School of Chemical Engineering

The Water-Energy-Carbon Group conducts research on water, energy and carbon (greenhouse gases) flows through our society at various scales – technology, household, suburb, utility, industry, city, region, production systems and economy. We contribute to the design of more efficient cities and systems through metabolic analysis and benchmarking to inform policy.

We measure and model how settlements and systems consume water and energy, the inter-connections (nexus) between them, and the influence on costs, greenhouse gases (GHG) and environmental footprints. This helps us understand system efficiency and susceptibility to resource depletion in light of future pressures such as population growth and climate change. Some of our research also extends into the resource efficiency and environmental impacts of production systems, such as food supply chains and bio-production.

The group is particularly interested how water use influences energy use (and GHG) and vis versa. By studying water and energy together we can guide water and energy efficiency planning, strategy, and policy to avoid unintended burden-shifting.

The tools the group uses and builds include material flow analysis (MFA), water balance analysis, urban metabolism, environmental life cycle assessment (LCA), environmentally-extended input-output (IO) analysis, and spatially-linked data analysis (GIS).

Available Student Projects

Please contact us if you are interested in student projects under any of our research themes listed below.

Urban water balance / metabolism modelling:

  • City-region water mass balance and related energy analysis for Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth
  • Water-energy-GHG nexus in buildings

Water-energy (GHG) nexus:

  • Characterise water-related energy in households.
  • Understand critical conditions around heat loss from household hot water systems.
  • Future technologies review

Integrated water and energy planning:

  • Use of systems dynamic models to support integrated strategic planning

LCA and Input-Output analysis to complement metabolism modelling:

  • Characterisation of water-related impacts in LCA for Australia
  • Interrogation of IELab Input-Output tables for data to support urban metabolism modelling

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Steven Kenway teaches into and co-ordinates the Masters of Integrated Water Management (MIWM) course WATR7700 (Urban Metabolism) through the offered through the International Water Centre. This course covers the water-energy nexus in urban water systems and use.