Tech conference breaks new ground around theme of energy & water savings

The Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) proudly hosted more than 40 attendees at its Energy Water Nexus technical conference earlier this month at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

“What is neat in my mind is that the conference was a success even before it happened,” said Nate Conroy of M-WERC. “In preparing for the event we saw our panelists and national keynote speakers breaking new ground with each other around this theme of energy and water savings.”

Nationally, the largest category for water consumption is electric power generation. Similarly, the largest demand for electricity is water extraction and distribution. This strong interdependence drives great opportunity in the Energy-Water Nexus (EWN) to impact both energy and water consumption. The Energy-Water Nexus (EWN) roadmap was M-WERC’s fourth and most recent strategic roadmap. It was completed in early 2017 in conjunction with the Water Council. The report and subsequent Working Group seek to identify the EWN applications, benefits, target markets, industry categories, technologies and products, and active companies within the EWN market space.

Professor David Strifling, Director of Marquette Law School’s Water Law and Policy Initiative, kicked off the conference in the morning illustrating how the technical conference meshes with other EWN activities that Marquette has engaged in recently. M-WERC Executive Director and CEO Alan Perlstein shared with attendees the context of the EWN Working Group and M-WERC’s roadmap. During lunch, Perlstein walked through with participants M-WERC’s roadmap and explained how there were key cross-cutting technologies identified in the EWN roadmap as well as earlier roadmaps on Distributed Energy Resource Systems (DERS), energy storage, and energy efficiency. These cross-cutting technologies play a significant role in growth in the energy, power, and controls space enabling the explosion of the Internet of Things, the revolutionary adoption of next generation power conversion devices, and advance manufacturing techniques and processes. These technologies will be the focus of future technical conferences.

Additionally, the M-WERC conference explored panel topics that included:

·         Policy Context of the Energy Water Nexus in Manufacturing

·         Energy and water savings created by membrane and AC drive technology in the manufacturing process and the barriers to wide-adoption; and

·         Fostering an Energy Water Nexus focus within a company: Case Studies

This M-WERC event was unique in that a technical conference evolved into a workshop that enabled great dialogue with the participants and presenters. It also enabled great networking opportunities to cultivate relationships and broaden horizons for everyone involved.

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