x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

New balance of power and water

A Masdar student says she has a more environmentally friendly way of producing water and power.

Pei-yun “Sherry” Lin, 26, from Taiwan, hopes to work in water policy and as a consultant for environmental sustainability.
Pei-yun “Sherry” Lin, 26, from Taiwan, hopes to work in water policy and as a consultant for environmental sustainability.

ABU DHABI // Pei-yun "Sherry" Lin says she has developed a greener method of measuring carbon emissions from the generation of power and water.

The Masdar student, 26, found that because more heat can be recovered from power generation in the summer and used for water production, the carbon intensity of water is actually higher in the winter.

More power is generated in the region in summer due to greater demand because of air conditioning.

This information could be used for allocating emissions in other projects, which could help power and water companies to receive carbon reduction credits for protecting the environment.

At least, that is what Ms Lin, a Taiwanese student of water and environmental engineering, says.

Most of Abu Dhabi's water and electricity is generated at joint power and desalination plants. For this student, that begs the question of how much carbon-dioxide emission is generated by each process.

Ms Lin has developed a method of measuring carbon emissions for each process by comparing plants that produce both water and electricity with those that only produce one or the other.

Her focus in her two years at the Masdar programme has been to "set up a framework" so emissions in the water and power sectors can be examined more closely, she said.

"Due to the nature of the co-generation, for many of the processes the devices are shared and cannot be physically separated," Ms Lin said.

"There is no single correct way to allocate the carbon dioxide emission between these products because it depends on the purpose, the complexity of your question."

Ms Lin said she found it most interesting that as the power-to-water ratio changed, so did the efficiency of the plant. When there was more power used in the summer, more heat was diverted to water production.

Ms Lin, who received an undergraduate degree in life science biology from the National Yang Ming University in Taiwan, said she only decided to shift her focus to environmental issues shortly before applying to the Masdar Institute. She now hopes to work in water policy and as a consultant for environmental sustainability. Ms Lin said: "I believe that the low-carbon lifestyle is what the future is supposed to be."