A tool for minimizing the energy demand of drinking water well fields

In Germany 35% of the total energy consumption in water utilities is due to well pumping (Plath et al., 2010). Therefore, a more efficient abstraction, besides the reduction of the carbon footprint, will lead to economic benefits for the operator. Different strategies exist for energy saving both in the operation of well fields as well as with the use of adapted, energy-efficient technical equipment (pumps, pipes, etc.) (Madsen et al., 2009). The objective of this study is the development and testing of a well field optimization tool, which is based on a hydraulic pipe network model (EPANET) but also takes steady-state well drawdown into account. The optimizer, based on coupling EPANET with the programing language R, simulates automatically the different optimization strategies (e.g. smart well field management, pump renewal) and evaluates their impact on the energy demand. The developed well field model was tested for a case study in France and predicted the measured energy demand with an error of less than 2%. The identified energy saving potential found by the optimizer reaches up to 17% in case of implementing only smart well field management and close to 50% combining the latter option with pump renewal.

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