Companies working with sewage collection, treatment and disposal are frequently confronted with the challenge of minimizing costs, while seeking to protect the environment and improve the quality of service. A water treatment plant outside Cagliari, Italy, has recently tested a solution that reduced costs and maintenance, and lowered energy consumption by 35 percent.
On the Italian island of Sardinia, limited rainfall has made water an extremely valuable resource and created a delicate environmental equilibrium. Tecnocasic, a company that provides water and wastewater services to the industrial area of Macchiareddu, outside Cagliari on the southern end of the island, works to minimize its environmental impact by turning waste into resources.
“The treated water is collected and recycled for irrigation and industrial use,” says Oscar Serci, CEO of Tecnocasic, a joint venture led by CACIP (The Industrial Consortium of the Province of Cagliari). “At the same time, we need to ensure the balance of the ecosystem. The nearby Santa Gilla lagoon is a protected wetland where, just a few steps from a major industrial area, pink flamingos come to nest.”
Tecnocasic recently decided to test a sustainable pumping solution from Xylem. “We’re continuously seeking to improve our processes and modernize our plants, while being very attentive to environmental protection and efficiency,” says Claudio Fantera, Head of Water at Tecnocasic. “This has resulted in extensive discussions with Xylem, our supplier of pumping and water-handling systems.
An energy-saving solution
It was these discussions that prompted Fantera’s interest in Xylem’s Flygt Experior – a solution that combines Xylem’s groundbreaking N-technology with the Flygt SmartRun control system. Unlike other systems, which simply switch the pumps on and off, SmartRun has been specially designed to adjust automatically the rotational pump speed, according to the real-time needs of the pumping station. Xylem’s research has shown that this “intelligent” system can result in energy savings of up to 30 percent.
“The solutions provided by Xylem, as confirmed by our maintenance data, have always proved reliable and the company has always kept its promises,” says Fantera. “However, the reduction in energy consumption seemed very high.”
Although cautious about being the first company in Italy to invest in an innovative technology, Fantera was quick to recognize the potential return on investment offered by the system. His decision to test it was facilitated by Xylem’s “Try & Buy” initiative, which allows customers to test a product for a period, after which they may choose to buy or return it free of charge.
An attractive offer such as this “can only be made by a leader, such as Xylem, that has considerable confidence in the quality of its products,” says Fantera.
The results spoke for themselves: While the initial calculations performed on the new system indicated a saving of 27 percent, the reduction in energy consumption at the end of the first six months – which also included the most demanding winter months – was as high as 35 percent. In fact, average electricity consumption fell from 191 to 125 kWh per day – resulting in an estimated annual saving of approximately €4,500.