"Energy efficiency in water supply systems".

Paula JunqueiraElliot Cloud Brazil's Project Manager for Sanitation 4.0

Innovative' project
Globally, electricity prices are becoming increasingly high, which requires the promotion of responsible and efficient use of resources. In this regard, energy conservation policy and best practices are of global importance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) associated with the 2030 Agenda. Some of them aim to achieve "Sustainable Cities and Communities", "Affordable and Clean Energy" and "Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure".

Electricity consumption is indispensable in the management and operation of water supply and sewerage systems and generates considerable operational expenditure. So much so that energy expenditure is the second or third most important item in the budget of sanitation companies.

For Sabesp, the world's fourth largest sanitation company, according to Milton Tomoyuki Tsutiya, administrative facilities account for only 2% of the total electricity cost and operational water and sewerage facilities account for 98%. It is estimated that at least 90% of the cost is due to water lifting stations.

In this respect, initiatives that promote the optimisation and efficiency of electricity consumption become a priority in basic sanitation companies and programmes that use innovation and technology are in line with these initiatives.

In this context and in order to meet these challenges, in 2021, work began on Sabesp the development of innovative ideas using the Design Thinking method as the basis of the process. The objective of this project was to arrive at a prototype that contemplated all the attributes of innovation, providing quantitative indicators and the certainty of the project's exponential growth potential. Thus was born the energy efficiency project in the management of pumping equipment in water supply systems.

Evolution towards sanitation 4.0

The "Innovative" project has used the concept of sanitation 4.0 and Elliot Cloud has contributed to achieving the objectives and constant improvement within this initiative.

The aim of the 'Innovative' project has been to manage the activation of the pumps supplying the tanks in order to save electricity costs. According to previous estimates, up to 54% of energy savings could be achieved at the time when the energy tariff was at its highest.

The 'Innovative' project has been divided into three phases:

  1. Prediction of the optimum water tank level when the pumps are switched off.
  2. Prediction of the optimum level in the period when the pumps should be switched off, in this case from 18:00 to 21:00 hours. In other words, the amount of water in the reservoir in the selected period must be sufficient to guarantee the availability of water for the population.
  3. Prediction of optimal pump flow to ensure that the reservoir is at an adequate level at the time the pumps are switched off.

In this sense, the ideal characteristics of the water supply system for your application and telemetry data from the equipment are: the reservoir level; the pumps supplying the reservoirs (status on/off); the reservoir inflow and the reservoir outflow.

According to previous estimates, up to 54% of energy savings could be achieved with the "Innovative" project," he said.

The platform allows the user to observe the level of the reservoir in metres and its variation over the selected period (Figure 1). The selected point collects the information on the optimum level that the reservoir should have at 18 hours. This prediction will ensure the supply of the population without the replenishment of water to the reservoir in the period from 18:00 to 21:00 hours.

Reservoir level forecast Nova Trieste - Jarinu

In addition, the reservoir inflow (light green), the reservoir outflow (dark green) and the real-time reservoir inflow forecast (dotted line) can be observed. The reservoir inflow forecast aims to ensure the appropriate reservoir level (figure 2) at the time when energy costs the most, in this case from 18:00 to 21:00. The thick vertical line indicates an alert with data problems.

Flow (inflow/outflow) from Nova Trieste - Jarinu reservoir

An alert is also displayed when the artificial intelligence mechanisms indicate that pumping will not be able to reach the expected level (Figure 3).

Insufficient capacity alarm - CRTA nova Trieste

Once demand forecasting, artificial intelligence and the functional resources available in the Elliot Cloud platform for water supply systems have been realised, it is possible to develop asset management. This enables optimisation of energy use in water supply systems, generating cost savings and thus increasing the availability of financial resources for other investments.

All this information can be managed and analysed through a solution called Elliot Water. However, it should be noted that the evolution of these initiatives is constant and runs in parallel with the improvements that are made to the energy efficiency process on a daily basis.

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