Water resource recovery facilities (WRRF’s), formerly referred to as wastewater treatment plants, are associated with large energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The optimization of aeration, a necessary component of biological treatment of wastewater, is largely recognized as prime factor in the reduction of energy consumption and cost of treatment. The dynamic demand/response system in this project considers the real effects of diurnal variations in wastewater production, hence of the wastewater on aeration efficiency, and reduces the energy required and cost to treat wastewater.
Real-time process information from the aeration stage of wastewater treatment substantially improves the opportunity for operators to make informed decisions on WRRF operations; thereby increasing process capacity and reducing the energy required to meet water quality goals.
The flow of energy and water are intrinsically interconnected within both water distribution/treatment and power generation. Scarcity, unreliability, and uncertainty in the water supply create significant vulnerabilities in civil and military infrastructure. Hence, recognizing energy savings and power demand reduction as an untapped resource, the project team plans to have a combination of hardware and software that can empower treatment operators reclaim such potential and benefits.
This Demand Response Oxygen Transfer Efficiency Plus (DROTE+) technology is the culmination of two decades of research and operation supported by numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and technical conferences. Currently, there is no technology available on the market that offers the capability of the DROTE+. The economic benefit of this technology will be visible almost immediately through observable reductions in consumption of electrical power by the aeration blowers. This was demonstrated at full scale and presented at the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition 2019 Conference (Pasini et al  “Long Term Aeration Power and Energy Monitoring via Fully Automated Telemetric Off-Gas Analysis”).
When applicable Department of Defense treatment sites adopt the DROTE+ technology, the total potential savings are estimated at approximately 37 giga watt hours per year of three-phase power. With power costing on average $0.08 United States Dollar(USD)/kilo watt hour (kWh), annual cost savings in the range of $3 million USD are expected. However, this average does not portray the full picture. This technology also provides a predictive ability for treatment operators, enabling them to change their process and equipment settings to lower power demand, while maintaining the desired level of treatment.