The team at H2.0 have begun researching into developing a techno-economic feasibility study for optimising the operation of water supply systems so that they can be used as an energy storage component of future energy systems. The water supply industry makes up about 3% of the United Kingdom’s energy consumer, and up to 90% of that consumption can be attributed to pumping of water. Therefore, reducing energy use by optimising pumping is the focal point of the “Smart Water / Smart Power” project.
Energy demand and water demand vary throughout the day, and so do their costs. The day can broadly be split into peak and off-peak periods, with the peak prices being higher. It would then make sense to confine energy usage and water pumping to less-expensive off-peak times. However, electricity is very difficult to store in large quantities. Therefore, using electricity and pumping in a less-expensive off-peak time when demand is low is relatively pointless if there is no storage. These are the factors which are to e taken into consideration when formulating our pump scheduling optimisation model. Additionally, the national grid works as a market and there are regulatory issues involved when working with both the energy system and the water supply system.
In order to efficiently and productively address the problem, the H2.0 project team has divided into three subteams: Pumped Storage, Markets and Regulations and Hydraulics. The Pumped Storage subteam has been looking into an optimisation scheme for the pump scheduling system for water utilities. The Markets and Regulations subteam have been looking into energy demand and the legislative regulations to which utility companies must abide. The Hydraulics subteam has been investigating the effects of pumping on a pipe network and its characteristics in order to develop a hydraulic model.