderstanding: we will replace energy scarcity by land and water scarcity.
 
Biofuels
 
Bioenergy production in particular requires vast amounts of land and water. Besides, with current energy-intensive agricultural practices, net energy output is far lower than gross energy production, sometimes even near zero. If only 10% of fossil fuels in the global transport sector were replaced by bioethanol from relatively efficient crops, global water demand would increase by 6-7%.
 
Hydropower
 
Hydropower, accounting for 16% of the world’s electricity supply, is regarded as a clean form of energy. However, we cannot simply increase hydroelectric capacity. Dams can heavily impact on ecosystems and societies, and any further damming of rivers should be subject to careful consideration.
 
Solar, wind and geothermal energy
 
Per unit of energy, the water footprint of bioenergy and hydroelectricity is two to three orders of magnitude larger than that of fossil fuels and nuclear. The water footprint of photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy is one to two orders of magnitude smaller.
 
Electricity from concentrated solar power has a similar water footprint to fossil fuels, while geothermal can be an order of magnitude smaller or even less. From a water consumption and scarcity perspective, it matters greatly whether we shift from fossil energy to bio and hydro or to solar, wind and geothermal energy.

Tags: waterenergyresourcesclean energypowerrenewable energy

Read original article » Back to category

Comments



 

Recent headlines

  • Posted in Hardware on 2017-03-23 21:29:30
    A brain-computer interface for controlling VR with your mind..read more
    Posted in Business on 2017-03-23 21:17:44
    One Powerful Way the U.S. Could Boost Solar Adoption..read more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-03-23 21:12:51
    Old blood can be made young again and it might fight aging..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-03-22 07:41:30
    'Smallsats' open up new planetary frontier..read more
    Posted in Science on 2017-03-22 07:36:45
    Trump signs NASA funding bill, sets goal of human on Mars..read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 Downloads..read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into new.....read more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs,.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for commercial.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short Sighted..read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, but.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in about.....read more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target mitochondria..read more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Intensive medical treatment can reverse type 2 diabetes..read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from cognitive.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts whether.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Unproven stem cell 'therapy' blinds three patients at Florida.....read more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Indigenous South American group has healthiest arteries of all.....read more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Username:
Password:
Remember me
or

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Username:
Email:
Password:
Verify password:
Remember me