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|Title: ||The water use of the UK electricity sector and its vulnerability to drought|
|Authors: ||Byers, Edward Anthony|
|Issue Date: ||2015 |
|Publisher: ||Newcastle University|
|Abstract: ||The majority (80%) of global electricity generation comes from thermal power stations,
most of which use large volumes of water for cooling. Population growth and climate
change are likely to increase water scarcity, whilst many countries are exploring
pathways to low-carbon electricity systems. Thermal power stations, both with and
without carbon capture and storage (CCS), are likely to continue using water for cooling
where possible for the foreseeable future.
This thesis investigates the dependency on water for cooling of multiple low-carbon
pathways for the UK put forward by Government and academia. An analytical
framework that combines generation technologies, cooling systems and sources, water
use factors and regional water availability is applied at national and regional scales.
Whilst most decarbonisation pathways reduce freshwater use for a variety of reasons,
high levels of CCS are likely to increase freshwater demands due to the increased water
intensity of CCS generation. Furthermore, higher demands will be locally concentrated,
given Government’s strategy to cluster CCS facilities.
Subsequently, UKCP09 Weather Generator climate timeseries and a hydrological model
of the River Trent are used to simulate the effects of hydroclimatic variability on
licensed water availability. The impacts are tested on a CCS cluster operating with
different cooling systems and under two Government-proposed abstraction regimes.
Capacity availability is impacted by low flows, but this can be mitigated through
increased use of hybrid cooling and prioritisation of more water-efficient capacity.
Other innovative solutions may reduce freshwater dependency, however these are not
facilitated by the current policy and regulatory arrangements. In some cases, reducing
water use and carbon emissions are in direct conflict. To ensure both energy and water
security, this thesis proposes strategies that take into account the planning of CCS
clusters, increasing competition for and scarcity of water, and the already challenging
economics of CCS.|
|Description: ||PhD Thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences|
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