Eliminating Excess: Ensuring Compliance with Industrial Water Regulations in California

Kate Sullivan

Sullivan Autry

The state of California, given its recent droughts caused in part by climate change, is becoming increasingly concerned with conserving water. One of its most wasteful uses of water occurs in power generation and data center facilities, in which thousands of gallons of excess water are used for cooling every day.

One of the best ways to reduce this excess is implementing a new cooling technology, Cycle Two73, developed by my partner, tech start-up Autry Industrial. This technology eliminates the use of water in cooling processes and actually repurposes some of the generated heat energy to power the plant, which would otherwise have been lost. A potentially successful way of convincing these facilities to implement Cycle Two73 technology would be finding water-conscious state laws, which would mandate that data centers and power plants must reduce their use of water in light of the drought. (Failing that, government incentive programs might also be a useful avenue to examine.) Autry does not presently have this information, which they believe would help their technology to gain traction in a well-established industry.

For my capstone, I will explore the background and history of cooling technology in data centers and power plants in California, and then look for water laws (or incentive programs) mandating that these reduce their water use in the wake of California’s droughts. I will then compare and contrast my findings to the Cycle Two73 technology in order to highlight the technology’s benefits, eventually producing a report and infographic highlighting my findings.