Food-Energy-Water Nexus

Improving the reliability, safety, and affordability of interconnected infrastructures that deliver critical goods and services.

Integrated Planning

The interdependence among food, energy, and water systems has gained increasing attention, as natural disasters such as Superstorm Sandy reveal hidden vulnerabilities in our aging infrastructures. The combined stresses of population growth, climate change, and industrial development only exacerbate these vulnerabilities. Integrated planning and investment can overcome these challenges by considering the potential tipping points that could lead to cascading failures. Ohio State researchers are collaborating to investigate the complex nexus of linkages among food, energy, water, land and other resources.

NSF Research Workshop

SRE hosted a workshop, on behalf of the National Science Foundation, that convened about 50 thought leaders from academia and government to explore “Human Adaptations to Climate Change: Impacts on Resilience of Regional Food, Energy, and Water Systems.”

Urban Wastewater Management

Ohio State worked with the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities to analyze capital investment opportunities, and identified potential improvements in bioenergy and organic waste reuse that could save several million dollars annually in operating costs.

International Initiatives

SRE is funding pilot programs to address food-energy-water interdependencies in developing nations; an example is Sustainable Tanzania, a long-term, strategic and coordinated response to locally-identified food, energy, water, and health challenges.


SRE faculty are engaged with government organizations at a local, state, and national level to enable science-based approaches to managing the food-energy-water nexus. These engagements include the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation.