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Sunday, 5 February 2017

Optimising the water cycle through smart technologies

In an interview, Sergej Toews, VP, Strategy & Business Development, Municipal & Industrial segment, Kemira with Chemical Today magazine explains the ‘Internet Of Water’ and also focuses on other technology advancements for water treatment.
By Shivani Mody
“Internet Of Water”
Internet of water is a key concept in our strategy for advanced water treatment. It includes both the hardware infrastructure and software applications of our chemistries to improve water quality and quantity management. We believe that this is the future of water treatment. By combining the water treatment operations and smart technologies, we are able to monitor and analyse water usage, adjust all operations to exact needs and meet the right levels regarding quality and quantity to serve both industry and consumers. Internet of water is addressing some of the main challenges societies around the world are facing today and in the future. For the consumer, Internet Of Water could build a bridge between water usage and its true value.
Water is an undervalued commodity!
Water is often treated as a simple commodity. If you ask a person on the street what is the monetary value of 1 cubic metre of water, most people would not know the answer. On the other hand, we all know how much a litre of petrol costs at the gas station or what is the price of a litre of milk. Why is the value of water not visible to us? Maybe because the volume or value is not quantified in detail. You take water from the tap, and soon it disappears into the sink. How many of us pay attention to how it was delivered to your household and what happens after it vanishes into the sink? What if we could see and track the entire water cycle – would that change our perceptions?
Advanced water treatment technologies.
Advanced water treatment is a combination of chemistries, the related process expertise and intelligence that is used to monitor and control the water treatment facilities. It’s about understanding what kind of chemistry is needed for the treatment of water, in the right place and quantity and at the right time. Ultimately, it is about helping the customer save energy and costs while enabling them to improve their water quality and quantity.
Considering use of advanced water treatment technologies, in industrial water treatment, water is seen as a cost element. Smart technologies are rather well-established in process water treatment and other industrial operations.
Sectors to see adoption for Advanced Water Treatment (AWT).
Municipalities have been quite slow adopters of these modern technologies. Currently, we see signals that the time is now right for a broad roll-out of advanced water treatment applications in the municipal area as well.
The fastest growing markets for AWT are in the raw and wastewater treatment applications. These are the areas where the implementation has been limited and is now speeding up.
Kemira water treatment and growth expectations from smart technologies.
Kemira is a €2.4 billion global chemicals company serving customers in water-intensive industries. We provide expertise, application know-how and chemicals that improve our customers’ water, energy and raw material efficiency. One of our three business segments supports municipalities and water intensive industries in optimising every stage of their water cycle.
What comes to optimising the water cycle, we offer leading application expertise and technologies for raw water, wastewater and sludge treatment, and the most comprehensive portfolio of water treatment chemicals.
We are planning to increase the share of AWT technologies in our portfolio considerably mid-term. The vision is to make all customers’ water treatment processes that involve Kemira products and technologies smart and digitally optimised.
Customer benefits of AWT technologies.
For example, we offer an odour control solution. The sewage systems in hot climates tend to generate very bad odours. In the past, odour control was addressed by overdosing chemicals just to be sure that the problem was solved. We can offer more advanced odour control technology. We install measurement units upstream and downstream in the system and measure the sulphur based chemicals before they are actually formed in the sewage system. Then we automatically dose the chemicals into the system using remote monitoring and algorithms to find the right dosage. The customer gets an odourless sewage system and saves in operating costs.
Developing conventional water treatment process.
The conventional water treatment operations are costly with high energy and chemicals consumption. Energy costs can be up to 50 percent of all the costs. The treatment methods used are based on manual adjustments of the parameters like aeration pumps, and chemicals dosage is based on manual water tests carried out through the day. The majority of municipalities are overdosing to be on the safe side with the contaminants limits. In some situations, like with heavy rainfalls, even though precautions are taken, the water works are not able to treat the water sufficiently and they are forced to overrun the contamination limits.
If all the water inflow and outflow would be measured constantly and real-time by sensors producing data about the Ph levels, Oxygen, nutrients, Phosphates, Nitrates, sludge dryness and pathogens, the data would enable the water works to adjust and optimise their operations accordingly. Efficiency and costs are just one aspect of this. Improving water quality and balance for the future is another factor - potentially a more powerful one. Both aspects improve the quality of life in our societies around the world.
Read More: Optimising the water cycle through smart technologies

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