Leveraging the cloud for better design of water and wastewater treatment plants
By Chaim Kolominskas, Global Head, Water and Waste, Envirosuite and Darren Szczepanski, Product Manager, Smart Water, Envirosuite
Wednesday, 14 April, 2021
For many years, the availability of integrated design and process simulation packages has not serviced industrial, reuse and drinking water plant designs as well as it has for biological treatment plants. Many engineers and designers still rely on manual, repetitive spreadsheet-based processes. When available, design packages are based on mathematical simulation products that have been repurposed from other industries, can be difficult to learn and are often designed for desktop PCs that are limited in terms of processing power, data storage and tools for collaboration. Emerging technologies for industrial water treatment and drinking water are often not covered at all.
Cloud-based products have the potential to deliver significant innovations to treatment plant design packages by leveraging on-demand increases in processing power and storage as well as the ability to work simultaneously on designs, work remotely and integrate workflow and audit trail capabilities that are critical in delivering effective designs.
Identifying the opportunity in drinking water and industrial water treatment design, Envirosuite, with a long history of delivering complex modelling solutions through cloud-based platforms, recently integrated an emerging and innovative technology in the process design market into its EVS Water Portfolio through an acquisition of AqMB, an emerging provider of design and digital twin solutions for the water industry.
“We recognised that there was a real need for better products in the industrial and drinking water design space,” Envirosuite Global Head for Water and Waste Chaim Kolominskas said. “AqMB had embedded strong and deep technical knowledge in a product that serviced a clear gap in the market for engineers and designers of water and wastewater treatment plants, and Envirosuite has demonstrated success in delivering complex environmental modelling solutions that leverage the power of cloud computing around the world. We look forward to delivering this product to engineers and designers around the world over the coming years.”
Cloud-based technology has allowed:
- More rapid integration of emerging models for water and wastewater treatment. Plant Designer covers nearly all current drinking water and industrial water treatment technologies and has recently integrated key treatment models for biological treatment. It is unique to see such broad coverage of treatment processes in the one product.
- The ability to simulate many models simultaneously. This has led to an innovative capability of ‘automated optimisation’ where 1000s of model scenarios are generated before the best fit for target performance is recommended. This leads to significant savings in design times.
- Easier integration and export of engineering deliverables such as equipment sizing, lifecycle costs, material and energy balances and stream properties leading to further design savings.
- Simultaneous design, review and audit trail capabilities facilitating much easier remote working and true collaborative process design.
Importantly, the cloud also makes integration of these deterministic models much easier into broader digital twin applications with the ability to process large volumes of real-time information, and couple with powerful data science and machine learning capabilities to deliver real-time and predictive management to water and wastewater treatment plants once they have been built.
“The cloud allows us to integrate deterministic models and machine learning approaches, which significantly improves forecast accuracy and speeds up implementation time compared to machine learning only approaches,” Product Founder Darren Szczepanski said. “Having a deterministic model baseline also ensures that the model doesn’t drift, giving our customers better confidence in the recommendations for optimisation.
“Having spent 20 years in the water sector, we recognised the caution that the water industry has for artificial intelligence only approaches and wanted to make sure that our products are always grounded in strong, leading science, and we think we’ve struck the right balance with this approach. The emergence of cloud computing has made that all possible.”
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