Table 2. Water consumption reported volumes for different fuels and cooling technologies (Gleick 1994, Goldstein and Smith 2002a, Woods et al. 2007, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2008). Air-cooling requires negligible water and is compatible with all of the technologies listed.

  Cooling Technologies – Water Consumption (L [MWh]-1)†
Open-Loop Closed-Loop Reservoir Closed-Loop Cooling Tower Hybrid Cooling Air-Cooling
Coal 1100 1500
(±400)
1800 between 200
(±40)
Nuclear 1500 2400
(±850)
2700 between 200
(±40)
Natural Gas Combustion Turbine negligible negligible negligible negligible negligible
Natural Gas Combined-Cycle 400 500
(±80)
700 between 200
(±40)
Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle not used not used 1300
(±400)
between 200
(±40)
Concentrated Solar Power not used not used 3200
(±300)
between 300
(±40)
Wind none none none none none
Photovoltaic Solar none none none none none

†L [MWh]-1): liters per megawatt-hour
‡Estimated based on withdrawal and consumption ratios