ACCIONA Agua, which operates and maintains the WWTP at La Almunia de Doña Godina (Zaragoza province), has incorporated a series of interconnected technologies and processes to configure a more efficient and autonomous urban wastewater treatment plant.
Among other measures, state-of-the-art probes have been installed in the existing wastewater treatment processes and technological resources based on the Internet of Things (IoT), Information Technologies (IT) and Field Technologies (OT) to optimize operation and maintenance.
All this, together with the development of an in-house control logic, means better supervision of the treatment process and improved energy efficiency of the plant; a new, smarter and more flexible WWTP.
Algorithm-based Artificial Intelligence for process control
In an initial phase, the WWTP was equipped with the latest field measurement instrumentation technologies, new telemetry devices and a new mass data storage system. This provides a reliable database to carry out operational, process and energy calculations.
To optimize process control, five algorithms based on material balances and hydraulic flows have been developed. These interact with each other and give greater autonomy to the WWTP.
Among the main optimized processes that have been incorporated into the WWTP at La Almunia in this initial phase are:
- Prediction of sludge production and quantification of organic matter
- Multi-parameter predictive control of the aeration system
- Dissolved O2 compensation system, minimizing load losses
- Continuous control of the sedimentation of secondary sludge
- Smart dehydration based on dry matter balances
Later, following the installation of these control algorithms, new Industry 4.0 technologies have been incorporated to optimize operation and maintenance tasks, among them:
- APPs in wearable devices with Google Android©, Streamline Video and OCR technologies
- Virtual Reality with HTC VIVE © and UNITY© technologies
- Mixed Reality with Hololens (Microsoft©) and UNITY© technologies
These technologies are tools to train employees and maintain the plant. Thanks to the virtual reality system, operators can get to know the day-to-day tasks of the plant without needing to be physically present. By using mixed reality, operators can monitor the plant in real time and control its operation remotely from any location in the world.
Greater efficiency and autonomy
ACCIONA Agua’s commitment to innovation in the WWTP at La Almunia has led to a considerable improvement in the quality of water discharged, a 15% reduction in sludge production, the optimization of flow recirculation and a reduction in the role of energy in the aeration process.
Not only that, a 21% reduction has been obtained in the total energy cost of the WWTP, substantially improving the energy efficiency of the process, and total autonomy has been achieved in the active sludge process. The plant’s personnel can therefore work exclusively on tasks of predictive and corrective maintenance and conservation.