Know your flow / Cutting energy costs

Cutting energy costs and increasing uptime in water and wastewater plants

By applying ABB’s expertise in electrical energy and automation to water networks, utility operators can gain big benefits. These include lower energy consumption, reduced wastage and less downtime, as well as more stable and economical processes. The net result is lower Total Cost of Ownership for water plants.

Energy is a major cost item for water-supply and wastewater-treatment operations, often accounting for 30% of total operating costs at water utilities. In developing countries, this can sometimes go as high as 40%. The dominant consumers of this energy are, not surprisingly, the motors used for pumping, aeration and many other relevant processes.

A closely related and important issue for water utilities is uptime and reliability. Consistent and smooth operation can translate into money savings when things are steady. On the other hand, process upsets usually mean additional unwelcome costs. Consistency of water operations also has a direct impact on a water company’s ability to meet legally-binding water delivery and environmental laws.

Your success or failure in managing both of these factors – energy costs and uptime – is highly dependent on the motors, drives and automation system used. If you design, build, or operate water utilities, you can gain positive advantages by working with a knowledgeable partner who has water-management expertise and products with 24/7 support to ensure optimal functioning of your systems. ABB’s world-class energy-reducing drives for pumps and fans can help you optimize the most important parameter for water utility assets: Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

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Wasted energy is wasted money

ABB’s energy-smart ACQ580 drive and motor combination, complemented by automation products like our PLCs, measurement devices and remote monitoring solutions, make water pumps and air compressors run more efficiently. In addition, the ACQ580 drive has specific pump functionality which gives users easily-accessible data about energy consumption and reliability.


For water utilities that want to dig deeper into areas of possible improvement, our experts can carry out energy assessments of your applications and operations. They then make productivity recommendations which identify areas with greatest energy reduction potential.

Total Cost of Ownership, not just tip of iceberg

When considering an investment, it’s important to note that the initial purchase price for equipment is often just the tip of the iceberg in a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculation. The real impact on TCO comes from operating expenses, and sometimes even more importantly, from downtime costs incurred when you’re not running due to breakdowns or other interruptions.

Shared knowledge for common benefits

To help you achieve the most efficient operations and lowest total costs ABB, together with our wide channel partner network, have valuable knowledge available to share with you regarding water applications. Our wide distribution chain includes specialists with deep and strong knowledge of both the applications and the drives and motors. Using the combined insight of what an application requires and what a drive can do, we can tailor the drive to your specific needs. This helps make your process more effective and efficient while making your work more enjoyable, with less hassle.

We can work closely with you to solve energy and operational challenges in water plants with data generated by our devices in the automation system. This information is analyzed to find what can, potentially, be improved. After that we work together to solve both current and future challenges, ensuring continuous cost savings and even proactively triggering maintenance work before costly unexpected downtime occurs.

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