A Streamlined Energy Efficiency Indicator for Water Distribution Systems

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Snider, Brett
Energy Efficiency , Water Distribution System , Water , Performance Indicator
The conveyance of water through centralized water distribution systems is energy intensive. With growing urban populations and deteriorating buried infrastructure, these costs are expected to increase. Energy indicators can offer insight into the amount of energy one could theoretically save, provide a method for tracking and evaluating energy improvements over time, allow for comparison between utilities, and inform goal setting. In this thesis, a novel energy indicator was developed and validated that resolved problems with existing mechanical energy indicators for water distribution systems. The previous indicators developed for water distribution systems do not provide a detailed method to estimate unavoidable energy losses due to friction and leakage, and do not consider demand-side conservation in the overall unavoidable energy loss estimation. This thesis presents three original ideas in creating an energy indicator that better describes the mechanical energy efficiency of water distribution systems. These include: 1) incorporating demand-side conservation plans in the calculation for minimum energy delivered to end users, 2) developing a detailed methodology to calculate the minimum energy lost due to leakage, and 3) creating a uniform method that estimates minimum energy loss due to friction. By combining these three ideas, this thesis developed a new streamlined mechanical energy efficiency indicator that can be calculated without the need for a hydraulic model. In order to validate this streamlined approach, the energy indicator was evaluated using a hydraulic model and extended period simulation for a variety of synthetic and real water distribution system models. Results suggested that the streamlined approach provides an accurate characterization of the overall mechanical energy efficiency of a water distribution system. The first step to decreasing the energy use of a water distribution system is to assess its mechanical energy efficiency. The streamlined energy efficiency indicator developed in this thesis improves on previous indicators by developing a well-defined methodology in order to calculate all major unavoidable energy losses for a water distribution system. This leads to a more accurate energy efficiency indicator that facilitates comparison across different water utilities, promoting benchmarking and goal setting.
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