Cornerstone, the official publication of the world coal industry, was launched by the World Coal Association in the spring of 2013. Cornerstone is an internationally recognized, high-quality, objective publication that includes content investigating all aspects of the global coal industry. The electronic version is offered free of charge through this website.
Click on the image below to read Volume 2 Issue 1
“The water footprint, even more so than the carbon footprint, could become the critical factor in defining a secure, resilient, and sustainable energy future…”
– Michael Hightower
Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff,
Sandia National Laboratories
Water is an essential natural resource that impacts all aspects of life: Clean and abundant supplies of water are vital for supporting the production of food, public health, industrial and energy development, and a healthy environment. Water is an integral part of energy extraction, production, and generation. It is used directly in hydro-electric power generation and is used extensively for thermoelectric power plant cooling and emissions control.
With global population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, and about 70% of this number living in cities, energy demand will double during the same period. This presents challenges on many fronts, but few are more pressing than those involving water. Nearly half the world’s people are expected to be living in areas of water stress by 2030, as climate change and mounting water withdrawals, some of which are made to produce energy, deepen existing water scarcity.
China has been experiencing rapid industrialization and urbanization since the 1980s, with an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of approximately 10.7% from 2003 to 2011. Although the rate of growth has slowed, the general trend of an increasing GDP is projected to continue into the foreseeable future. To support this economic development, a corresponding increase in primary energy consumption is also expected.
Water is essential for thermoelectric power production. In fact, thermoelectric generation is one of the largest usages of water in the U.S. and around the world. However, most of this water is returned to the water body of origin (slightly warmer). Converting heat (fossil fuel, biomass combustion, or nuclear reactions) to electricity is accomplished with the Rankine cycle (i.e., steam cycle).