Inicio  /  Water  /  Vol: 16 Par: 3 (2024)  /  Artículo

Economy of Scale of Energy Intensity in Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

Alyson H. Rapp    
Robert B. Sowby and Gustavious Williams    


More water utilities are adopting aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) to balance long-term water supply and demand. Due to large implementation and operation costs, ASR projects need to be optimized, particularly for energy use, which is a major operating expense. This study examines the relationships among energy use, recharge, and recovery at two ASR projects in the western United States. The major finding is an economy of scale for recovery processes, but not for gravity-fed recharge processes. The economy of scale found is as follows: the energy intensity recovered decreases with volume. This suggests it is more energy-efficient to recover large volumes of water in one interval instead of recovering smaller volumes at more frequent intervals. The H2Oaks recovery process experienced a 78% decrease in energy intensity from 0 to 50,000 m3 recovered, while the Sand Hollow site experienced a 43% decrease in energy intensity from 0 to 50,000 m3 recovered. Statistical analyses of the recovery process showed p values lower than 0.0001, R2 values between 0.43 and 0.57, and a RMSE value between 0.55 and 2.1, indicating the presence of a moderate correlation between energy and volume. This economy of scale has been observed in multiple instances in water and wastewater treatment. This finding not only has applications to ASR but also to all recovery or recharge wells, whether or not they are paired with each other. Furthermore, this study confirms the need for more reliable and accessible energy data to fully understand the implications of the energy?water nexus.

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