- Register


Home>INDUSTRY FOCUSES>Water>Smarter working in utilities & water

Smarter working in utilities & water

04 January 2016

The gradual move towards ‘smart’ technologies, in factories, homes, buildings, cities and energy grids, has created new industry demands in terms of power generation, usage, quality and protection

Many buildings now use multiple energy sources, complementing traditional grid power with renewable energy including solar photovoltaic panels or wind energy. Building and industrial automation advancements have also created the need for more flexibility in terms of device connectivity and power management, slowly but surely nudging everyone into the Industry 4.0 age. All these factors, combined with advanced industry standards for higher safety and energy efficiency, have led to the development of a new generation of safer, more flexible and more powerful switchboards.

Boulting Technology quickly reacted to the industry trend by designing and manufacturing a new range of low voltage switchboards that would accommodate heavy electrical loads in commercial buildings. The product responds to increased energy efficiency demands and growing energy costs and is suitable for applications with current rating up to 6300 Amp and 100kA fault rating.

Boulting’s new low voltage switchboard is intended for projects that involve the management of large amounts of critical power coming into a site. It is ideally suited to applications including new builds in the construction market, office buildings, industrial premises, hospitals, stadiums, university campuses, utilities, power stations and more.

A close-knit collaboration between ABB and Boulting was at the very heart of the project and accounted for the quality of the new LV switchboard range. ABB provided its latest generation of circuit breakers, while Boulting designed and tested the new future-proof, fully compliant low voltage switchboard.

In fact, Boulting Technology was the first supplier of low voltage switchboards to see the potential of ABB’s new SACE Emax 2 circuit breaker. The breaker ensures protection from abnormal voltage and frequency loads and monitors power flow and offers greater levels of performance than previous generations of switchgear.

The design of the SACE Emax 2 reduces switchboard dimensions by up to 25 per cent, making it perfect for applications where space is limited, from ships and submarines, to busy urban environments. Because ABB embedded the wiring and software in the breaker, it requires no external relays, current, voltage sensors or multimeters, which results in significant cost savings for both panel builders and users. Furthermore, less wiring also means fewer potential errors and easier troubleshooting.

Connected measurement

The modern grid comes with new engineering challenges. In the UK, as renewable energy resources are being used to supplement fossil fuel production, power quality issues are surfacing. Combine this with the rapidly increasing demand for energy and the decommissioning of fossil fuel plants, and grid operators are finding that traditional measurement systems do not offer adequate coverage to handle these new challenges and manage the new risks the industry faces.

Knowing it could not fix what it could not measure, National Grid UK adopted a platform, based on the CompactRIO system, that can provide more measurements and also adapt with the evolving grid for generations to come.

This interconnected network includes 136 systems, with 110 permanently installed in substations throughout England and Wales and 26 portable units that provide on-the-go spot coverage as needed. The software application running on both versions is identical, which minimises the impact on system integration, training, and support.

National Grid UK selected the NI platform to develop a flexible, powerful, and connected measurement system capable of gathering and analysing large amounts of data to better detect grid-wide trends. Compared to its existing infrastructure, implementing a smarter, more connected system allows National Grid UK to manage change, optimise energy sources, and plan for the future grid.

With an open, flexible, software-designed instrument, National Grid UK engineers can customise the information available for grid operation and easily make upgrades as needs change. This approach improves grid monitoring and reliability while reducing the amount of equipment needed. Additionally, with the advanced processing power of CompactRIO, National Grid UK can easily maintain its network of connected systems and push intelligence down the grid to turn massive amounts of raw data into bits of useful information, keeping the lights on for millions of businesses and homes throughout the United Kingdom.

Waterworks modernisation

A water treatment works (WTW) in South Wales has had its control system completely upgraded, without disruption of supply to the population of around 70,000 people it serves.

The Nantybwch WTW, owned and operated by DCWW, has been supplying potable water to the towns of Tredegar, Ebbw Vale and Bargoed in South Wales since the works was first built in 1993. The original control system needed upgrading and local framework system integrator Oasis Software Solutions (OSS), from nearby Monmouth, was brought in to help with design, installation and commissioning. It was realised that enhancements could be made on multiple levels with a new control system, for which Welsh Water selected state-of-the-art Mitsubishi Electric technology.

The architecture of the final design provided a system that comprises of two pairs of redundant Mitsubishi Electric Q25 programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in the main works and a Q06 PLC in the pumping station. Each redundant system has two central processor units (CPUs) and a mix of traditional I/O and remote I/O. The remote I/O is connected in a number of different networks, some using fibre optic MELSECNet/ H and others using Profibus.

Mitsubishi Electric Q Series PLCs are designed to provide a high functionality platform for automation, suitable for a wide range of applications across the full spectrum of industrial sectors. Of particular interest to the water industry, they can offer a high level of system redundancy, which ensures complete immunity to process interruptions caused by power or system failures. This is achieved by using a fully redundant architecture, which duplicates processors and network links. Hot-swap capability provides an operational level of redundancy.

Ambitious optimisation

With wastewater treatment plants facing the compliance with EU standards, more and more water treatment facilities across Europe are investing in ambitious optimisation projects to enhance energy efficiency and productivity. One example of this is the new wastewater plant that serves the city of Lille, France. To maximise the new facility’s efficiency, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies turned to Atlas Copco’s blowers equipped with WEG’s state-of-the-art motors and drives.

To ensure the smooth running of the facility while enhancing its efficiency and productivity, OTV chose to equip each basin with Atlas Copco’s ZS Premium compressors driven by WEG’s high efficiency W22 electric motors and CFW11M variable speed drives adapted to suit the customer’s needs.

The W22 motors offer 355kW of power and the modular variable speed drives are made from 400-kW power modules. When combined, variable speed drives of up to 2MW can be achieved, which is essential to control the Lille plants’ powerful and rapidly changing flow. By using a special transformer, WEG was also able to connect 12-pulse variable speed drives, resulting in less harmonic interference and thus higher energy efficiency. "This enables the plant to control the flow over a broad range - from 2,700 Nm³/h to 23,000 Nm³/h - at an excellent and relatively constant level of efficiency," explains Patrick Binjamin of Atlas Copco.

W22 motors and CFW11 drives are specifically designed for a wide range of water and industrial applications. In particular, they are a great fit for a variety of blowers which are commonly used in wastewater treatment plants, the food processing industry, the drinks industry and in chemical processes.

Global challenge

By 2050, the United Nations projects global water demand to increase by 55% and in just 10 years, 50% of global population is expected to live in water stressed areas. Increasing demand for water also leads to growing energy consumption, which affects the climate.

Danfoss offers solutions to help countries and municipalities worldwide save water and energy within water supply, wastewater treatment and irrigation of farming areas. For example, the company has supported Denmark in becoming one of the pioneering countries in the water and energy field. The country has grown its economy by 80% since 1980, while reducing water consumption by nearly 40%, and keeping energy use at the same level. Structured water management and innovative technologies have contributed to this decoupling of economic growth, water consumption, and energy use.

In municipalities, water and wastewater facilities account for the largest consumption of electricity, typically 25-40% of the local authorities’ total power use. In the Danish city of Aarhus, a local water company has managed to transform a wastewater facility from being just a wastewater plant into also functioning as a combined heat and power plant, delivering an energy surplus. The plant produces 90% more energy than it consumes.

The excess heat is led into the district heating system in the city, thereby reducing its carbon footprint. This is feasible thanks to advanced process optimisation and by using more than 140 variable speed drives from Danfoss as control handles on almost all rotating equipment. Done optimally, this also creates the maximum amount of sludge and carbon. In a digester, it is transformed into gas used for both electricity and heat production.