WC-5 Solutions to Energy-Water Conflicts Part 1

Water and energy networks are inextricably linked. Energy production and electricity generation both require water. Conversely, distributing water to consumers and wastewater treatment depend on energy. The global population is projected reach 9 billion by 2050, increasing demands on water and energy networks. New paradigms are therefore needed for increased usage efficiencies to optimize the provision of energy and water supplies for future generations. The focus of this world café will be water and energy interdependencies, together with cost-effective and innovative solutions for the sustainable management of both.

Moderator: Kenneth Reardon, Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Colorado State University


  • Hector Bravo, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Kenneth Carlson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University
  • Junhong Chen, Director, Industry-University Cooperative Research Center on Water Equipment and Policy and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Regent Scholar, University of Wisconsin-System
  • Jennifer Cherrier, Professor, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York; President and Founder, Waterway Ecologics
  • Yehuda Klein, Professor and Chair of Economics, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
  • Adel Nasiri, Associate Dean for Research and Director, Center for Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Alan Perlstein, Executive Director and CEO, Mid-West Energy Research Consortium
  • Jose Pillich, City University of New York Graduate Center and Fellow, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology (NOAA-CREST)
  • Ashwin Dhanasekar, Assistant Director, Center for Energy Water Sustainability, Colorado State University


Kenneth Reardon is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Colorado State University and am involved in several interdisciplinary educational and research activities. Most of his current research is in the area of bioenergy and biomass-derived chemicals, always with non-food biomass and oriented toward improving the water footprint and overall process economics. A specific focus is on algal biotechnology, since algae can be grown on non-arable land and can produce fuels, chemicals, and protein. He has also designed sustainable energy courses and a minor, and was the PI of an NSF IGERT program in bioenergy.

Hector Bravo is a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee focusing on conflicts between energy production and water uses. Thermoelectric powerplants withdraw water from rivers or lakes to cool down their units and return warmer water. The temperature increase can produce changes in the habitat, affecting the aquatic biota. Hydropower is a clear example of the energy production-water use nexus. Conflicts result from construction of dams and reservoirs that change surface and groundwater flows and heat and pollutant fluxes, prevent navigation and fish migration, and induce accumulation of sediments. Bravo has worked on incorporating environmental criteria in the operation of thermoelectric power plants, and on retrofitting dams for hydropower. (414-229-6756; hrbravo@uwm.edu)

Dr. Kenneth Carlson is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University with over 25 years of experience in water related issues. He is director of the Center for Energy Water Sustainability and in this role directs research related to optimizing how water is best utilized in the oil and gas industry. Current projects include reducing the cost of recycle treatment technologies, real-time ground water monitoring, optimizing recycled water quality interactions with frac fluids and understanding the most efficient approach for water management (recycling, disposal, hybrids). He has a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, MS in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder. (970-491-8336, kcarlson@engr.colostate.edu)

Junhong Chen heads the Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) on Water Equipment and Policy supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and water-based industrial partners. Chen is also the founder of NanoAffix Science, LLC. Dr. Chen’s research focuses on novel nanomaterials for sustainable energy and environment. In particular, he is developing real-time sensors that can enable continuous monitoring of various chemical and biological species in water relevant to the energy-water nexus. Dr. Chen is also a Distinguished University Professor, a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and an Excellence in Engineering Faculty Fellow in Nanotechnology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. (414-229-2615; jhchen@uwm.edu)

Jennifer Cherrier’s 26 years of research experience are in aquatic carbon and nitrogen cycling and flux with a more recent focus on water resource sustainability and ecosystem-based approaches for offsetting the human impacts on aquatic systems. Jennifer’s research group has developed a novel and cost effective ‘blue’ technology (eco-WEIR, patent pending) that augments green infrastructure to maximize stormwater runoff-related pollutant removal and also allows for water storage and reuse. She is a Leopold Leadership Fellow for Sustainability as well as a National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science Kalvi Fellow. (jennifer.cherrier18@brooklyn.cuny.edu)

Yehuda Klein teaches courses in statistics, ecological economics, and urban sustainability. His research interests include environmental economics and policy, regulatory economics, and applied econometrics. His current research projects address issues related to sustainability and resilience at urban and regional scales. He is currently investigating the impact of green infrastructure on neighborhood and urban electric grids, on the wastewater system, and on urban micro climates. (718-951-5153; yklein@brooklyn.cuny.edu)

Adel Nasiri’s research interests are renewable energy interfaces, energy storage, and microgrids. Dr. Nasiri has conducted many sponsored research projects in these fields and published numerous technical journal and conference papers and patents on related topics. Nasiri is currently an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, an Editor of Power Components and Systems, and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Power Electronics. (414-229-4955; nasiri@uwm.edu)

Alan Perlstein: The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium is focused on the growth of the Energy, Power & Control industry across the Midwest. Alan has 35 years of experience in ship building, power electronics, design development and program control functions. He has been responsible for the design development, contract administration, business planning and program control functions for navy nuclear, ship controls, propulsion and power distribution programs.

Jose Pillich is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Environmental Science specializing in GIS/Remote Sensing. He focuses on understanding the interdisciplinary impacts of green infrastructure in New York City, while his research interests include environmental planning, green infrastructure, ecosystem services, and geospatial analysis. Past work has primarily focused on analyzing the impacts of different green initiatives. For the EPA, his primary research entailed developing an environmental accounting system that accounted for environmental footprint reduction. (347-237-7084; pillich@gmail.com)

Ashwin Dhanasekar is a Research Associate at Colorado State University and the Assistant Director for the Center for Energy Water Sustainability (CEWS). He has a Masters in Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University and an undergrad in Chemical Engineering from Anna University (India). He is currently working through the CEWS with operators and service companies to help manage their water more efficiently solving energy-water issues. His previous work includes modeling integrated systems to optimize water management with an integral focus on beneficial reuse of wastewater to promote the Food-Energy-Water relationship. (970-492-4858, ashwin.dhanasekar@colostate.edu)


  • Adel Nasiri, Professor, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • Hector Bravo, Professor, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • Kenneth Carlson, Professor, Colorado State University
  • Kenneth Reardon, Professor, Colorado State University
  • Yehuda Klein, Chair, Department of Economics, Brooklyn College
  • Jennifer Cherrier, Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

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