Monday, 15 November 2010

Green technology - water

Water-saving solutions:
* A system for using cooling water of lower quality. Info here.
* The dry toilet & compost loos.
* Rainwater harvesting (alternative source) &
* Greywater systems (reuse)
* Desalination – solar desalination.

Green tech

Principle: Sustainability.
PPP – polluter pays principle
How? The law – legal instruments
Litigation – legal processes (in a court of law).
RRR – reduce, reuse, recycle
Increasing efficiency is green
Cradle to the grave analysis. Closed loop recycling.
Impact, footprint

At least one in five of the companies using the largest amounts of water in the world is already experiencing damage to their business from drought and other shortages, flooding, and rising prices.
The wide scope of commercial problems posed by growing pressure on global water supplies and changing weather patterns is revealed by a survey of the 302 biggest companies in the most water-intensive sectors, across 25 countries.
The study was commissioned by the increasingly influential Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which conducts an annual study of what companies are doing to measure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of investors holding US$16trillion (£9.9tr) of assets.
About half the companies responded to the water survey, of whom 39% said they were already experiencing "detrimental impacts". In answer to a separate question, about half said the risks to their businesses were "current or near term" - in the next one to five years - a sample likely to have significant crossover with those already reporting problems.
Companies most at risk are in the food and drink, tobacco, and metals and mining sectors, says the first CDP Water Disclosure report. Other concerns listed were fines and litigation for pollution.
Marcus Norton, who headed the report, said companies that replied to the survey were more likely to have taken action to address water issues affecting their business, but he was still "impressed" by the replies: 96% were aware of potential problems, and two-thirds have somebody responsible for water issues at board or executive committee level.
Of the companies which did not reply, not all would be ignoring the problems, but Norton hoped in following years more companies would show they take the issue "seriously".
"I don't think this is an issue of the price of water increasing even 10-fold, which I think in many cases it will," he added. "For me it's about building resilience to and avoiding catastrophic damage from water scarcity and physical risks. If you run out of water you can't operate. We have seen floods in China and Pakistan cause hundreds of billions of dollars of damage."
Companies that ignore water dangers "pose a risk to investments", said Anne Kvam, head of corporate governance of Norges Bank Investment Management, a lead sponsor of the report.
The report, written by London-based consultancy Environmental Resource Management, names six companies showing "best practice" as mining giant Anglo American, consumer group Colgate-Palmolive, auto maker Ford, US utility PG&E, and engineers GE and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. This was not intended to suggest the named corporations were the top six, only that subjectively they were "good examples", said Norton.
A major report, Charting Our Water Future, commissioned by Nestlé and brewer SAB Miller among others last year, calculated by 2030 global water demand would outstrip supply by 40%, with shortages in some parts of the world much more severe than others, but also claimed existing management and technology could cut water use and boost supply enough to close the gap.
Nestlé chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, previously warned water is a greater threat than climate change, and called for significant rises in water prices to pressure big users to be more efficient.

Identify the problems.
More? We must make more!!! More, more, more. Really?
We are using too much water and fossil fuels.
Climate change impacts – droughts & floods.
Water resources.
Limits to growth.

Solutions: Less resources for the goods and services we use and using renewable sources of supply.
Nuclear power, fusion reactors? No.
Norwegian energy exports (hydropower).
HVDC and smart grids. Osmosis energy.

Reduce, reuse, recycle..but if you cannot…
Desalination (seawater to fresh water):
Reverse osmosis
Solar desalination
Cradle to the grave analysis. Closed loop recycling.
Where do we use water?
Domestic sector, water-saving systems. Grey water recycling.
Toilets – dry toilets
Compost toilets.
Urine - water, urea – full of nitrates – a fertiliser.
Faeces. The breaks down to form compost.
The trick is not to mix the two!
Hygiene is important here!
WC water closet.

Film by McKinsey


  1. Green tech solutions
    Substitutes for oil and energy.
    Vehicles – diesel, gasoline & biofuels.
    The footprints of the above are around the same at 0.8 Ha, while electric vehicles lie at 0.4 Ha and renewable energy is lower 0.3 Ha.
    MARS turbine
    global deployment, lower costs, better operational performance, and greater environmental advantages.
    Promotion (includes education):
    Political approaches. Lobbying
    Legal instruments. Carbon trading.
    Off shore wind.
    Sea snake – wave energy
    Tidal energy – expensive, but a small part of the solution.
    Rainwater harvesting reduces the need for tap water.
    Water storage in reservoirs. Hydropower yes, but small scale.
    Greywater systems. Toilets, washing machines, irrigation (crop per drop reduction).
    Biodegradable soap into fertiliser.
    The dry toilet
    This is not taking the piss - making a mockery.
    Water recycling systems
    Water treatment systems such as sewerage treatment, especially small scale pond systems.
    Create more fresh water from seawater
    Desalination systems use energy, but solar desalination.

  2. A great summary that is broad, deep, and concise...Thank you!

  3. I would like to use this CDP report blog as our favorite blog of the week ( a new feature inspired by this piece)...are you okay with that?

    Also let me know if you would like to have a complimentary 3 month look at our "AquaNexus Daily Briefing"