How Much Water is Required to Generate a Gallon of Fuel?

A photo of a farm machine in a field cutting down switchgrass.

WATER 3.0 tool supports the development of sustainable biofuels

A new version of an online tool, Water Analysis Tool for Energy Resources or WATER 3.0, allows biofuels manufacturers and other stakeholders to evaluate the water consumption required by different biomass feedstocks to generate a gallon of fuel. From those data, they can better understand how their choice to use more sustainable biofuels can reduce impacts on various environmental and water resources.

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the updated WATER tool includes the ability to analyze how producing hydrocarbon fuel from wood resources affects U.S. water supplies. The tool works by combining multiple variables to give biofuels manufacturers a clear picture of water usage, starting from the cultivation all the way to the conversion stages involved in turning biomass feedstock into fuel.

Version 3.0 also allows the user to drill down for data not only by region and state, but to the U.S. county level as well. This capability will allow industry to make informed decisions about what types of feedstock are most appropriate for use in water-limited areas.

In addition to being a boon for industry, WATER 3.0 can assist stakeholders and developers as they consider water sustainability in proposed projects. The tool can also help state and local governments that need to estimate new fuel sources’ potential water consumption, as well as their impact on water quality and resources.

For more information, see the full press release.

  • Kathryn Ruckman, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • For more information:
  • Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
  • technicalresponse@icfi.com
  • 800-254-6735