CO2 vs. H2O in Power Production

Plotting trade-offs from wind to coal

1 min read
CO2 vs. H2O in Power Production

water consumption chart

Source: “Global Energy: Unshackling Carbon From Water,” Lux Research, June 2009
Click on the image for the full illustration view.

It’s not enough to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from energy production, according to a 2009 report by market research firm Lux Research, in Boston. You have to worry about water too. The company plotted the carbon intensity (in kilograms per kilowatt-hour) and the water intensity (in liters per kilowatt-hour) of typical ”green” and ”dirty” sources of energy to illustrate how tightly bound carbon and water are. Fortunately, certain technologies could let us break the link.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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