Water–Energy Nexus in the Era of Smart Water Revolution and Energy Transition

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water-Energy Nexus".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 5074

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Piazza Università 5, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Interests: hydroinformatics, water supply systems analysis; hydrological modeling; hydropower optimization; water–energy nexus
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Guest Editor
AIAQUA S.r.l, Via Volta 13/A, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Interests: deep learning; complex network; water supply systems analysis; hydroinformatics; hydropower optimisation; demand forecasting

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Guest Editor
Unit of Environmental Engineering, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Interests: digitalisation; hydroinformatic; modelling of urban water networks; resilience; smart water city; urban water management

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Guest Editor
Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Department, Federal University of Minas Gerais. Avenida Presidente Antonio Carlos 6467, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Interests: hydraulic modelling; data mining; complex network theory; hydropower generation
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Guest Editor Assistant
Department of Engineering, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Interests: water distribution systems; water consumption analysis; water consumption monitoring; water end-use disaggregation and classification; water consumption determinants; demand modelling

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Guest Editor Assistant
Department of Engineering, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Interests: water distribution system; water consumption charaterisation; steady and unsteady flow modelling of hydraulic systems; pressure transient; water hammer; pump as turbine; pressure reducing valve dynamic behaviour

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The water–energy nexus refers to the interrelationship and interdependence between water and energy systems and is currently of high relevance due to the elevated significance of water shortages and fossil fuel phase-out. The complex interconnectedness of these two critical resources in systems using energy to provide water and vice versa needs to be holistically investigated from the new perspective of the smart systems and the energy transition, aiming to ensure their sustainable use. The areas involved encompass the fields of water and energy, comprising, on one hand, freshwater collection, transmission, distribution, and supply, but including also, for instance, sewage treatment and desalinisation plants, and on the other side, hydropower plants, e.g. traditional dams, run-of-river power stations, and pumped storage stations. Therefore, the water–energy nexus is particularly relevant in the context of the global challenges facing this epoch, whether climate change, population growth, and increasing energy and water demand. As water and energy systems are becoming more strained, understanding the current and future evolving relationship is more crucial than ever for a sustainable future. For the above reasons, we are pleased to invite researchers working in all relevant areas to contribute in supporting the provision of new methodologies, innovative solutions, interesting applications, and real case studies.

This Special Issue aims to address the water–energy nexus at a time of great challenges in which climate change and supply security are driving the energy transition via with the implementation of smart grids, leading towards the development of more efficient, resilient, and sustainable solutions.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews advancing knowledge on the water–energy nexus are welcome. Research areas may include, but are not limited to, the following area:

  • Water–energy nexus investigation in smart systems;
  • Smart water and energy grids modelling and optimisation;
  • Water and energy demand characterisation and forecasting;
  • Optimal design and management of water distribution systems;
  • Optimal and sustainable hydroelectric production from micro to large plants;
  • Digital twin implementation and AI tools supporting digitalisation of the water sector;
  • Energy analysis of water treatment and drinking water production;
  • Machine learning applications for smart technologies and networks;
  • Resilience and interdependencies between water and energy infrastructures.

We look forward to receiving your contributions. 

Dr. Andrea Menapace
Dr. Ariele Zanfei
Dr. Martin Oberascher
Prof. Dr. Bruno Melo Brentan
Guest Editors

Dr. Filippo Mazzoni
Dr. Valentina Marsili
Guest Editor Assistants

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water–energy nexus
  • water smart grid
  • digital twins
  • energy transition
  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • machine learning
  • energy recovery
  • distribution systems optimisation
  • water demand forecasting

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

21 pages, 10109 KiB  
Article
Design of a Seawater Desalination System with Two-Stage Humidification and Dehumidification Desalination Driven by Wind and Solar Energy
by Kaijie Huang, Chengjun Qiu, Wenbin Xie, Wei Qu, Yuan Zhuang, Kaixuan Chen, Jiaqi Yan, Gao Huang, Chao Zhang and Jianfeng Hao
Water 2024, 16(4), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16040609 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 885
Abstract
The paper presents a wind–photovoltaic-thermal hybrid-driven two-stage humidification and dehumidification desalination system for remote island regions lacking access to electricity and freshwater resources. By conducting an analysis of the wind and solar energy resources at the experimental site, a suitable wind power station [...] Read more.
The paper presents a wind–photovoltaic-thermal hybrid-driven two-stage humidification and dehumidification desalination system for remote island regions lacking access to electricity and freshwater resources. By conducting an analysis of the wind and solar energy resources at the experimental site, a suitable wind power station and photovoltaic power station are constructed. The performance of the wind–solar complementary power generation system is then evaluated based on factors such as output power, seawater desalination load power, battery compensation output, system energy consumption, and water production costs. A variable step gradient disturbance method based on the power–duty ratio is proposed for tracking the maximum power point (MPPT) of wind power generation. The output power of the photovoltaic power generation system is optimized, employing a fuzzy logic control (FLC) method to track the MPPT of photovoltaic power generation. This approach effectively addresses the issues of slow speed and low accuracy encountered by traditional MPPT algorithms in tracking the maximum power point (MPP) of both photovoltaic and wind power generations. In order to ensure that the desalination system can operate stably under different weather conditions, eight working modes are designed, and a programmable logic controller (PLC) is used to control the system, which provides a guarantee for stable water production. Experimental results demonstrate that the system exhibits stable performance, achieving a maximum water output of 80.63 Kg/h and daily water yield is 751.32 Kg, the cost of desalination equipment is 1.4892 USD/t. Full article
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14 pages, 2280 KiB  
Article
Forecasting Urban Peak Water Demand Based on Climate Indices and Demographic Trends
by Anika Stelzl and Daniela Fuchs-Hanusch
Water 2024, 16(1), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16010127 - 29 Dec 2023
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Austria’s water utilities are facing new challenges due to advancing climate change. In recent years, changes in water demand have been observed. Water demand forecast models are required to assess these changes and react to them in a sustainable way. In this study, [...] Read more.
Austria’s water utilities are facing new challenges due to advancing climate change. In recent years, changes in water demand have been observed. Water demand forecast models are required to assess these changes and react to them in a sustainable way. In this study, an existing modeling approach was extended with new climate indices. The multiple linear regression model was applied to different study sites. The model was trained with a training dataset and validated with a test dataset. The performance of the model was assessed using common parameters, such as the mean absolute percentage error. In a further step, the modeling approach was applied to climate projections to estimate the change in water demand for three different representative concentration pathways (RCPs). The change in water demand due to population growth was then considered and combined with the change due to climate change. RCP2.6 shows an average 14% increase in water demand for the period 2051–2070, with climate change (average increase of 0.7%) playing a negligible role. For RCP4.5, an increase of 16% is predicted, while the highest increase of 19% is observed in RCP8.5. Population growth is responsible for most of the increase. Full article
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18 pages, 5654 KiB  
Article
Optimal Selection and Operation of Pumps as Turbines for Maximizing Energy Recovery
by Lucrezia Manservigi, Mauro Venturini, Enzo Losi and Giulia Anna Maria Castorino
Water 2023, 15(23), 4123; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15234123 - 28 Nov 2023
Viewed by 775
Abstract
A pump as turbine (PAT) can be a cost-effective and versatile solution to recover energy in several fields of application. However, its optimal exploitation requires a reliable and general methodology for selecting the optimal turbomachine. To this purpose, this paper presents and validates [...] Read more.
A pump as turbine (PAT) can be a cost-effective and versatile solution to recover energy in several fields of application. However, its optimal exploitation requires a reliable and general methodology for selecting the optimal turbomachine. To this purpose, this paper presents and validates a comprehensive methodology that identifies the best turbomachine (i.e., the one that maximizes the recovered energy) by considering two hydraulic sites and forty-five PATs. In both sites, the methodology correctly identifies the best PAT, which allows for the recovery of up to 45% of the available hydraulic energy. To further investigate PAT potential, an additional layout of installation, which comprises two PATs installed in parallel, is also considered. The operation of both PATs is optimally scheduled to maximize energy recovery. As a result, the energy recovered by the best pair of PATs is almost 50% of the available hydraulic energy. An in-depth analysis about PAT operation (i.e., operating range, causes of wasted energy, timeframe of operation and PAT efficiency) reveals that the installation of two PATs is actually recommended in just one of the two considered sites. Full article
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14 pages, 4237 KiB  
Article
Optimisation of Small Hydropower Units in Water Distribution Systems by Demand Forecasting
by Martin Oberascher, Lukas Schartner and Robert Sitzenfrei
Water 2023, 15(22), 3998; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223998 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 838
Abstract
The potential of water supply systems for renewable electrical energy production is frequently utilised by a small-scale hydropower unit (SHPU) that utilises the surplus water or pressure. However, fluctuating demand on an hourly and daily basis represents a significant challenge in operating such [...] Read more.
The potential of water supply systems for renewable electrical energy production is frequently utilised by a small-scale hydropower unit (SHPU) that utilises the surplus water or pressure. However, fluctuating demand on an hourly and daily basis represents a significant challenge in operating such devices. To address this issue, a control strategy based on demand forecast is implemented, adjusting the SHPU’s inflow based on current demand conditions. Thus, individual days are categorised into control categories with similar flow conditions, and control is optimised for each category using a simplified evolutionary optimisation technique. Coupled with demand forecasts, the SHPU controller evaluates on a daily basis which set of water levels to utilise for the next day to optimise energy production. This approach is implemented in an alpine municipality, and its economic feasibility is evaluated through a long-term simulation over 10 years. This approach resulted in an annual profit increase compared to the reference status based on well-informed expert knowledge. However, it is worth noting that the approach has limited suitability for further improvements within the case study. Nonetheless, SHPUs also contribute to improving water quality and, if the electrical energy generated is directly used to operate the water supply, enhance resilience to grid failures. Full article
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11 pages, 2832 KiB  
Article
The Water–Energy Nexus of Leakages in Water Distribution Systems
by Rui Gabriel Souza, Alan Barbosa and Gustavo Meirelles
Water 2023, 15(22), 3950; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15223950 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1054
Abstract
Leakages in water distribution systems (WDSs) profoundly affect their operations, elevating water production demand and treatment and pumping costs. Moreover, they strain the energy system by increasing power requirements at pumping stations. In regions heavily reliant on hydropower, such as Brazil, there is [...] Read more.
Leakages in water distribution systems (WDSs) profoundly affect their operations, elevating water production demand and treatment and pumping costs. Moreover, they strain the energy system by increasing power requirements at pumping stations. In regions heavily reliant on hydropower, such as Brazil, there is a nuanced implication: diminishing reservoir water levels due to increased WDS flow withdrawal. This not only immediately affects hydropower generation by reducing available head but, over time, may lead to interruptions in hydropower generation. This paper investigates the water–energy nexus, specifically focusing on WDS leakages in Brazil. It begins with an overview of the current situation and future outlook, considering evolving policies to enhance WDS efficiency and also the evaluation of different climate change scenarios. A more in-depth case study explores a reservoir utilized for both energy and water production. In this context, leakage management assumes critical importance, given the various water uses within the reservoir that impact the available energy and water resources. Overall, this study offers a comprehensive perspective on the water–energy nexus within WDSs, underscoring the critical importance of leakage control and its direct and indirect consequences, particularly on energy generation capacity, the environment, and the economy. Full article
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