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Artificial Intelligence – The Future of the UK Water Industry

Most process industries, from oil refining through to pharmaceutical manufacturing, have consistent operating conditions: feedstocks are controlled and production is carefully planned. The water industry’s “feedstock” is whatever comes down the sewer, with huge variations in flow and quality depending on the season, weather and time of day. Even works with the best conventional control systems frequently over- or under-aerate, leading to increased energy costs or performance problems respectively. Similarly, chemical dosing controllers all too often over- or under-dose because they cannot respond quickly enough to changes in influent quality. The industry is an obvious application area for artificial intelligence (AI). AI response is quicker and smarter, anticipating changes in influent conditions and preparing the process for change.

Te-Tech Process Solutions has announced a strategic partnership with Spanish IT developer Createch360 to provide AI-based intelligent control solutions to key clients within the UK water industry. Createch360 has been at the forefront of wastewater treatment plant process control for more than twenty years. Initially they supplied conventional smart control systems which used real time monitoring of process parameters. Then, with their team of IT specialists and water engineers they developed the CREA® operational intelligence platform that supports real-time control and decision making to optimise key wastewater treatment processes, allowing works to achieve quality consent limits with improved reliability and reduced operational costs.

Optimise processes in response to changes in real-time

CREA®uses mathematical models of conventional activated sludge processes together with fuzzy logic, pattern recognition, machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse live data of process parameters and then provide decisions to optimise performance of key wastewater treatment processes in real-time.

The system was so successful that Createch360 developed modules for a wide range of process technologies including; aerobic and anaerobic processes, nutrient removal, Anammox, and sludge digestion and dewatering. They even developed a module for storm water management linked to weather forecasting data. Createch360 now has more than a hundred installations worldwide.

“Continuously optimising process performance ensures that treated effluent quality are always met”, says Createch360’s Business Development Director, David Sabate. “But it also means that the plant uses less resources, reducing carbon footprint. Our customers have reported energy savings of up to 40% and reduced chemical consumptions of up to 35%, all with an average payback of only 1-3 years.”

Te-Tech will combine this state-of-the-art software with their own advanced technologies and products for the wastewater sector. Te-Tech’s Automation, Control & Technology (ACT) department will be introducing and supporting the CREA® modules both in new build works and retrofits. The department is an extremely experienced group of electrical, control, software and process engineers able to bring together specialist hardware, software and world-class engineering to provide process automation solutions for the wastewater industry. They produce Functional Design Specification’s, create software and design and fabricate control panels and Motor Control Centre’s in-house.

Insight into the future of the wastewater sector

Te-Tech’s Business Development Director, Mike Froom, said ‘Optimise’ our complete service incorporating “The CREA® intelligent software will make a huge difference in process performance, carbon reduction and in the continued battle to meet tightening consents for nutrient removal. The platform provides an insight into the future of the wastewater sector with advanced intelligent control systems and will help us face up to the challenges of emerging contaminants in the future.”

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