Those of you familiar with me are probably aware that I have operated a sustainability-focused Twitter feed for about a year and half (http://twitter.com/djgreenfield). I started this feed because it was clear that, for much of the stated and forthcoming corporate and government sustainability/green goals to be achieved, advanced automation and control technologies would be centerpieces of any successful solution. Therefore, a Twitter feed devoted to the subject seemed to make sense for the industry. More evidence supporting this idea arrived in my email today.
The announcement came from GE Intelligent Platforms, noting that the business unit had signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) focusing on connecting dissimilar data sources into a software-based platform to improve decision-making and operational efficiencies across a water system.
“The U.S. municipal water industry collectively consumes 4% of the total U.S. power generation,” said Thomas Speth, acting division director for NRMRL’s Water Supply and Water Resources Division in Cincinnati. “Therefore one of the goals of this CRADA is to reduce energy consumption by 10% to 15%, which will have a positive impact on reducing green house gas emissions. Also, since electrical generation is the largest water user in the U.S., the reduction in demand would help better manage water resources.”
A critical part of the project entails the transfer of past and ongoing R&D results, as well as intellectual properties of all of the parties, into real-world applications. These advances will be developed and integrated with proprietary technologies that GE and PDA Design, a Greer, S.C.-based green technology think tank and solution provider, have related to sensor networking, wireless and wire-based multi-platform data communication protocols, real-time process equipment control, and data warehousing and mining technologies.
GE says its Proficy software and PACSystems controllers will be core to the combined technology solution, which is expected to go into pilot testing in late 2010.
To deliver a cost effective, commercially viable solution for a predictive real-time energy and quality monitoring/control platform in municipal drinking water distribution, the resulting package is expected to feature the following technologies:
- Open communication architectures featuring Ethernet networking for high availability and bandwidth to transfer large amounts of information or quickly stream small amount of data frequently.
- Support of mixed systems for interconnection with existing equipment and to allow for stage deployment or upgrades.
- Scalable deployment employing a building block method of interconnecting software and hardware products.
- Leverage numerous methods of data collection including simple data collectors and low cost instrumentation.
- Software calculation functionality to allow for the approximation of missing data sources.
For more information: www.ge-ip.com/industries/water-and-wastewater.