What is IRONMAN™?
IRONMAN™ is an innovative wastewater treatment control technology based on Artificial Intelligence. It is used to control the addition of iron additives to remove phosphate as part of the wastewater treatment process.
IRONMAN™ is self-managing and easily deployed. Through the optimisation of iron additives, this technology has the potential to save thousands of pounds; benefitting water companies, their customers and the environment.
What are the benefits of IRONMAN™?
How does it work?
IRONMAN™ is an IoT technology with embedded fuzzy-logic AI. It is modular, robust and easily deployed, with an inbuilt communications network and a web-hosted dashboard. A module monitors inlet conditions as a surrogate for phosphate load. Information is relayed to the IRONMAN Hub which decides dosing rates. A further module issues commands to the dosing pumps and monitors pump health.
These low-cost autonomous systems sense, think and act, adapting to changing circumstances. They mimic human reasoning, executing narrow tasks efficiently and safely. This powerful technology can take away the need for expensive human intervention and provide pronounced improvements on current processes and systems for significant cost benefit.
What is the business case for IRONMAN™?
At larger Wastewater Treatment Works, sophisticated processes, sensing and treatment control are in place. Additionally, further investments are more justifiable based on high throughput. The problems of permit reductions are being tackled by new treatment processes and real-time-control, including expensive direct-measurement phosphate monitors.
However, at small WwTW (<50,000 Population Equivalent), the treatment train can be simple and less flexible, and site footprints offer little scope for expansion. Moreover, large investments cannot be justified on throughput and are unaffordable. New phosphate consents mean the common way of using iron additives is becoming exhausted and is very wasteful in an age where resource and energy waste is becoming a focus and less acceptable.
An “insurance approach” is often used at small Wastewater Treatment Works whereby enough iron additive is used to cope with assumed or adverse phosphate loads rather than prevailing conditions. This can result in the overuse of chemicals and is becoming ineffective due to the competing priorities of controlling against phosphate and iron concentration permit levels. Our own detailed analysis has shown that IRONMAN™ will save up to 40% of additive. At a 10,000 population equivalent (PE) site, this would save approximately 80 tonnes per annum of ferric sulphate, equating to £11,000 in chemical costs alone.
When considering the cost of IRONMAN™, this gives a payback of less than 24 months. For 50,000 PE sites, this reduces to less than 6 months. This payback calculation doesn’t consider the brand impact of breaching consents, and the accompanying fines which have increased massively in size in recent years. In terms of capital avoidance, solutions which incorporate local SCADA/RTC using wet-chemistry instruments have associated costs in the order of six figures and more. If treatment processes had to be changed then costs could increase several-fold.
Want to know more?
For more information on IRONMAN™, please contact Dr Kieran Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 272 2270