Water and energy are inextricably linked. Water is required by nearly all-living
organisms as well many modern industrial processes including the generation of energy. Energy is used to treat and transport water and water is produced from hydrogen and fossil fuel reactions as well as used for cooling for thermoelectric power generation. In this way, energy contains embedded water and water contains embedded energy.
This primary goal of this dissertation is to answer the questions: Can water embedded in energy be recovered?; and, Is the water of high quality and of considerable quantity? This dissertation investigates the quality and quantity of water produced from fuel cells, internal combustion engines (ICE), and cooling towers. The quality of the recovered water is analyzed and compared to the standards established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Water is collected from a lab scale (10 W) PEM fuel cell, a commercial alternative power unit (1 kW) PEM fuel cell, and a commercial scale (250 kW) molten carbonate fuel cell. The results indicate that water produced by PEM fuel cells is good quality according to the EPA standards and WHO guidelines for drinking water, although some treatment to reduce nickel and aluminum content is needed. Collection efficiency up to 70% was obtained from the lab scale PEM fuel cell. While the commercial unit PEM fuel cell produced in average 0.036 L/kWh which is about 21% of a typical house requirement. Water produced by the MCFC does not comply with the drinking water standards recommended by EPA and WHO due to nitrite, nickel, and manganese concentrations.
Water from exhaust of a hydrogen, a natural gas, and two gasoline ICEs was also recovered and analyzed. The trace organic analysis data on the water collected from one of the gasoline engines suggests that water require extensive treatment to remove some of the potentially harmful organic constituents.
Additionally water samples from two different wet cooling towers have been collected and analyzed. The water samples obtained from the saturated air exiting cooling towers suggest that this water is good quality.