Jared Thorpe (Jacobs New Zealand Ltd)
An ever-growing wealth of data is recorded and stored for water and wastewater systems driven by exponential growth in the availability of sensors and digital networks. Unfortunately, there is still a significant gap between the vast quantity of captured process data and the ability to analyse it effectively to inform decision making. A large proportion of operating data remains trapped and unutilised in storage, providing no value.
This paper describes the application of data analysis techniques on historical operating data to optimise pumping and treatment system operations. We present several project examples where digital operations analysis was applied to discover energy savings and maximise system performance through automation improvements.
Our approach combines water and wastewater engineering expertise with advanced data analysis techniques. We begin by applying system and equipment specific algorithms to process years of operating data and evaluate performance, identifying where improvements could be made. For some systems, current performance may be close to optimal, but for many others significant savings can be achieved through automation improvements including optimised setpoint management, equipment transition control, and control algorithm tuning. If the potential savings offer a compelling return on investment, proposed changes are implemented and verified.
Our application of digital operations analysis has resulted in energy savings of up to 15% and associated carbon emission reductions, increased operating time at steady state and under control, and prolonged equipment life. While many optimisation studies focus on potential capital improvements, automation improvements are relatively low cost, can be implemented immediately, and offer a significant return on investment with payback times often within a few years followed by ongoing annual savings.
With digital operations analysis we can make use of our operating data resources to identify and implement improvements that optimise the performance of our water and wastewater systems.