NHP Electrical Engineering: controlling pumps and scarcity

NHP Electrical Engineering Smart Motor Control systems provide real-time operational disruption data and energy efficient pumping to wastewater facilities.

Australia’s dry and inconsistent climate poses a challenge to water security. As a consequence, increasing the capacity of wastewater recycling facilities is vital to mitigating resource scarcity and increasing climate resistance.

Recycling wastewater can ease pressure on water resources and avoid the need to discharge the material into the environment.

Managing masses of liquid can be challenging, however, given the rheological makeup of the material.

For wastewater facilities to operate effectively, they require centralised pumping systems supported by reliable motor control.

Power distribution, automation and motor control specialists NHP Electrical Engineering Products (NHP) have been operating in the wastewater space for decades.

Michael Liberatore, NHP Automation, Safety and Motor Control Business Manager, says within the digitised modern world, it’s important that NHP can deliver customer-focused Industrial Internet of Things initiatives and tools.

“Water is an essential input that feeds the production cycle of almost all other industries,” Michael says.

“In the contemporary climate, where limited water resources and concerns about the environmental impact of electricity production are real, innovation is central to success.”

According to Michael, Smart Motor Control is one of many innovative solutions supported by the company. He adds that efficient motor control enables application flexibility, as well as higher productivity and workplace safety.

“At the core of this are inventive solutions that provide a reliable supply of water to minimise network upgrade disruptions and optimise capital investment.”

Michael says Smart Motor Control supports secure wastewater networks by enabling real-time monitoring and asset management. Additionally, he says 75 per cent of motor control failures can be prevented by applying appropriate protection measures.

“Efficient motors drive wastewater management performance, and the impact of motor failure can be significant,” he explains.

“With Smart Motor Control devices, clients can improve productivity and help avoid motor failures with an integrated, data-driven approach.”

Michael says the technology diagnoses problems early and identifies where they are, which allows clients to transform data into actionable information to reduce production losses.

Michael says Smart Motor Control systems minimise energy expenditure by reducing overall system power requirements and wear and tear on equipment.

“Smart Motor Control can be easily integrated into clients’ existing motor control systems to offer higher productivity and shorter downtimes,” he explains.

Be it pumping station treatment plants or pipelines, Michael says NHP can provide complete solutions for the most complex water and wastewater applications.

NHP offers a complete portfolio of Smart Motor Control solutions, from simple fixed and variable speed control to precise torque and position control.

“With Smart Motor Control Devices, energy consumption can be monitored on each motor individually at any point,” he explains.

“Our Smart Motor Control solution helps customers achieve advanced pressure and flow control, including soft start, stop capabilities and energy savings.”

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Veolia signs $170 million NZ contract

Veolia has signed a $17 million per year contract to operate and maintain council-owned water services company Wellington Water’s four wastewater treatment plants.

Wellington Water’s Chief Executive Colin Crampton said the 10-year contract marked the start of a new and exciting focus for Wellington’s wastewater.

“We need to start thinking of wastewater treatment by-products as a resource, and Veolia is a leading company in this area,” Mr Crampton said.

“Veolia already has a long history of involvement in the region, having operated Wellington City’s Moa Point and Western wastewater treatment plants since 2004.”

Mr Crampton said progressively, all four treatment plants will be brought under one contract.

“This will not only provide better value for the region, but also increase opportunities for improved services in the future,” he says.

Veolia General Manager New Zealand Alexandre Lagny said the contract would allow Veolia to deliver better environmental outcomes for the Wellington region.

“Veolia operates approximately 3000 wastewater treatment plants globally and we look forward to bringing our international expertise to Wellington,” Mr Lagny said.

“Wastewater treatment is actually the area where the greatest technological innovation is taking place when it comes to three waters management.”

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Tracking sludge flow for better wastewater treatment

A new way of tracking how sewage sludge flows during thermal treatment could help engineers design better wastewater treatment plants and boost the production of biogas.

Researchers at RMIT University have demonstrated how the flow behaviour of sludge can be used as a tool to gauge how quickly organic matter is dissolving at high temperatures, suggesting the potential for online monitoring.

Traditional methods of assessing thermal treatment performance require time-consuming sampling and chemical analysis,  rheology calculations however – which measure and detail how liquids flow – can be done in real time online.

The study, published in Water Research, found a correlation between how sludge dissolves and changes in its flow behaviour, indicating it may be possible to monitor thermal treatment performance simply by tracking flow.

Lead investigator Associate Professor Nicky Eshtiaghi said correctly estimating the rheological parameters of sludge is critical to efficient process design.

“Our technique enables engineers and plant operators to conveniently obtain these parameters without having to perform the measurements at high temperatures themselves,” Ms Eshtiaghi said.

“We hope the research encourages more serious consideration of flow behaviour in optimising and designing high pressure and high temperature sludge-handling processes.”

The new technique can measure flow behaviour without destroying samples, often a big challenge for concentrated sludge data collection.

The study also shows that varying the thickness of sludge has little impact on the effectiveness of thermal treatment, meaning plant operators could potentially increase biogas production by increasing the solid content of sludge during initial treatment processes.

“Thicker sludge can be beneficial for both optimising efficiency overall, and for producing more biogas,” Ms Eshtiaghi said.

“With our discovery that the thickness of sludge makes no difference, this research gives plant operators more flexibility in designing processes that can better exploit the renewable energy potential of wastewater sludge treatment.”

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Community comments called for Australian Paper WtE facility

EPA Victoria has called for further community consultation on Australian Paper’s proposal to develop a large-scale waste to energy facility.

The company has provided the EPA with a health impact assessment to support its application to develop the facility within the boundaries of its site in Maryvale, Latrobe Valley.

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The proposed plant would generate both steam and electricity which can be directly in the paper mill or exported to the grid. It would replace two gas-fired boilers and would produce around 30 megawatts of electricity and 150 tonnes of steam per hour.

The EPA’s assessment of the applications will consider issues such as best practice technology, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, waste fuel composition, compliance with waste hierarchy, potential risks to human health and the environment from air, noise, disposal of fly ash, wastewater treatment and operational contingencies.

It follows a community public meeting held earlier in July, which found there was significant support for the proposals, with many submitters commenting the technology is already operating safely overseas, there are environmental benefits of less waste going to landfill and economic benefits of local job creation.

EPA Development Assessments Director Tim Faragher said the works approval application was originally open for public comment in June and EPA received 115 submissions.

“EPA also ran a community conference in July to hear concerns from those that made submissions. This further consultation period allows interested community members to make further comments on the new information that Australian Paper has submitted,” Mr Faragher said.

When making a final determination, the EPA will also consider all public submissions and the outcomes of the community conference.

SA Government commits to wastewater infrastructure

The South Australian Government will commit $4 million per annum to help councils build wastewater treatment systems.

The $47 million funding agreement will allow regional communities to access new community wastewater management systems.

The Minister for Local Government Geoff Brock and Local Government Association (LGA) President Lorraine Rosenberg co-signed the partnership agreement, which commits $4 million of state government funds indexed annually to the program.

The program supports councils to build modern wastewater treatment systems that address critical public health and environmental needs, and provide the necessary infrastructure for those communities to pursue economic development opportunities.

The funding allows councils to deliver the service at a cost equivalent to that which SA Water users pay.

The CWMS program provides funds to the LGA to support the installation of new communal wastewater management systems in regional towns where urban sewer systems are not provided by SA Water.

Local Government currently operates 172 community wastewater management systems in 45 councils and authorities across the state.

Over the past decade, the state government has allocated more than $38 million with local communities contributing more than $20 million since the inception of the current funding agreement in July 2008.

The combined $58.5 million state government and community investment in the CWMS over the past decade has resulted in more than 3000 connections to 11 new wastewater treatment facilities in South Australia.