ACET - Adaptive Control for Energy Efficiency in Wastewater Treatment Plants

Irish Water, which accounts for 21% of public sector electricity consumption, is the largest consumer of electricity in the public sector and have committed to improving energy efficiency by 50% by 2030. Private companies also operate WWTPs which are also challenged to meet energy and carbon emission reductions. In parallel, the sector must face increasing loads due to population growth, industrial growth, and adaption to climate change (extreme weather events) which are collectively resulting in increased energy consumption. Such challenges must be met while ensuring discharge regulations are adhered to protect public health and the environment.

A significant portion of the energy consumed in wastewater treatment is inefficiently used due to the lack of real time and intelligent control. Key processes such as aeration, mixing, treatment cycles and pumping regimes are often designed and operated at a constant rate 24/7 and are still at a basic stage of evolution that severely limits energy efficiency.

ACET proposes the demonstration of innovative adaptive control framework at municipal and industrial WWTPs that (i) enable WWTP operators meet discharge limits and (ii) drive reductions in electricity usage and associated emissions within the WWTP sector.

ACET focuses on the novel integration and optimisation of three key pillars (i) energy intensive equipment (ii) process technology and (iii) monitoring to develop and demonstrate an innovative framework that allows intelligent and efficient control of WWTPs.

ACET could reduce energy consumption by up to 67%, resulting in a 4% reduction in the public sector alone.


This project is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

This project is funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Total Project Cost: €478,514

Funding Agency: SEAI Lead Organisation: National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) Partner Organisation: VorTech Water Solutions Collaborators: ABP Food Group; Ward & Burke Ltd; Irish Water

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Lead Organisation