United Utilities’ Research & Development team have a track record of seeking innovative solutions from process industries – they are not afraid to ‘think outside the box’. Perceptive Engineering offered a potential solution to the dilemma of lowering energy costs without compromising on quality.
Using historical process data, Perceptive Engineering constructed a robust model able to predict plant behaviour and the impact of disturbances on performance. The model assesses the quality of signals taken from the plant, determining which are reliable and which should be discounted from future control decisions. The final control scheme is able to reconstruct missing or unreliable data, enabling optimal operation to be maintained even if some critical signals are lost.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT
This collaborative project was intended as a ‘proof of concept’ trial, but its success has meant full installation at the Lancaster Wastewater Treatment Works and beyond. Average energy saving over 12 months has been 26% when compared with previous best performance, with continuing development offering significantly higher savings and fast return on investment.
United Utilities calculates an annual reduction in equivalent CO2 of more than 250 Tonnes, for this plant alone. Performance is more tightly controlled, with less operator intervention required to maintain optimal operation and ensure high quality treated water discharge.
“The project completed by Perceptive Engineering at Lancaster WWTP has successfully shown that significant reductions in electricity consumption can be achieved through the novel use of statistical monitoring and model based control.”
Dr Sarah Needham, Asset Standards and Innovation, United Utilities