Water & Wastewater Asia • May / June 2019 16 | GRUNDFOS SPECIAL 10 years will see innovation and technology go in a very different direction. While intelligent technology is already being used to conduct pre-emptive and predictive maintenance, according to Dr Gao, the pace will be really picking up over the coming five to 10 years, with pieces such as smart shower devices becoming a mainstay. “In the face of growing water demand amidst rapid urbanisation, we expect the water industry to greatly increase their adoption of intelligent technology in ‘smart cities.” Dr Gao continued. “Intelligent technology will play a key role in establishing interconnectivity across a city’s water management systems, applying advanced analytics to spot trends and patterns, as well as make predictions ranging from weather alerts to adapting water pressure based on reported water usage data.” ENDEAVOURS While there are increased efforts to control and remedy issues such as water pollution, regular monitoring of water sources is also vital — though access to the necessary technology may be limited in some parts of the world. But because water is such a vital part of infrastructure, the industry has made great strides in switching to newer technologies, though adoption remains slow and in Dr Gao’s opinion, companies need to domore to ensure they limit their impact on the environment as much as possible. “What companies need to realise is that while advanced intelligent technology can cost more upfront, the benefits in the long run will exceed the upfront investment,” Dr Gao elaborated. “As these innovations are further developed on a larger scale and with affordable distribution, cost will be less of a barrier, and it is valuable to establish strong cases through good quality pilot projects to demonstrate the innovative features to increase the acceptance level.” Water security is another critical issue the world is facing, with countries like Singapore focusing on alternative water sources such as water reuse and desalination, with Dr Gao predicting that water reuse will eventually be essential to meet global demand “especially when approaches like water use efficiency and consumption reductions are maximised.” NEW TECHNOLOGIES The rapid industrialisation the water industry is still undergoing has revealed an ever-widening gap in technology between countries, and, ever committed to their corporate social responsibility, Grundfos concentrated their efforts on closing the technological gap. “On top of that, the current wastewater treatment and management methods are highly energy-intensive as they undermine water movement and treatment throughout the production process,” added Dr Gao. To that end, the companydevelopedBACMON, an intelligent, automatic microscope-based 3D scanning optics for monitoring bacteria real-time in the field. The patented solution classifies all particles as bacteria or non- bacteria by automatically moving a digital microscope over a flow cell. Grundfos is also working together with PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, to innovate new solutions in water treatment, water quality monitoring, efficient pump solutions and digital water solutions. “During our partnership, we tested Cake Filtration, a new wastewater treatment concept that used sludge generated from the treatment process to filter the wastewater, with BACMON++, a solution that offers on- linemonitoring of total bacteria concentration in near real-time, improving bacterial monitoring of the water network,” he said. “At the same time, we are working on innovative pump-based solutions to optimise the water treatment process for both cost saving and energy efficiency, especially on the membrane filtration process. We have successfully piloted the solutions in Europe and are looking forward to leveraging these experiences to solve water challenges in Singapore.” Moreover, withmost of the operational cost of water coming from the energy needed tomove the resource — pumps alone are responsible for a staggering 10 per cent of global electricity consumption — and other costs incurred from water lost during the process, such as through leakages in the system. “One key solution is Grundfos’ Demand Driven Distribution, an intelligent water management pumping solution that automatically adjusts water flow through the use of remote sensors and reduces excessive pressure in the water pipes, minimising energy used throughout the day andalso limitingwater leakages and losses to drives down costs,” Dr Gao continued. “To date, Demand Driven Distribution has helped countless cities address this issue, such as tackling extensive leakage issues for water authorities while ensuring minimal disruption to citizens.” THE FUTURE According to Dr Gao, digitisation is the call for future water technology developments, with digital solutions such as big data and analytics able to guide operations on-ground and even enabling autonomous operations in the future. “As systems get more and more complex, the water industry can benefit from data-based technology to ease decision-making,” he concluded. “Digitisation also provides an effective way to stimulate customer problems and test solutions at controllable costs. It paves the way for new business models that can balance both sustainability and profitable growth.” WWA All images are credited to Grundfos.