Vitens, the largest drinking water company in the Netherlands successfully realised energy savings on its critical pumps using Samotics’ SAM4 Energy in a proof-of-value pilot. This demonstrated how the energy efficiency of existing equipment can be significantly increased using smart analytics. The achieved results contribute to Vitens’ commitment to securing a robust and sustainable drinking water supply by 2030, reflected in its ‘Every Drop Sustainable’ strategy.
Reducing energy consumption and emissions plays a key role in this journey for Vitens, especially in light of climate change issues, a volatile energy market, and rising energy prices. Pumps are the lifeblood of Vitens’ daily operations with majority of electricity consumption used in groundwater extraction and clean water distribution. Improving pump performance and efficiency will therefore have a positive impact on Vitens’ operations in reducing energy consumption, costs and environmental impact.
To be able to continuously supply reliable and affordable drinking water, Vitens requires a vast drinking water infrastructure. At the heart of this are thousands of pumps including borehole pumps and clean water distribution pumps. In 2021, energy consumption across the Vitens network amounted to 171 GWh. It has been estimated that across industry globally up to 40% of energy used by industrial equipment driven by electric motors is wasted due to operational inefficiencies, process-machine mismatches, and developing damage.
Since 2010, Vitens has been working on the innovation program SLIMM, which stands for Self Learning Integrated Model based Management. The aim of this project is to digitise and automate water network management processes, so that the quality of the drinking water produced and distributed can be continuously controlled, and as efficiently and effectively as possible. One key element of the Hoenderloo pilot was to determine if Samotics advanced analytics solution could be integrated with Vitens’ SLIMM system, which was successful.
A combined Samotics analytics solution was implemented for continuous monitoring of all 17 pumps at the Hoenderloo production facility (9 borehole pumps and 8 clean water distribution pumps). This consisted of: energy sensors, which were installed inside the motor control cabinet for the pumps to gather electrical data; a gateway for initial signal processing and distribution; and access to Samotics’ benchmark analytics platform to transform this electrical data into asset performance/efficiency recommendations. With no sensors needing to be installed on any of the pumps themselves, the installation could be performed quickly and data analytics could commence.
A focus was placed on three clean water distribution pumps that form the core of a pumping station that distributes clean water to Otterlo/Ede located not far from the Hoenderloo production facility. These pumps are critical to the supply of water to customers during both peak and non-peak times.
Operational insights benefits include:
- The SAM4 Energy platform informed Vitens that two larger pumps were often used inefficiently to supply flow rates that could be independently covered far more efficiently by the smaller pump.
- SAM4 Energy further determined that a significant part of the energy losses were due to the mode of operation introducing operational efficiency losses in the pump and associated electric motor accounting for about 10% of total efficiency losses
Financial and environmental benefits include:
- Advised by the SAM4 Energy, Vitens implemented two simple setting changes to achieve more efficient pumping during low-flow periods
- The total pump station efficiency improved by 7.1%, taking into account the distribution of running time, pressure and flow in the old and new situations.
- This translates to yearly electricity savings of €2,500 across the three pumps and an associated reduction of 9.2 tonnes of CO2 based on energy reduction alone.
– Rein Wuestman, Process Engineer, Vitens
We are seeing that most energy is consumed at Vitens by pumps to distribute clean water to our customers. We have seen very quickly from this SAM4 pilot that there is a lot to gain from improving the pumps’ operational efficiency and thereby reduce their energy consumption while still meeting demand.