Paul Bishop

Keynote: Water Sustainability: Impacts of the Water:Energy Nexus on Water Supplies


Abstract: Water and energy are inextricably linked. Water is used in almost every aspect of energy production. Thermoelectric power generation [coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear] accounts for 39% of all freshwater withdrawals in the US. Consumption of water for electrical energy production and distribution could more than double by 2030. This is equal to the entire domestic water consumption in the US in 1995. Coal accounts for up to 50% of US electricity generation, and each kWh generated from coal requires withdrawal of 25 gallons of water. The US is currently the major consumer of energy, but many other countries are rapidly expanding their energy consumption. Some cleaner energy alternatives – including biofuels and coal with carbon sequestration – will significantly increase fresh water demands.

Compounding this problem is the fact that both water and wastewater treatment and pumping and distribution/collection require large amounts of energy, which is projected to greatly increase in the future. Achieving water sustainability through water reuse is a promising concept, but many of the treatment options, such as use of membranes or distillation, are even more intensive energy users. This talk gives an overview of the water-energy nexus and reasons for why it is becoming a major concern. It will also address the impacts of climate change on water resources. The talk will conclude with an example from China on the impacts of the water/energy nexus coupled with the additional complications caused by climate change.


Bio: Dr. Paul L. Bishop is the Associate Dean of Engineering for Research on a part-time basis at the University of Rhode Island. He just completed an assignment as Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Environmental Engineering at the University of Parthenope, Naples, Italy.  He recently finished a 4 year term as the Environmental Engineering Program Director for the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  In April, 2011, he retired as Associate Vice President for Research and is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.  He also held a secondary appointment as Professor of Environmental Health in the College of Medicine. 

Dr. Bishop received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University in environmental engineering.  He joined the University of Cincinnati in 1988 after 16 years as Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.  He has previously served as department head at the University of Cincinnati, and was the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for six years before becoming the Associate Vice President for Research.  He was also the Director of the NIH-funded University of Cincinnati Superfund Basic Research Program.  He has directed over $19 million of environmental research and is the author or co-author of five textbooks and over 500 technical publications. He is a Past President of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP); a Registered Professional Engineer; a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Water Environment Federation, and the International Water Association; and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE).  He served two terms on the AAEE Board of Trustees.  He was also Chair of the U.S.A. National Council of the International Water Association (IWA), a member of the International Water Association Strategic Council, and served three terms on the Governing Board of the IWA.  He also served on several federal boards, including the National Water Quality Monitoring Council and the National Aeronautics Research and Development Policy Working Group.  He is currently a Director of the Engineering Accreditation Board of ABET.  He was recently elected to the Water Environment Research Foundation Board of Directors. 

Dr. Bishop’s research interests include drinking water security, biological treatment of water and wastewater using biofilms, contaminated soil bioremediation, development of environmental microsensors, solidification/stabilization of hazardous wastes, and pollution prevention technologies.  In 2005, he was awarded the Frontiers in Research Award by AEESP and in 2006 received the Outstanding Service Award from the International Water Association.  In May 2013, he received the Simon Freese Prize from the Environmental and Water Resources Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

University of Rhode Island:

Bristol County Water Authority: