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Water and Energy

Water is needed for energy production. Correspondingly, energy is crucial for the provision and supply of water. Our reseachers are exploring this interrelationship with an aim toward sustainable development of current and new energy sources as well as strategies for more efficient water use. Our funded researchers also address shale gas development and the implications it poses in Ohio regarding water, energy, and land. Furthermore, acid-mine drainage is still affecting many Ohio's streams and affordable mitigation solutions are under investigation by Ohio WRC researchers at multiple locations.

CURRENT PROJECTS

“Landscape Fragmentation and Water Yield and Unconventional Shale Oil and Gas Development in Ohio”

    Dr. Elizabeth Toman & Dr. Kaiguang Zhao, Ohio State University

“Addressing the Water-Energy Nexus of Fossil Power Generation by Considering Technological, Agro-Ecological, and Economic Options in the Muskingum Watershed”

    Dr. Bhavik Bakshi, Brent Sohngen & Khanal Sami, Ohio State University

RECENT PAST PROJECTS & IMPACTS

“Baseline Measurements of Methane Emissions for Piedmond Lake - Current and Future Fracking Area”

    Dr. Gil Bohrer, Ohio State University  Dr. Bohrer's students setting up meteorological station near fracking site to measure baseline methane emissions

A large uncertainty surrounds both the quantity and mechanisms of natural methane emissions from lakes and wetlands, and fugitive methane emissions during hydrofracking. Therefore, there is a strong need for baseline observations of the natural emissions, which will be used to distinguish those from additional emissions, if present, related to fracking. Our preliminary results showed that the grass field produces no methane, although some very low rate of methane oxidation occur in the soil. As expected, some methane emission occurred from the river.

“Co-Optimizing Enhanced Water Recovery and CO2 Sequestration”

    Dr. Jeffrey Bielicki, Ohio State University

Research indicated that the high brine extraction rate pulled CO2 through the reservoir at a faster rate because CO2 could travel with less restriction in empty pore space. This suggested that the brine extraction rate had a greater impact on the lifetime of the CO2-EWR system compared to the CO2 injection rate and reservoir storage. When these results were combined with overpressure modelling of the reservoir, we concluded that the optimal brine extraction rate will be balanced between opening pore space and decreasing the time before CO2 breakthrough at the extraction well.

“Improved Estimates of Peak Water Demand in Buildings: Implications for Water-Energy Savings”

    Dr. Steven Buchberger, University of Cinncinati

The overriding importance of this project is the verification that reduced pipe sizes provide safe, sustainable and efficient premise plumbing to complement water conservation and promote energy savings in modern buildings. It is expected that results from the new approach of estimating peak water demand will lead to significant water and energy savings without loss of performance in the water delivery system.