One of the most anticipated times of the year is when we get to gather with our client and partner communities at our annual User Conference events. These folks are the heartbeat of Optimatics and are always collaborating with us and pushing us to improve with their amazing ideas! We currently host annual events in the United Kingdom and in North America.

Our UK User Conference took place in London in March of this year where Optimatics staff, clients, partners, and even some prospective clients came together for a day and a half of presentations, sharing, networking, learning, and fun. Being a global company definitely has its strengths but one of the challenges we face is geography and being able to include everyone when we gather. That said, we can’t keep it to ourselves any longer! We wanted to take this opportunity to share with you just a few of the many valuable presentations that made this year’s UK User Conference such a success!

Production Planning Optimisation for South Australia

For the last 10 years, the South Australian Water Corporation (SA Water) has used a custom Optimatics tool to optimise their production planningformerly known as the Distribution Optimization Tool (DOT) and now known as the Production Planning module of Optimizer™. The software tool was commissioned in response to large changes to the SA Water network required to integrate a new desalination plant. The new infrastructure increases connectivity of the network, allowing much greater flexibility in operations. With this flexibility comes additional complexity. The question is: how do we best operate the network efficiently while maintaining supply security?

The SA Water Production Planning model is a mass balance model embedded within Optimizer™. It represents source water intakes, raw water pipelines and pump stations, treatment plants, major storage reservoirs, and key flow paths through the distribution system. Information regarding the physical limits of the system are included in the model thus ensuring practical solutions are obtained and allow the model to provide detailed reports to users when data is outside set limits.

The module optimises system operations over long-term (2 years) and short-term (28 days) horizons. It links to key data in SA Water business systems. Up-to-date information about individual facility availability, storage levels, demand, inflow projections, and projected electricity tariffs are all imported into the module prior to running an analysis.

The Optimizer™ Production Planning module enables SA Water staff to develop cost-effective operating strategies and assists in the process of capturing institutional knowledge with SA Water’s IT systems. The module provides SA Water with rapid answers to challenging planning questions; the model can be optimised in minutes using live input data. Users can rapidly modify inputs to develop alternative plans, undertake “what-if” analyses, respond to facility outages, or plan for upcoming maintenance.

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Software user interface

Anglian Water – Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA) Optimisation Through the Project Lifecycle – Hydraulic Design to Digital Twin

The Strategic Pipeline Alliance (SPA) is an alliance of Anglian Water (AW) and several engineering firms who are contracted to deliver one of the largest infrastructure projects in the UKcomprising approximately 500 kms of pipe, pumping stations and service reservoirs. The pipeline will enable AW to move water from areas with surplus water to areas which are in deficit, making the east of England resilient to drought and securing water supplies for future generations.

AW have been utilising hydraulic model optimisation throughout the project lifecycle to reduce construction costs, develop energy efficient control strategies, and ultimately leverage digital twin capabilities to deliver operation efficiency through machine learning. The optimisation model used to size pipes and pump stations considered the system subject to a series of drought scenarios and “business as usual” (BAU) scenarios. The sizing of service reservoirs in the model considered the system subject to a series of planned and unplanned outages during periods of drought.

The optimisation runs produced visual results of trade-offs between 2 objectives: whole-of-life cost and hydraulic performance. About 150 optimisation runs were carried out and on average 100,000 potential “solutions” were evaluated per runthat is approximately 15,000,000 solution evaluations in the course of the study.

Tight timeframes required a quick turnaround of options, and design challenges meant sizing needed to be robust. Optimizer™ enabled an efficient and thorough analysis of all the options to provide a clear view of hydraulic performance and constraints while removing decision bias. The software also enabled the sizing and costing for whole-of-life cost and carbon to be evaluated and carried out consistently together.

The operation of the whole system became quite complex. Optimizer™ offered computational efficiency from automation due to the sheer load of operational scenarios to be checked compared to otherwise manual processes which originally would have been envisaged to be done under a much more limited criteria. It was estimated that an effort of 1.1 million modeler hours would have been required to consider the number of options just in the southern region of the system alone.

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Map of SPA pipeline

Wastewater Network Optimisation in the Western Suburbs of Paris: CSO Reduction for Two Systems

SUEZ SEVESC is responsible for operating and maintaining the wastewater collection network that services the western suburbs of France. The network is a mixture of combined sewer areas (30%) and sanitary sewer areas (70%). Combined sewer overflows (CSO) in the combined parts of the network are controlled by regulator structures, featuring low-level orifice outlets and high-level overflow weirs.

The optimisation effort focused on determining optimal modifications to existing CSO control structures, in order to reduce CSOs across the western Paris network. The investigation focused on low-cost intervention options. The specific objectives were to reduce discharges into the Seine by 80% in 2030 as compared to 2019, to have no overflows, and to have no spills during the 2024 Olympic games.

Before using Optimizer™, the traditional planning approach was applied using the InfoWorks ICM model. This approach entailed a trial-and-error process to develop CIP and operating plans. This method proved to be frustrating as only a limited number of alternatives could be vetted and evaluated, it took a very long time, and there was no cost comparison. The project was too large for using the traditional approach.

The team decided to use Optimizer™ to help with the effort. They started on two catchments: one had available storage capacity and the other was at capacity in rainy weather with the impossibility of carrying out storage. Using Optimizer™ for ICM allowed the planner to set capital improvement and operating options and objectives to be met, created and evaluated thousands of trial solutions, and allowed for the evaluation of costs as well as hydraulic performance and key criteria (ie: risk, environmental, social).

The optimisation produced a range of solutions that significantly improved the hydraulic performance of the system. The strategy that was adopted resulted in a predicted 14% decrease in CSO discharge volume in the 1-year storm and a 3% reduction in CSO Discharge volume in the 5-year event.

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Pareto chart produced by Optimizer™