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Water Use Efficiency of Our Energy Sources

Here is a heat rate conversions chart from the Energy Information Administration. For more information about water use, check out "The Intertwined Tale of Energy and Water".


LOW-END WATER USE  (gallons/millionBtu)  

HIGH-END WATER USE  (gallons/millionBtu)             

Natural Gas 3 N/A
Coal 41 164
Hydrogen 143 243
Liquid natural gas 145 N/A
Petroleum/Oil-electric sector 1,200 2,420
Fuel ethanol 2,510 29,100
Biodiesel 14,000 75,000
Hydroelectric 20 N/A
Geothermal 130 N/A
Solar Thermoelectric 230 270
Fossil Fuel Thermoelectric 1,100 2,200
Nuclear 2,400 5,800

Post a comment below.


L S_1
1/13/2009 2:25:04 PM
The chart cannot be used to gauge the water efficiency of natural gas as long as the space for high-end consumption has no data. In fact, as the easy-to-access gas has mostly been extracted and used up, natural gas production increasingly relies on the abuse of several million gallons of water per well to hydraulically fracture tight shales. This water is not only purposely contaminated with drilling and fracking chemicals but after use becomes a serious disposal issue. Both trucking the supply of water to the drill site and then trucking it away also require the consumption of fossil fuels, which - you guessed it - used and polluted water in their own production phase. Ultimately, I would not be at all surprised to find that in terms of water consumption, natural gas is the worst energy source, not the best.

Cliff Allen_1
8/4/2008 11:23:55 AM
Good articles.

8/4/2008 10:55:12 AM
Oops! "Chart at right" has vanished, which makes the text more opaque.

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