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NI Water Taps into Local Companies for Innovation in Water and Wastewater Treatment

13 Oct 2021

NI Water and LaganMEICA partnership on SBRI Project

Four Belfast-based local companies are leading the way in developing innovative technologies for NI Water’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants and other assets in the water and sewerage network.

LaganMEICA are leading the way in helping NI Water to identify ground-breaking processes and data intelligence techniques to achieve efficiencies in the area of water and wastewater treatment.

These projects are all supported by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which is a pre-commercial procurement model promoted by Innovate UK, which enables public sector bodies to connect with technology organisations in order to stimulate the development of innovative solutions to specific public sector challenges and needs.

NI Water is delighted to harness the expertise of 4 locally based companies to assist us in making efficiencies in the area of water and wastewater treatment. For example, analysing data has highlighted trends in a few key areas, including two Wastewater plants - Carrickfergus Wastewater Treatment Works and the Kinnegar Wastewater plant in County Down. The NI Water teams involved are now changing their treatment strategy to help reduce costs at the plants, which is bringing great benefits to our business. Data analysis techniques are also currently employed to gain valuable insights into the water treatment process at Drumaroad Water Treatment Works. I would like to thank SBRI and the Strategic Investment Board for their invaluable support and the 4 local companies for their enthusiasm in this exciting new venture. I look forward to seeing further efficiencies unfold as the project progresses.
Sean McAuley, NI Water Project Manager,
I congratulate NI Water in their ongoing commitment to developing original and innovative technologies to make efficiencies in the area of water and wastewater treatment. This not only makes much needed financial savings but improving operational efficiency will make for a cleaner, greener environment. This will assist NI Water in their ambitious strategy to become carbon neutral by 2050 and help tackle the climate emergency.
Nichola Mallon, Infrastructure Minister

SBRI aims to use the power of government procurement to accelerate technology development, thereby supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping, which are typically hard to fund commercially in the open market. SBRI offers an excellent opportunity for businesses, especially early stage companies, to develop and demonstrate technology, supported by an intelligent lead customer.

LaganMEICA is involved in this initiative, employing advanced machine learning for Wastewater Treatment processes to enhance Process Robustness, reduce Carbon Footprint and provide an easy operator interface with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence.

The company is currently maintaining Kinnegar WwTW, one of NI Water’s largest plants with a Population Equivalent of 110,000. They are assisting with plant optimisation, through better monitoring & process improvements, which have made Kinnegar WwTW one of the most efficient plants in Northern Ireland.

Monthly electricity costs have reduced from £43,000 to £18,000 whilst maintaining 100% compliance.

The analytics framework underpinning the software contains a number of Artificial Intelligence models, which can predict the values of influential features at a time in the future, enabling the water quality score to be predicted in advance. This will allow process anomalies to be detected, and process optimality to be identified in the most efficient, accurate and robust manner possible, in order to ensure that water quality is at an optimum level.

The SBRI initiative aims to improve and control the status and quality of asset operations throughout the water and wastewater infrastructure networks and will support current business processes, bringing many efficiencies to NI Water’s business well into the future.

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