Victorian Water Corporations partner with Universities on Inflexion project

GWM Water and Gippsland Water have partnered with researchers at Federation University and RMIT on a new project being run through the Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET). The project aims to explore smarter ways to use electricity and the results of the study could help water corporations save money on power bills and reduce carbon emissions. It is expected that the project will take about 18 months to complete.

The Managing Director of GWM Water, Mark Williams, says: “If the results show promise, this research can then be put into practice to provide real benefits for us, the water industry more broadly and mostly importantly, our customers.”

Known as the INFLEXION project, the research involves developing a schedule for operation that reduces energy use during peak demand period by tracking energy use at water and wastewater treatment plants and pump stations. The water corporations will work with researchers to map data so they can forecast and optimise energy use at water and wastewater treatment plants.

Lead researcher, Dr. Rakibuzzaman Shah from Federation University, explains:

“If you could make sure a pump station only operates during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower, this will save money on the water corporation’s power bill.  They can also be scheduled to operate only when renewable energies, such as solar power systems, are powering the site.

Another part of this project is to set up these water corporations in a way that they can feed electricity back into the grid from their use of renewable energies and be paid for that, partially offsetting their energy costs.”

The project will provide a pathway for other water corporations to leverage their own energy and renewables management, which will in turn provide better value for customers. It will also help both water corporations to reduce their carbon emissions, as part of their commitment to the Victorian Government’s target of net zero emissions by 2050.

The INFLEXION project is funded by C4NET, GWMWater and Gippsland Water.