ASES Clean Energy and Water Division: Newsletter May 2012

Greetings from the ASES Clean Energy and Water Division (CEWD)! As an ASES Division, the CEWD promotes the use of clean, renewable energy for supplying clean water for drinking, agriculture and other beneficial uses:  membership/technical-divisions/

The CEW leadership:

  • Veera Gude: Chair and BOD representative (, Ph. 662.325.0345)
  • Daniel Simon: Vice-chair/Secretary/Treasurer (, Ph. 773.271.9120)
  • Paulette Middleton: ASES Board Liaison
  • Nate Mitten: Immediate Past-Chair
  • Tom Cowing: Newsletter Editor (, Ph. 303.877.6317)

In the last year, Dr. Veera Gude and Daniel Simon have joined the CEWD Board of Directors. Many thanks to Nate Mitten, Mike Dray, Brian Vick and Steve Sargent for their years of service on the CEWD Board!

Also, the position of Secretary/Treasurer is currently open and being covered by Daniel. This is potentially another means by which you can actively participate in your Division’s activities! Creating  separate Secretary and Treasurer positions are also under consideration and will be on the agenda at our annual Division meeting.  

 World Renewable Energy Forum (WREF) 2012

The CEWD is preparing to host a forum at the upcoming World Renewable Energy Forum to be held from May 13-17 in Denver, Colorado conference. Our forum is titled “Energy – Water Nexus: An International Perspective” and will be on Monday, May 14th from 10:30 am to 11:45 am.

We have assembled an international list of prominent speakers for the forum including:

  • Dr. Robin Newmark (NREL, USA)
  • Prof. Soteris Kalogirou (University of Cyprus, Cyprus)
  • Prof. Ahmad Houri (Lebanese-American University, Lebanon)
  • Stacy Tellinghuisen (Western Resource Advocates, USA)

See below for further presentation information and speakers’ bios.

We will also be conducting the CEWD annual meeting from 7:00 am to 8:00 am on Tuesday, May 15th in Mile High Ballroom 4e. The agenda for that meeting will be made available before the conference.

If you are planning to attend WREF 2012, we encourage you to attend the Division annual meeting in person. You will also be able to participate via conference call (details forthcoming).

The CEWD is also planning an informal get-together in downtown Denver from 6-8 pm the evening of Monday, May 14th (details forthcoming).

Several members of the CEWD will also be presenting during the conference, including Veera and Daniel (check the WREF 2012 program conference/).

As a relatively new Division, we are actively soliciting your active participation whether you are from the private or public sector, including academia (students too!). We also ask that you look to the ASES website and LinkedIn professional network as we expand our presence and functionality directed to ASES activities and as a resource portal to the many related organizations and activities associated with the energy – water nexus.

You are the subject matter experts that ASES and the CEWD want to support.

For example, a previous Division newsletter featured a citrus grower in California that used the largest PV powered irrigation system in the world at the time Now, with our LinkedIn presence, we can potentially expand our outreach efforts dramatically, but we will need material and your input!

 Newsletter Research Update from CEWD member Daniel Simon

In February 2012 a group of Northwestern University students, called Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), contacted Daniel Simon about using his solar distiller design for a project to improve drinking water in a town in northern Chile.  This agricultural community suffers because their water contains very high concentrations of boron; their water also contains elevated levels of arsenic.  Both pollutants would be removed by the physical process of distillation.  (For more details about the project or to contribute visit  The ESW students asked Mr. Simon to share the essential elements of the distiller design, in order that they might be able to use/adapt the design for the community they plan to assist.  He arranged to meet with the ESW students and hold a show and tell with a working prototype.  The students were excited about adopting the design, although they wanted to test the solar distiller to ensure it performed as expected.  Mr. Simon donated the working prototype to the project for the students to use as they see fit.

Mr. Simon developed the solar water distiller which uses a flexible mylar mirror to focus sunlight onto a two piece distilling chamber (see photo), capable of producing 1 gallon of distilled water per day.  Since the mirror frame can be disassembled and the mirror rolled up like a poster, the new distiller is suitable for compact transportation.  The focused sunlight heats the water in the shallow pan (black) until it evaporates, and the cover (clear plastic) captures and condenses the evaporated water.  The main factor limiting distillate production is that the condenser overheats (i.e. the mirror is collecting more heat onto the evaporator than the condenser can efficiently shed.  In experiments where the condensing cover was removed, the water evaporated at a faster rate (2.5 times) than the rate of production with the condenser in place.   Mr. Simon suggested the ESW students incorporate a chimney and/or add thermal mass to the condenser portion of the device to improve the rate of distillation.


CEWD Forum “Energy – Water Nexus: An International Perspective”

Presentation title: “Solar Desalination Systems”

By Prof. Soteris Kalogirou

Many countries of the world are facing serious water shortage problems. One possible way to alleviate these problems is by using seawater desalination systems. All desalination processes however are very energy demanding and unless renewable sources of energy are employed could create other more serious problems related to the environment. Among other renewable energy systems, the solar powered ones seems to be the most viable, so this presentation shows a review of these systems as well as the relation between energy to water.


Dr. Soteris Kalogirou is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences and Engineering of the Cyprus University of Technology. He received his Ph.D. on solar desalination from the University of Glamorgan, UK in 1995. In June 2011 he received from the same university the title of D.Sc. For more than 30 years, he is actively involved in research in the area of solar energy including solar desalination. He has 27 books and book contributions and published 230 papers; 99 in international scientific journals and 131 in refereed conference proceedings. He is Executive Editor of Energy, Associate Editor of Renewable Energy and Editorial Board Member of another eleven journals. He is the author of the book Solar Energy Engineering: Processes and Systems, published by Academic Press of Elsevier. He is a member of many institutions and societies including World Renewable Energy Network (WREN) and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES).

Presentation title: “Implications of future energy choices in the energy-water-land nexus”

By Dr. Robin Newmark; Jordan Macknick, Garvin Heath, Sean Ong, Paul Denholm, Robert Margolis, Billy Roberts.

Renewable energy may play an important role in meeting the demands of the energy-water-land nexus.  Insights gained from scenario studies regarding the trade-offs in terms of water and land use for energy as compared to other competing needs in the U.S. can inform decisions in other regions. A growing population will require additional land for crop and livestock production; this population will also require additional sources of energy. While some renewable technology configurations can utilize more water than conventionally grown crops, other renewables utilize no water during operations, and their deployment could reduce stress on water resources.  Some renewable energy technologies have a low energy density and can have large land use requirements. Co-locating agriculture and renewable energy production can mitigate this concern.  Under various future scenarios governing energy and water policies, we analyze the implications of increasing food, energy, land-use, and water demands on the U.S.


Dr. Robin L. Newmark is Director of the Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Energy analysis conducted at SEAC focuses on technology, market, policy and sustainability.  Analyses cover a broad range, from life-cycle assessments of individual renewable energy technologies to national-level electricity system capacity expansion impacts of energy policies to fuels and vehicle systems to web-based renewable energy analysis applications. The analyses aim to understand the interaction of policy, technology, markets and their applications. Prior to joining NREL, Dr. Newmark was at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where her research focused primarily on energy, environment and national security. In recent years, she has led or contributed to programs involving energy, climate and water issues, including the interdependence of water and energy systems; one example is a water initiative with components addressing the impacts of climate change on water resources, assessing denitrification in agricultural regions, and the development of energy-efficient, selective water treatment technologies.  Dr. Newmark is an active member of the multi-national laboratory Energy-Water Nexus working group, the World Resources Institute Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Stakeholder Group and the U.S. – China Expert CCS Steering Committee. She is an author of over 50 papers, reports and patents, a Fellow of both the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder and the Center of Integrated Water Research at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Dr. Newmark holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was selected Phi Beta Kappa, a M.S. from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.Phil and a Ph.D from Columbia University.

Presentation title: “Options for Water Use in Agriculture or Energy”

By Dr. Ahmad Houri

Although the use of water for hydropower does not actually “consume” water, it alters the height at which it exists.  In a water poor region like the Middle East, the location and altitude of fresh water may carry a specific significance that might overweigh the benefits of hydropower.  The presentation will focus on a case study where the major agricultural land exists at a higher altitude.  Accordingly, the height loss associated with hydropower generation results in reduced agricultural productivity.


Dr. Ahmad Houri is an associate professor at the Lebanese American University and the ex-president of the Lebanese Solar Energy Society.  He is currently a board member of ISES representing small sections.  He is the EuroArab Chair of Renewable Energy (2009) and the Second Assistant Secretary-General of the Arab Organization for Renewable Energy.  He has several publications dealing with environmental issues, specifically within the fields of water quality and renewable energy. His studies focus on the technical and economic feasibility of the use of renewable energy in various settings.  He has served as a consultant for various national and international organizations.

Presentation title: “Mitigating Energy-Water Challenges: Solutions and Management Strategies from the Interior West”

By Stacy Tellinghuisen

In recent years, western energy and water demands have risen precipitously. As population growth continues and climate change reduces available water supplies, the challenge of meeting these demands and protecting valuable natural resources will intensify. For example, proposed new water supply projects would, if built, impose a large new energy burden. In contrast, urban water conservation, recycled water, and flexible leasing arrangements can meet growing urban water demands and often save energy. Similarly, the transition to cleaner sources of energy and energy efficiency could create “new” water supplies, easing strained supplies. This presentation outlines the energy-water challenges in the Interior West, as well as strategies that utilities, government agencies, and others have pursued in an effort to minimize future energy-water conflicts and protect the West’s natural resources.


Stacy Tellinghuisen is a Senior Energy/Water Policy Analyst for Western Resource Advocates, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the West’s water, land, and air. Stacy works on both sides of the energy/water nexus, researching the impacts of energy development on water resources and the energy impacts of new and existing water supplies. Before joining Western Resource Advocates, she was an energy/water analyst for the California Sustainability Alliance, where she researched the energy intensity of Southern California’s water supplies. Stacy has worked on water issues for the City of Moab, Utah, and taught natural history to school groups in parks throughout California and Utah. She received a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a bachelor’s degree from Carleton College.

Research Brief

Solar Desalination Systems

Soteris A. Kalogirou

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering,

Cyprus University of Technology, P. O. Box 50329, 3603Limassol, Cyprus

Tel. +357-2500-2621, Fax. +357-2500-2637, Email:

Many countries of the world are facing serious water shortage problems. These are due to the population explosion, industrial activities, pollution of fresh water resources and uneven distribution of the fresh water supplies in the world. One possible way to alleviate these problems is by using seawater desalination systems. All desalination processes however are energy demanding and unless renewable sources of energy are employed could create other more serious problems related to the environment. In 2010, the installed desalination capacity reached 60 million m3/day, which require 495 million tons of oil per year. Among other renewable energy systems, the solar powered ones seem to be the most promising. Possible systems that can be used are the phase change processes in which the simple solar stills, multi-stage flash (MSF), multiple effect distillation (MED) and vapour compression (VC) systems belong, and the single phase or membrane processes in which reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis (ED) belong.

Perhaps the most studied system is the solar still. This uses the greenhouse effect to evaporate seawater. In its basic shape, it consists of a black basin, in which a constant amount of seawater is enclosed typically in a capital lambda “Λ”‑shaped glass envelope, with many variations of the basic shape tried by various researchers. The sun’s rays passing through the glass roof are absorbed by the blackened bottom of the basin and by the seawater which is heated, to increase its vapor pressure. The resultant water vapor rises up and condensed on the underside of the glass covers which are relatively cold and runs down into troughs as distilled water.

MSF and MED processes consist of a set of effects or stages which are at successively decreasing temperature and pressure. MSF process is based on the generation of vapor from seawater due to a sudden pressure reduction when seawater enters a chamber which is under vacuum. The process is repeated stage by stage at successively decreasing pressure. This process requires an external steam supply, normally at a temperature around 100°C, which can easily be produced from solar thermal systems. The maximum temperature is limited by the salt concentration to avoid scaling and this maximum limits the performance of the process. In MED, vapors are generated due to the absorption of thermal energy by the seawater. The steam generated in one effect is able to heat the salt solution in the next effect because the next effect is at a lower temperature and pressure. MED plants normally use an external steam supply at a temperature of about 70°C. The steam required can also be produced from solar systems. In thermal VC and mechanical VC, after the initial vapor is generated from the seawater, it is thermally or mechanically compressed to generate additional production.

The RO requires electricity or shaft power to drive the pump that increases the pressure of the seawater. The required pressure depends on the salt concentration of seawater and it is normally around 70 bars. ED also requires electricity for the ionization of water, which is cleaned by using suitable membranes located at the two appositively charged electrodes. RO process represents more than 88% of membrane processes production. In both systems the required power can be supplied with photovoltaics.

A new perspective in this area is the combination of solar desalination with concentrating solar power systems. In countries with water shortage problems these are usually located close to the sea, so seawater is readily available and can produce either electricity, fresh water or both, according to the needs at competitive prices.

Please pass this newsletter on to your colleagues.

Hope to see you in Denver!

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