The ‘Grand Challenge’: Plans to strengthen America’s water infrastructure

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February 07 2021 06:00 pm

WASHINGTON (WLNS) – A federal funding opportunity was announced on June 30th to improve the water and wastewater treatment infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is providing $20 million for innovations that “strengthen America’s water infrastructure and enable advanced water resource recovery systems that have the potential to be net energy positive.”

Over the next 10 years, 40 states expect water shortages in some areas, according to the DOE.

This funding opportunity is part of DOE’s Water Security Grand Challenge.

The Grand Challenge has set five goals for the United States to reach by 2030 including launching desalination technologies that deliver cost-competitive clean water, transforming the energy sector’s produced water from a waste to a resource, achieving near-zero water impact for new thermoelectric power plants, doubling resource recovery from municipal wastewater, and developing modular energy-water systems.

“DOE’s Water Security Grand Challenge established an ambitious goal to double resource recovery from water resource recovery facilities by 2030,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Daniel Simmons.

Wastewater treatment plants purchase about $2 billion of electricity each year and face more than $200 billion in future capital investment needs to meet water quality objectives, according to the Water Security Grand Challenge website.

“Ensuring reliable, reusable and sustainable water infrastructure is something this Administration is strongly focused on achieving,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes.

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