Potential Research Opportunities in the Water-Energy Nexus
Dr. Robert J. Heideman, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
A. O. Smith Corporation
Friday, May 6th
10:00 – 10:30 am
Our bodies require fresh water to sustain life, and clean, safe drinking water is necessary for a good quality of life. Beyond our own basic biological needs, water is necessary for many other daily activities such as eating (water for growing our food), showering, cooking, disposing of waste, and recreation, such as boating or swimming. While water is essential for life, it also essential for nearly every business to function; without water, most businesses cannot operate.
However, a lake, river, or even ocean full of water is not useful, in and of itself, for personal, commercial, or industrial use. To make this water useful, energy is typically added to a water system to pump, purify, heat, treat, and measure the water. The nexus of water and energy is easy to recognize since one cannot be used without the other. Furthermore, since neither energy nor water are free, infinite resources, numerous research opportunities exist to help conserve energy and water. Additional research opportunities exist to develop conservation technologies that are cost effective to the user, which will help ensure broad usage and additional societal value. The technology needs (think research opportunities) from A. O. Smith Corporation’s perspective will be reviewed. These opportunities include high-efficiency water heating, sensor development used for water treatment and water heater controls, and highly efficient water treatment technologies.
Bob was named Senior Vice President – Chief Technology Officer at A. O. Smith in December 2010. He had served as Vice President of the Milwaukee-based research and engineering facility since February 2008. The Corporate Technology Center consists of technology platforms that concentrate on advanced concepts and emerging technologies supporting the long-term product development strategies of the company’s electric motor and water heating operating units.
Bob joined A. O. Smith Corporation in 1994 as a Project Engineer at Corporate Technology. In that role, he worked on a wide range of projects for a number of the company’s operating units.
He returned to A. O. Smith in 2002 as a Section Manager, responsible for the Metallurgy and Prototyping Group. In 2005, he was promoted to Director-Materials and Processes at Corporate Technology.
Bob holds a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering and a bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.