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Sponsored Studentship Thames Water Utilities


Project description

Optimising the use and production of electrical energy within the water industry through improved utilisation of process control and automation.                

It is proposed that the existing telemetry infrastructure across Thames Water’s sites could be further exploited and optimised to achieve a flexible asset base that can adapt to external influences dynamically with substantial financial and environmental benefits.

This project explores the potential of optimising the existing asset base within a UK water utility. It will set out to utilise the existing assets in a more intelligent and controlled manor and optimise the use of energy both for environmental and economic benefits.

The response to energy from old carbon intensive generation such as coal and gas included the introduction of renewables including wind and solar, however, a market response from the utility companies is still required to ensure they are seen to be reacting, reducing their carbon footprint further, and therefore operating a more cost effective system. This has inevitably led to an increased emphasis on the implementation of demand side electrical energy management.

Currently Thames Water reports an approximate renewable energy capability of 156GWh, utilising 151GWh of this energy by feeding it back into the processes associated with water treatment. The remaining 5GWh is exported to the national grid which alleviates demands from other users.

Renewable generation has contributed a lot towards a more attractive energy model within the utility companies over recent years. However, a revised approach to the way in which the existing assets utilise this energy is required. The answer is not simply just to generate more, by using ‘greener’ methods, there must be an emphasis on how the existing demand can better controlled. Successful investments in energy reduction methods will reduce risk of exposure to volatile power prices and potentially return large savings by responding to markets as effective virtual electrical generators.

Project Duration

1st October 2014 to 30th September 2020


AD Gray, I Pisica, G Taylor, E Katsou, “Optimising the use of electrical energy within the waste water industry through improved utilization of process control and automation”50th International Universities Power Engineering Conference (UPEC), 2015 , UK.