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Integrated Water Systems Research

NREL's integrated water systems research focuses on the nexus of the energy, water, land, atmospheric, and urban sectors.

NREL's depth of expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure uniquely position our researchers to address complex challenges and opportunities that exist at the intersection of energy and water systems while providing decision support services to partners across the globe. From our high-resolution systems modeling capabilities to our world-class integration infrastructure facilities, NREL simulates water and energy systems together at scale. In addition, our advanced water treatment and integrated water technology research spans fundamental development to validation, demonstration, and deployment.


NREL offers the following integrated water systems capabilities.

Researchers discuss a display of maps and charts.

Nexus Systems Modeling and Analysis

We perform cutting-edge analysis and develop unique multisector and multiscale model frameworks to address critical planning and operational decisions at the energy-water-land nexus.

NREL researcher working at a desalination station.

Water and Power Systems Integration

NREL researchers evaluate synergies between energy and water infrastructure to identify opportunities where greater integration can lead to mutual benefits and improved reliability and resilience.

Ultra-pure water system clean room.

Advanced Water Treatment

NREL develops novel technologies, along with innovative manufacturing practices, to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of water treatment and desalination.

NREL's Field Test Laboratory Building central plant cooling tower.

Technology Development, Validation, Demonstration, and Deployment

We provide on-the-ground expertise to support the development, validation, demonstration, and deployment of water technologies and integrated solutions.

An NREL employee presents to a group.

Decision Science, Support, and Informatics

NREL provides objective, technology-neutral support to help decision makers address technical, policy, social, and economic barriers to support optimized energy-water-land system integration.

Learn more about integrated water systems research.

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Gravure Coating for Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Proton-Exchange-Membrane Fuel Cell Catalyst Layers, Journal of the Electrochemical Society (2018)

Alternative Water Treatment Technologies for Cooling Tower Applications, NREL Technical Report (2018)

Climate and Water Resource Change Impacts and Adaptation Potential for U.S. Power Supply, Nature Climate Change (2017)

Energy-Water Microgrid Opportunity Analysis at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 Facility, NREL Technical Report (201)

Clean Energy Solutions Center Resource Library: Energy-Water-Food Nexus

View all NREL publications about integrated water systems research.


Jordan Macknick

Energy-Water-Land Lead Analyst | 303-275-3828

Jennifer Daw

Senior Energy-Water Researcher | 303-275-4678