Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Aeration Blowers

Efficiency compares the inputs used by a system to the outputs produced. It is a commonly used concept, but one which is prone to a great deal of misuse in many industries. This article provides insight into the parameter known as “efficiency,” how it’s calculated, and importantly, it’s uses and limitations in predicting blower energy consumption and comparing alternate system designs.
After auditing and field-testing, the Sni-A-Bar Municipal Wastewater Plant in Blue Springs, Missouri, partnered with Inovair to replace 4 fixed-speed rotary lobe blowers on its aeration system with 4 Variable Frequency Drive (VFD), integrally geared centrifugal blowers. The new blowers, along with improvements in blower controls, reduces annual energy use by 442,664 kWh and peak electrical demand by 48.76 kW, which translates to an annual energy reduction of 37 percent and anticipated savings of $42,000 per year. Additionally, a rebate of $45,799 from the local utility resulted in a payback of less than six years.
Turndown designates the operating range of an aeration blower or a blower system – and it can often be the most important factor in determining the ability of a system to match process demand. It is also critical to the system’s energy optimization. Unfortunately, in designing blower systems and controls turndown is not always given the attention that its importance merits. Here’s a look at the critical nature of turndown in wastewater treatment plants and recommendations for ensuring adequate turndown when utilizing Positive Displacement (PD) and centrifugal blowers.
Originally built in 1958, the CMA wastewater treatment plant serves 14,000 residents, as well as businesses, in Clearfield Borough and surrounding portions of Lawrence Township, Clearfield County, PA. From the start, the plant consistently met water quality and effluent parameters as specified in its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit throughout. However, new mandates in 2010 and the need for ongoing improvements drove the need for plant upgrades.  
Most blower applications for wastewater treatment are for conventional activated sludge aeration. The water level is typically constant, and pressure variations are usually less than one psi. There are other applications, however, that undergo significant variations in water level. These processes present challenges, but they can be accommodated with proper blower system design.
The 2017 WEFTEC Technical Exhibition and Conference was held October 2-4 at  McCormick Place in Chicago. The 2017 event made the list of the top five largest and best-attended events in the conference’s 90-year history. A total of 22,860 registrants and 1,011 exhibitors using a net of 305,600 ft2 of space attended WEFTEC. The event featured technical sessions, workshops, facility tours, and numerous other educational and networking events. WEFTEC is an enormous show. Both Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazines were pleased to be in the literature bins at the 2017 WEFTEC!
Most-Open-Valve (MOV) can be a cost-effective way to optimize aeration energy. It can also be a confusing and troublesome addition to a process automation project. In my experience MOV is the least understood aspect of aeration control. This article will shed light on MOV, the process and energy impacts and why it’s worth the trouble.
Blower manufacturers are the source for the most accurate information on aeration blower power consumption. This includes the impact of various control technologies on the many types of blowers used for aeration. However, system designers often need to analyze several alternatives, making reliance on input from suppliers inconvenient. An understanding of the principles of operation will also enhance the designer’s ability to assess the data received from various sources.
The capacity and pressure requirements of blowers in a Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) are determined by the aeration system. When systems are manually controlled blowers often operate at constant flow and pressure day in, day out. When the aeration system is automatically controlled to maintain a set dissolved oxygen (DO), however, the blower’s flow and system pressure vary constantly. Understanding these variations will help designers and suppliers optimize blower performance.
The Wastewater Association of Rheinfelden-Schwörstadt operates the wastewater treatment facilities in Schwoerstadt and Rheinfelden-Herten, Germany, as well as several rainwater overflow basins. This wastewater treatment facility now satisfies the highest requirements, and with a population of about 47,000, has reached a size that also guarantees sufficient disposal capacity for future generations.
Blower efficiency is a justifiable concern during the design and selection of aeration equipment. However, efficiency may not be the most important consideration in aeration blower applications. In many cases the blower with the highest efficiency will not provide the lowest energy consumption! Blower turndown is a parameter that is generally more important than efficiency in optimizing energy use.