ABB Power-Gen News: Upgraded control technology keeping pace with Silicon Valley’s expansion

05 Dec 2017

The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, one of the largest advanced wastewater facilities on the West Coast of the US, is undergoing a major upgrade program. Its aim: increase efficiency and sustainability. ABB is supporting these efforts with its leading control technology, improving operations without interrupting them

Silicon Valley, home of high-tech, and one of the world’s top research and development centers, has seen its fair share of expansion. And while the rate of growth in the San Francisco Bay Area, of which the Valley forms the southern part, is anticipated to be slower than in the 1970s and 1980s, it’s still expected to see a population increase of 30 percent by 2040.

With growth comes a greater demand for basic resources like water. In fact, demand is rising on a global scale: for example, since 1950 the need for this resource has tripled and it will double again by 2050. The prevalence of drought in California – where the period between late 2011 and 2014 was the driest since recordkeeping began – also underlines the need for effective water management. Additionally, peaking factors, the ratio of wet weather to dry weather flows, were taken into consideration when projecting and planning future wastewater flows into the plant.

Investing in innovation

Alongside treating water to a high standard, the aims of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (RWF) include delivering a drought-proof water supply, and using and producing sustainable energy sources. With a total capacity of 167 million gallons per day, the RWF treats and cleans wastewater for a population of 1.4 million people and 17,000 businesses across eight cities and county areas of Silicon Valley. The RWF is currently implementing a 10-year capital improvement program (CIP) to upgrade its infrastructure, including such processes as Iron Salts and Digesters, while also investing in innovative ways to increase its efficiency and sustainability. 

In 2013 the RWF owners, Cities of San José and Santa Clara, recognized the need to modernize the facility’s control system to continue operating efficiently and without interruption. The subsequent upgrade to ABB Ability™ Symphony® Plus reduces operational costs through real-time data collection and converting that data into actionable insights. With a century of control technology experience and a focus on digitalization-driven progress, ABB is planting its roots to the future.

No interruptions please

As well as ABB Ability Symphony Plus, RWF upgraded further parts of their control system, including the I/O modules and operator interfaces. Now, the plant is undergoing a project to upgrade its controllers to the SD Series HPC800. This is at the proof of concept stage, during which one process identified by the customer will be migrated. Meanwhile, the whole multi-million dollar upgrade is the latest step in an over 15-year customer relationship. “We have always been able to retain a good working relationship, even through changes in the organization, showing a level of trust in ABB,” says Kevin Kosisko, Managing Director for ABB’s Power Generation & Water business. 

A key requirement of the project has been performing the system modernization – with its seamless integration of all components – while the facility stays online. The same is true for the migration to the SD Series HPC800 controller, for which a risk and mitigation plan will lead to no or minimum downtime, while the new controllers will accommodate all the CIP control requirements and future expansions. “The main benefit of ABB’s technology is the ability to evolve the DCS without loss of intellectual property or major changes in plant operability,” Raj Singh, Process Control Systems Team Lead, San José-Santa Clara RFW. “While working very closely with the ABB, we are systematically evolving our equipment to a more sustainable and current platform.”  

ABB is a leading provider of integrated power and automation solutions with unparalleled experience in partnering with the energy and water industries, bringing them improved operations and sustainable progress. We deliver integrated and secure digital systems, services and solutions to automate and optimize the performance of conventional and renewable power plants and water facilities.

ABB | http://www.abb.com