The water-energy nexus: quantifying the impact of water availability on future UK thermal power generation

Murrant, Daniel (2017). The water-energy nexus: quantifying the impact of water availability on future UK thermal power generation. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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A future lack of available water may compromise the UK’s current energy policy to meet an increasing demand for electricity with more thermal generation. This research asks what impact a lack of available water will have on UK thermal generation by 2050 and aims to quantify this impact in terms of cost, generation technology, and cooling method. The UK’s future national water demand for nine electricity generation pathways was modelled. The regional water demand of one pathway; the Energy Technologies Institute’s ESME.MC pathway was then modelled. This identified how technology and cooling method combinations drive demand and regionally, where the increase in water demand is likely to be greatest. The ESME.MC pathway was modified to allow the cost and technology implications of a lack of water to be modelled. This research found that relying on freshwater alone will constrain the contribution of thermal generation by 2050 and increase the annual cost of the UK energy system by £12.5bn. Using sea and estuarine water is a feasible mitigation option but will result in environmental trade-offs. It is recommended that when considering these trade-offs the societal and economic benefits of a cost competitive electricity generation system is given due weight.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)


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