"Water and Electricity Infrastructure Coordination for Affordable, Decarbonized, & Resilient Water Supply" by Meagan Mauter

Meagan Mauter

Meeting the water needs of the 21st century will require water systems to rapidly diversify supply (diversification), augment centralized infrastructure with distributed systems (decentralization), enlarge storage capacity to decouple supply and demand (decoupling), improve water use efficiency (demand softening), automate system operation (digitization), and minimize carbon emissions (decarbonization). This 6D evolution mirrors a similarly dramatic transformation in the electricity sector from centralized generation driven by fossil fuel technologies to decentralized generation by renewable energy technologies. This talk will begin by describing the use of process systems engineering models to assess the impact of innovation and prioritize R&D investments critical to realizing affordable, decarbonized, and resilient 6D water systems. A 6D transformation of the water system also introduces new opportunities for synergistic operation of water and electricity infrastructure. The second part of this talk will highlight progress toward a computational framework for coordinating water and electricity infrastructure across the entire water supply chain and applying this framework to support multi-objective water and energy system management. Examples include quantifying the magnitude of electricity load shifting and reduction potential in water supply systems; assessing the financial, carbon, and resiliency benefits of operational changes or infrastructure upgrades; and limiting the water quality or emergency response implications of the proposed interventions.


Professor Meagan Mauter is appointed as an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and as a Center Fellow, by courtesy, in the Woods Institute for the Environment. She directs the Water and Energy Efficiency for the Environment Lab (WE3Lab) with the mission of providing sustainable water supply in a carbon-constrained world through innovation in water treatment technology, optimization of water management practices, and redesign of water policies. Ongoing research efforts include: 1) developing automated, precise, robust, intensified, modular, and electrified (A-PRIME) water desalination technologies to support a circular water economy, 2) identifying synergies and addressing barriers to coordinated operation of decarbonized water and energy systems, and 3) supporting the design and enforcement of water-energy policies.

Professor Mauter also serves as the research director for the National Alliance for Water Innovation, a $110-million DOE Energy-Water Desalination Hub addressing water security issues in the United States. The Hub targets early-stage research and development of energy-efficient and cost-competitive technologies for desalinating non-traditional source waters.

Professor Mauter holds bachelors degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering and History from Rice University, a Masters of Environmental Engineering from Rice University, and a PhD in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from Yale University. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford, she served as an Energy Technology Innovation Policy Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and as an Associate Professor of Engineering & Public Policy, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.


Seminar sponsored by the Environmental Change Initiative