Using Artificial Intelligence to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Over a decade ago, ‘A Low Carbon Water Industry in 20501 ’report was issued by the Environment Agency as part of its Resource Efficiency Programme. It was a response to the Climate Change Act, which imposed a legally binding target of reducing, by 2050, UK greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from their 1990 levels. How is the industry shaping up to reach this goal?

The report identified energy use as the water industry’s main source of CO2e. With the recent spike in energy costs, now more than ever is a good time to look at how wastewater treatment power consumption can be reduced. Whilst the industry has made progress in reducing the consumption of imported electricity through increased use of biogas from sludge digestion, it has done little to address the overall carbon footprint. Reducing electricity consumption of treatment process is a key area to target.

Aeration in activated sludge plants is the largest consumer of electricity in the industry, and the Environment Agency’s report suggested that the way forward would be to reduce the use of aeration by means of greater understanding of microbial processes and process controls.

Reducing Aeration Energy Consumption with AI

Traditional aeration control systems rely on dissolved oxygen (DO) measurement and blower control, but artificial intelligence has improved this process. Round the clock analysis of real time data, allows the AI control system to continuously optimise process performance. The system uses a dynamic DO control strategy and is able to manage a multitude of factors including; aeration and non-aeration cycles, pressure, valve opening degree and flushing. This approach has proven to reduce aeration energy consumption by up to 40%: a significant reduction in carbon footprint and operating cost.

Powerful real time data analysis combined with classic mathematical models, pattern recognition and fuzzy logic means that the intelligent control system can continuously optimise performance to ensure that treated effluent quality is always met while minimising energy and chemical consumption.

Find out about CREA® intelligent control systems.


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