The most effective technologies addressing the water-energy crisis are based on reduction, recycling, and recovery, and zero-water/zero-energy, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan. Six types of technology that contribute to solving the problem have been identified in a new report, Technology Convergence Resolving Water-Energy Challenges: renewables-based desalination; wastewater treatment and recovery; hydraulic fracturing; thermal power; water efficiency; and energy efficiency.
Renewables-based desalination has the most impact on the water-energy industry and the widest scope for adoption, as it relies on renewable energy for desalinated water generation and negates dependence on fossil fuel or water intensive energy. It has particular potential in critical regions such as the US, Middle East and China, according to the report. However, there is room for improvement of water-independent renewable energy technologies like solar photovoltaic and wind power; these will likely see widespread adoption in the long-term. Alternatively, heat pumps and water efficiency technologies are likely to witness higher uptake in the near future.
The report also identifies major factors aggravating the water-energy crisis beyond the control of stakeholders. These include climate change, population growth, lifestyle changes, increased shale gas explorations, biofuels production, hydraulic fracturing, and water trade.