Ethan Smith presenting at ASCE conference

ASCE Inspire 2023 Conference: SJW’s Ethan Smith presents “Pump Optimization: An Application of the AVEVA PI System”

This past month, SJW’s Assistant Engineer, Ethan Smith, had the opportunity to present at the ASCE Inspire 2023 Conference on pump optimization being implemented at SJW with the AVEVA PI System. Over the last two years, SJW has built out an effective solution to reduce energy costs, increase efficiency, and provide operators with real-time pump and motor performance monitoring.

Working closely with Operations, SJW’s Planning team has developed online dashboards for monitoring and analyzing pump efficiency, cost, energy use, and condition metrics (e.g., degradation, vibration, and temperature). Alerts have been implemented to signal to operators when pumps run during more expensive times of day, and when condition metrics fall outside expected ranges. These alerts help avoid peak demand charges from PG&E and aid in proactive maintenance that reduce the risk of unexpected pump or motor failure. In July 2023 alone, over $23,000 was saved from avoided peak time (i.e., 4-9 PM) operation. 

The most promising benefit comes from the PI System’s ability to calculate and export energy cost per million gallons (MG) produced per pump. These calculated cost ratios are sent to SCADA to prioritize less expensive pumps during automated selection (i.e., Econ mode), thereby optimizing pumping operations for lowest cost and highest efficiency. Only a subset of pumps has been adopted into this protocol but already we are seeing savings of $93/MG and 241 kWh/MG. Cost savings and energy/carbon emissions reduction will only grow as more pumps are placed in Econ mode and SJW continues to leverage the PI System. 

Thank you, Ethan, for representing SJW so well at the conference!