Without a doubt – one of the biggest challenges that the wastewater industry faces today is energy management. Pumps are the largest consumers of electrical energy, full stop and they’re often the biggest liability that wastewater managers deal with each year.
And make no mistake about it – it’s not an easy problem to solve. Pumps play a crucial role in the supply of clean water and the removal of wastewater across any given water network. We have to use them. It’s important that they are ready to run when they’re needed, that they’re effectively maintained and run reliably and most importantly – efficiently.
One of the reasons this expense is so high – is that it’s difficult to control a pump’s BEP (Base Efficiency Point). BEP – is basically the strength of your system. If water is flowing too fast and on low pressure OR low flow and high pressure relative to your system’s BEP – it could cause increased bearing and seal wear and make it so your pump isn’t running efficiently. It’s more wear and tear (maintenance costs) and when the system isn’t running efficiently – that means higher overhead to keep the pump running.
Couldn’t you simply just run water at the same speed? Well, not really. Consumer demand changes depending on usage. What might work in one area of a city, might not work in another. To solve this issue – Variable Frequency Drives (VFD’s) are used so they can effectively move the BEP around to match needs at a given point. So if there’s high demand and usage; it can be adjusted so that you can meet the demand and even the projected demand. That being said – this is a largely manual process and in today’s world – is there a better solution?
As we’ve become a more digital society in general, we now have the means to collect data on our water networks. Collecting this data allows for all sorts of valuable insights – but most important – it helps us identify actionable intelligence. Things like flow trends, energy waste, premature wearing conditions and if/when/where there might be the need for preventative maintenance.
What this does quite simply – is reduce the cost of running your pumps. Wear and tear is drastically reduced meaning there’s less need for maintenance. What wear and tear is discovered – is identified and can be serviced before it becomes an even more costly problem. In some cases – just pointing a tablet at the pump can display pump operating data in an easy to understand format – so what needs to be done is clear. That also means less staff is needed to monitor these pumps and keep them operating optimally.
Instead of manually adjusting pump set points, you can do it remotely in real time. And best of all – it makes sure that unplanned downtime is no longer a thing.
Digital control panels can help reduce your energy expenses dramatically. To learn more about how our solutions can be useful to your water network – give us a call today and we’ll be happy to give you a free consultation. Good luck!