A partnership of water companies and industry providers is poised to create what is described as the world’s first carbon-neutral wastewater treatment plant, powered by digital twin technology.
Led by Severn Trent Water and based at Strongford, Stoke-on-Trent, the ambitious project, known as the ‘Net Zero Hub,’ aims to tackle direct process emissions from the bacterial digestion of wastewater for the first time.
The innovative initiative has received £10 million in funding from the Ofwat Innovation Fund, and additional investments from Horizon Europe and Severn Trent, totaling £28 million.
The ‘Net Zero Hub’ seeks to reduce and remove emissions of CO2, CH4, and N2O, which currently account for a significant 57% of all emissions in the wastewater treatment process.
To achieve this, the project will deploy state-of-the-art technology, including Siemens gPROMS digital twin, which models the water treatment process in real time using 60,000 dynamic and static data points.
This cutting-edge digital twin will enable operators to closely monitor energy consumption and emissions while ensuring compliance with effluent quality permit conditions.
The Siemens gPROMS technology, originally designed for the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries at Imperial College London, has found new applications in the water industry, showcasing the potential of cross-industry innovation.
Adam Cartwright, Head of IoT Applications at Siemens UK & Ireland, stressed the significance of such projects as catalysts for change in the water industry’s approach to technology and collaboration.
The ‘Net Zero Hub’ is set to be completed by 2024 and promises to serve as a blueprint for net zero wastewater treatment.
This transformative collaboration highlights the potential of digital twin technology to revolutionize environmental sustainability practices in the water industry and beyond.