Wastewater treatment plants consume up to 3% of global energy output, making it essential to improve processes through the latest technologies to increase productivity, reduce energy usage, minimize losses, and optimize the use of chemicals.
In September 2022, the sewerage association Schwarzachgruppe put its energy-intelligent wastewater treatment plant in Schwarzenbruck, Germany into operation.
The new wastewater treatment plant is an environmental innovation showcase project that automatically balances energy consumption and production, requiring an external power supply only rarely or when needed. ABB Ability™ Energy Management and Optimization OPTIMAX® are at the heart of this innovative project, enabling energy efficiency potentials to be exploited and existing energy generation and storage options to be networked, controlled, and optimized.
The integration of the wastewater treatment plant into the grid-serving operation is an essential part of the project. For this reason, the project received funding of €3.9 million from the German government as part of its Environmental Innovation Program.
The ABB Ability™ OPTIMAX® energy management system unlocks efficiency potential at the Schwarzenbruck plant, controlling and optimizing the energy flows. The system helps hydrogen production companies reduce electricity costs by up to 20 percent, increasing the efficiency of energy-intensive electrolyzers used to produce green hydrogen.
Incorporating forecasting and intra-day planning, the solution ensures companies can trade competitively with the grid. ABB’s OPTIMAX® supports every aspect of a hydrogen plant lifecycle, from the simulation at the design and engineering phases to real-time visualization and monitoring when in operation. The software measures bi-directional power flows and carbon dioxide emissions, providing contextual data that operators can use to determine optimal energy consumption levels required to support plant processes and minimize waste.
As a result of this energy-intelligent concept, it is estimated that the plant can save about 300 tons of CO₂ per year. The solution includes a hydroelectric power plant in the wastewater treatment plant outlet, photovoltaic solar panels, two combined heat and power plants using the sewage gas, electricity storage in batteries, sewage gas storage, heat storage (hot water storage), and the coupling of the various storage units for the continuous provision of energy (thermal or electrical as required).
The ABB Ability™ OPTIMAX® energy management system is a critical tool for unlocking efficiency potential and controlling and optimizing energy flows. The energy-intelligent wastewater treatment plant in Schwarzenbruck, Germany, is an environmental innovation showcase project that automatically balances energy consumption and production, requiring an external power supply only rarely or when needed. The integration of the wastewater treatment plant into the grid-serving operation is an essential part of the project.
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