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PLANT WATER PROFILER: A WATER BALANCE AND TRUE COST OF WATER CALCULATOR FOR MANUFACTURING PLANTS...

by Mini Malhotra, Sachin U Nimbalkar, Kristina O Armstrong, Kiran Thirumaran, Susana E Garcia Gonzalez
Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

As the uncertainty of a sustained water supply, regulatory constraints, competition among end users, and public scrutiny increases, a growing number of manufacturing sectors are adapting to current and emerging water-related risks by optimizing productivity and reducing waste. As a step toward increasing water use efficiency and making informed business decisions, corporations must make an effort to understand and track their water demands, losses, and costs associated with each subsystem within their facilities.
Manufacturers are often unaware of the “true cost of water” (i.e., the total costs associated with procurement, treatment, and consumption of water, and wastewater disposal), which reduces the visibility of the actual impact of water-saving measures. To help manufacturers account for water procurement and use in manufacturing operations, quantify the true cost of water, and identify potential areas for water and associated energy cost savings, an open access tool—Plant Water Profiler (PWP)—was developed. The tool is based on water mass balance analysis and has been adopted as the core analysis tool for plant water use assessments, Water In-Plant Training (Water INPLT), as part of the US Department of Energy’s Better Plants program. During three pilot INPLTs conducted in 2019 at three manufacturing facilities, the PWP tool allowed users to understand water flows within the facilities and provided additional capabilities to analyze their water use. This paper describes the methodology behind the PWP tool and its implementation through pilot Water INPLT trainings delivered in three manufacturing facilities in the United States. The three case studies demonstrate opportunities to improve water efficiency and reduce associated costs and the challenges encountered in three different manufacturing sectors.