In the near future, both urban and rural environments will manage water and energy as an integrated system. The first situation directly leads us to the smart cities' concepts, were the city is ruled as an integrated environment where all systems inside it should cooperate to achieve an optimal point of operation. In the second, the intensive use of hydric resources comes with an increasing modernization of the agriculture by introducing electrical machinery and sensing networks wish demand a growing energetic availability. Despite the differences found in these two environments, they share issues that can be solved by the same scientific foundations. Water and wastewater processes lack low energy technologies, whereas the application of renewable energy is hindered by low efficiency. In addition, these processes demand a constant supply of energy, while most renewable energy sources can’t provide energy in continues time base.
The project EdGeWIsE will contribute to integrate the water and energy systems in a single and efficient system. To achieve this vision the following general approaches and objectives will be pursued:
- Improve and promote efficiency based on data collected by low power wireless sensor networks.
- Identify renewable energy sources inside urban and rural areas.
- Research new methods for water and energy caption/storage.
- Stimulate the intelligent use of the available water and energetic resources.
- Explore the impact of Micro-Hydro technology on river systems. To reach the previous general objectives the project will develop research activities concerning renewable solar and wind energy; wireless sensors network powered by energy harvest form microbial fuel cell and vibrations; energy storage in and production from water systems. These research activities will lead to scientific advances that after incorporation in energy and water systems will contribute to integrate both systems in a single highly efficient system.
Main achievements expected
The main achievements expected by the project are: 1. Improve and promote efficiency, based on data collected by low power wireless sensor networks (WSN) that covers the field of operation. Both energy and water system will be monitored in real time with automatic report production and dissemination. The WSN will be powered introducing energy harvest methods. Advanced Microbial Fuel Cells or vibration energy harvesters will avoid batteries and their periodical replacement.
- Measured and assessed: build energy harvesting devices and power a network of sensors with them.
- Identify renewable energy sources inside city and rural areas. Improve local energy production (solar, Eolic and micro-hydro) with minimal impact into the environment. Explore both the energetic potential of accumulation provided by the water distribution system, as potential energy storage, as well as from water in natural systems. Provide new management methods to combine water usage and energy production and consumption.
- Measured and assessed: produce energy from renewable energy sources and store it in the water systems for later retrieval.
- Water use demands for energy availability. In future both resources will be scarce. Systems integration will increase the overall performance. The impact of population growing and climatic changes in water and energy availability in the Mediterranean region must be addressed and understand. New methods of water and energy collection and production should be developed and researched.
- Measured and assessed: Experimental pilots will act as real application where the management procedures developed by the research team can be tested.
- Stimulate the intelligent use of the available water and energetic resources. Major consumers and their networking must be identified. New methods of use, such as precision irrigation in agriculture or LED public illumination will be encouraged. System integration supports adaptation of both systems, in real time, to manage time demand and, at the same time, forecast the needs in the near future, preparing the system to fulfil them in and integrated way.
- Measured and assessed: Commercial companies will include project achievements and evaluate the impact of them.
- The effects of the presence of Micro-Hydro technologies in the natural systems. Micro-hydroelectric plants are technologies that are appropriate for the provision of electricity where the demand for power is relative low and a constant flow of running water is available. The emissions associated with micro-hydroelectric power are marginal in comparison to the greenhouse gas emissions from conventional fossil fuel plants. Micro-hydro represents an effective option to reduce or avoid the emission of greenhouse gases produced by small-scale power generation technologies based on fossil fuels, such as engines running on diesel. The aim is to explore the impact of Micro-Hydro technology on water supply networks, under existing conditions and under predicted local changes.
- Measured and assessed: Evaluating the energy produced by micro-hydro solutions will validate the impact of this solutions in real world applications.