JPL and CalTech to aid LA’s water/energy efficiency

The City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) with its managing institution, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are combining forces to establish Los Angeles as a powerhouse for demonstrated energy and water innovation.

This partnership, announced by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on 20 July 2009 aims to leverage JPL’s intellectual assets directly to the DWP to reduce water usage and greenhouse gas emissions and, in the process, stimulate green job growth.

Under the three-year agreement, JPL and Caltech will apply their extensive expertise in climate change science, remote sensing, environmental engineering and systems design to assist the city and the DWP in developing, maturing and deploying innovative technologies to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy sources, conserve water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the largest municipal utility in the United States, the DWP provides drinking water and electricity to more than 3.8 million residents and businesses.

The participants will work with other local universities such as the University of Southern California and The University of California Los Angeles, to make energy and water technology assessments, develop models and test beds, perform technology demonstrations, and provide data on global change from Earth science satellites, airborne platforms and ground-based instruments to assist the city in making informed decisions.

The participants have already submitted a series of joint proposals to the Department of Energy to develop and deploy advanced energy technologies. These proposals involve projects to reduce agricultural energy and water consumption; develop models for predicting the availability of solar, wind and wave energy resources; develop robust communications architectures for smart grid applications; and develop efficient technologies for pre-processing food waste used to produce biogases and renewable energy.

The agreement also calls for the DWP to construct a “Sustainable Technology Demonstration Building.” This new building will showcase to the public innovative methods, products and technologies to reduce energy and water consumption and increase renewable energy.