(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Efficient and effective water management is essential to prevent this vital resource from being wasted or put at risk.
The sector is in great need of a new approach today to make it more efficient and resilient, but the question is: how to act? The answer is Schneider Electric, a multinational company that provides digital solutions for energy management, automation, efficiency and sustainability. The company is one of the big names that since 2019 has created the Water Value Community thanks to its extensive technological experience in improving processes and applications throughout the water cycle and water resource management.
“We are partners of the Water Value Community for Italy since its foundation and in these years, through the comparison with the actors of the supply chain and with the research activity conducted, We have contributed to the evolution of sustainability and digitalization in the sector”, explains Donato Pasquale, Head of Water & Wastewater at Schneider Electric Italia. “The elements that emerge from this observatory highlight how much room for improvement there is, and how important can be the role of utilities in the sector, to transform also the vision of the general public with regard to the issue of water, for example in order to help align behaviours with the high environmental sensitivity demonstrated”.
The Smart Water approach
Schneider Electric, thanks also to the collaboration with important hi-tech companies, has developed an integrated and innovative approachable to respond to the present and future challenges of water management. A modernization strategy condensed in just two words: Smart Water.
As is happening in many industrial sectors, the integrated water cycle has now opened the door to the possibilities offered by the ICT sector. Today, digital solutions help achieve significant energy savings by improving the efficiency of key processes such as water extraction, purification and transport. But although the water-energy nexus is crucial, Schneider’s vision looks further ahead with the goal of making the compartment not only more efficient but also safer and more resilient. By combining intelligent management with process and resource control. Digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence, therefore, become fundamental elements to set the development of the water system on the threefold path of competitiveness, quality and sustainability.
“Citizens do not know what is really beyond the tap: how complex the infrastructure needed to ensure water service, and how much digital technology can do – and is already doing, with many realities also Italian – to bring to citizens water in an increasingly efficient, monitored and controlled, safe, reliable: in perspective, also increasingly transparent towards the end-user“, emphasizes Pasquale.
EcoStruxure by Schneider Electric
In practice, Smart Water technologies can transform conventional water systems into advanced, interconnected and intelligent ecosystems. Making this possible at Schneider is EcoStruxure, an interoperable digital architecture that offers, among other things, solutions capable of managing distribution infrastructures and sewerage systems, optimizing their efficiency, longevity and reliability. The platform also ensures the safety, automation and optimization of wastewater treatment plants and desalination plants. And it does so by protecting the investments already made and the skills put in place.
“Accelerating on this path, which already has to be taken to adapt to the demands of ARERA in terms of digitalization of water data, is an absolutely necessary choice also from the perspective of energy scenarios”, adds the Manager. “Water systems consume a huge amount of electricity, which today has a huge cost increase. Costs that, in a system that reaches the 43% of losses, come supported in good part “in vain”. However, water utilities can effectively use existing technologies to greatly improve the energy efficiency of plants and components. For example with the EcoStruxure platform by Schneider Electric, which has its own specific declination for the integrated water cycle sector, we have collaborated with Veolia Waters in the purification plant of Punta Gradelle, here in Campania (Italy) on the Sorrento coast, which has achieved up to 15% energy savings with the adoption of connected technologies and energy efficiency”.
Future-proof integrated water management
The integrated approach put in place by Schneider Electric is based on a rich package of tools and solutions aimed at increasing the efficiency of the plants, improving the processes of monitoring and asset management, predicting risks, and improving profitability.
How? For example, pushing on automation. The company created EcoStruxure Automation Expert, a software-centric industrial automation platform that makes water and wastewater operations future-proof. EcoStruxure Automation Expert, allows complete lifecycle management, seamless integration of IT/OT services and improved system diagnostics. In other words, operators can gain more control over their systems and reduce operating costs while simplifying future maintenance needs. The platform allows to virtually simulate projects by testing a series of scenarios before the actual realization.
“Data, which with effective and secure connectivity we can collect and transform into operational information useful to all processes, has great innovative and transformative potential,” added Pasquale. “Utilities can use them very effectively today, across the integrated water cycle, to increase resilience to economic phenomena, international crises, and the effects of climate change that we all see as drought. And therefore to help contain the impact of these scenarios on citizens”.