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ACCIONA opts for automation and control solutions for smart management of wastewater plants

  • ACCIONA opts for automation and control solutions for smart management of wastewater plants
    Companheira WWTP

About the entity


ACCIONA, in line with its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and digital transformation, has developed an automation and control system for its wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Portugal. This system, based on proprietary applications and platforms, enables the intelligent and sustainable management of the plants.

Urban wastewater treatment accounts for approximately 1% of energy consumption in Europe. Additionally, energy is the main operational cost of the treatment process, representing between 40-50% of total costs. Small treatment plants (<15,000 m³/d) have the greatest optimization potential, with estimates suggesting a 15-18% reduction in energy consumption for these types of plants.

While commercial solutions exist that optimize the energy consumption of various treatment processes, they require changes to both hardware and software systems to adapt the commercial technologies to the plant's management systems.

Aware of these limitations, ACCIONA developed the project “Control System 4.0 – Advanced Global Control in a Smart WWTP” in Portugal, resulting in a proprietary solution for the intelligent and sustainable management of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). This solution focuses on energy reduction through the optimization of the aeration system and nutrient removal, optimization of sludge dehydration, and reduction and control of odours. The innovative potential of this project was recently recognized by the National Innovation Agency in Portugal.

Control System 4.0

ACCIONA has implemented “Control System 4.0” in several wastewater treatment plants in the Algarve (Portugal), each with different processes and systems, as the goal is to make the solution versatile and easy to replicate in any WWTP. Thus, Control System 4.0 has enabled benefits such as improved oxygen transfer from the conventional activated sludge line or reduced energy consumption associated with aeration in biological treatment. It also allows for increased dry matter content in dehydrated sludge, reduced consumption of polyelectrolytes, and minimized odours in the dehydration room through new equipment.

This system also enhances the reliability of treated water quality in the tertiary sector, minimizes energy consumption in the biological treatment stage, and reduces the cost of electrical energy in the sand and grease removal process, among other improvements.

Achieving these benefits allows ACCIONA to have advanced control over each of its WWTPs and thus advance towards excellence in the management and operation of its assets.

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