Acciona has started up the SCREEN (Remote Control System of Energy Efficiency in the Cloud) project, a platform that monitors the energy consumption data of various WWTPs to optimize the efficiency of the plants.
Fourteen wastewater treatment plants were connected in the initial phase, although the system allows for the addition of new installations in the future, anywhere in the world. The ultimate aim is the inclusion of all the wastewater treatment plants operated by Acciona over a timescale of 5 years.
The platform is open to both internal users and Public Administrations, so that they can monitor -in real time and from any device- the operational state of a plant and establish any recommendations or actions that may be required.
How does it work?
SCREEN monitors the energy consumption of wastewater treatment plants according to a series of process variables previously selected by the user: flow rate treated, process flows, input pollutant load, amount of sludge produced, etc.
Users can access ratios, KPIs or any other useful information in a flexible and secure manner.
The application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to the automated production processes in the WWTPs that come under the project means that each one becomes a unit that can send any kind of information to the cloud in a cybersafe and efficiency way.
The data reception system has been deployed in Microsoft Azure.
With a minimum infrastructure that represents a moderate investment, the system is linked to the cloud application via a VPN, and to the plant by segmented networks, which prevents outside access to the plant. If any communication problem arises the system will protect itself by storing the information, thereby guaranteeing data security.
What advantages does SCREEN offer?
The system offers major advantages in the operation and maintenance of the plants, and it also leads to lower energy consumption.
The monitoring of the energy data gives a comprehensive and segregated picture of the electricity consumed in each stage of the process. Thanks to this itemization of consumption, it is possible to act on each stage or element of the system in a precise manner. For example, unusually high consumption levels can be investigated in real time to find out what caused them and to be able to respond more efficiently.
Each control logic can be adjusted to reduce consumption until maximum efficiency is reached. This means considerable savings, in some cases up to 15%.
Links can also be established between different process variables to generate reports or to send alarms.
The result is a comprehensive, customizable system that can be used immediately at a variety of sites and for different contracts to those currently in force.
To implement it in a new WWTP the only thing required is a small IoT (Internet of Things) hardware installation in the plant. This way, any facility anywhere in the world can be part of the project, allowing the remote monitoring of the most useful data and variables. This enables the generation of reports with a simple ‘click’, or the sending of alarms without the need for parallel systems.
The start-up of the SCREEN platform is another step forward in Acciona’s commitment to the end-to-end water cycle. It is a major innovation and improvement in the treatment of wastewater, a field that is characterized by great diversity with different control systems and characteristics, sizes, process variables and sites, and a high level of data processed.