Mar 24, 2021

DOE Awards $27.5 Million to 16 Teams to Help Decarbonize U.S. Water Infrastructure

Projects in 13 states aim to reduce carbon emissions and costs in water systems and improve water quality

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced awards totaling $27.5 million for 16 water infrastructure projects. 

According to DOE, these projects which will operate in 13 states, have the potential to reduce carbon emissions and water treatment costs while improving water quality and equity of distribution. 

Each team is tasked with bringing new water and wastewater treatment technologies from research and development stages to commercial readiness, according to DOE.

“We can’t leave any stones unturned on the road to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which is why DOE is diving into making our water infrastructure more energy efficient” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in the DOE news release. “By modernizing our water infrastructure, we can reduce electricity demand and turn water utilities into clean energy producers. The next-generation innovations DOE is investing in will also lower costs while increasing access to clean water for Americans, and drive us toward a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.”


According to DOE, with the right technology, it is possible to convert wastewater into renewable power along with chemicals, fertilizers, and reusable water.

The 16 projects selected will be led by teams from universities, water utilities, manufacturers, national laboratories, and small and minority-owned businesses. These projects aim to help provide sustainable water sources and affordable treatment options to industry, municipalities, agriculture, utilities, and the oil and gas sector. 

The projects are based out of: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Virginia.

According to DOE, there are several objectives including:

  • Developing widely applicable treatment processes to produce renewable power, extract chemicals and fertilizers, and reuse water locally, while simultaneously minimizing energy consumption and waste generation
  • Evaluating flexible grid service for opportunities to generate biopower from wastewater
  • Deploying artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive process controls to improve resilience and efficiency
  • Addressing environmental justice and social inequities produced by lack of access to clean water among rural and Native communities
  • Improving wastewater-treatment options for agriculture and livestock

A complete list of the selected projects is available here.

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