To address these challenges, DHI and Gruppo CAP cooperated to implement TwinPlant – a digital twin – for Bresso-Niguarda WWTP. The digital twin is a virtual replica of the plant and provides operational decision support by integrating online sensors and process models. The solution combines:
- A MIKE OPERATIONS platform to collect, store and validate online sensor data from the SCADA system
- A plant-wide WEST model, which includes a realistic description of the treatment processes and control strategies, along with an energy balance estimation
- A graphical dashboard to access online measurements and simulation results, as well as compare operational strategies through customised key performance indicators (KPIs)
Through a pre-scheduled automated procedure, the digital twin acquires online data from SCADA and predicts plant performance in real-time and 24 hours in the future under current operational settings and boundary conditions. Using these baseline predictions, the users (operators, process engineers) can evaluate alternative boundary conditions (e.g., influent loading) and test operational strategies in a virtual environment. The solution allows operators to identify the optimal operational settings in key sections of the plant (aeration set-points, sludge recirculation, chemical dosing, loading of anaerobic digesters, biogas utilisation for on-site energy recovery) in response to changing conditions and/or to ensure increased plant efficiency.