Real-Time System Optimization for Sustainable Water Transmission and Distribution

2008 - 2013
Team Leader
Carol Miller
Wayne State University
Project Website

Municipal water systems will reduce air pollution and other water use impacts thanks to this team’s software and training programs. The team will design algorithms that automatically direct pumps to operate at times when the electric power grid is supplied by the cleanest available sources of energy, and avoid times when it is supplied by more polluting sources. Water is used most in the mornings and early evenings. Water system operators must provide enough water to maintain pressures in the face of these changing demands. The team is exploring how to change the timing and distribution of this pumping activity to use less polluting power more efficiently. The team will develop and test these technologies in Southeast Michigan and provide its products to all basin utilities free of charge.

The team determined that most water utilities use hydraulic optimization tools, which demonstrates hands on knowledge of technical computer applications. Few, however, have any energy management—much less emissions management—plans in place. Many of these utilities indicated their interest in the pump optimization software, noting that deployment costs could be a significant barrier to implementation and that savings due to more efficient use of energy is attractive. Several volunteered to be “beta” test sites. The team has made significant progress using novel approaches to determine the amount of emissions reduced as a result of reduced power demand.

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