With Grundfos, we've made savings of over 20% of the energy investment that we need to run the system, and a 12% reduction in total operational costs.
RAKWA, the wastewater agency in UAE emirate Ras Al Khaimah, had been challenged on several fronts with its ageing wastewater system. Most of these related to outdated pump controls and lack of real-time monitoring, requiring physical visits to all 13 pumping stations every four hours. RAKWA upgraded its system with new pumps and Grundfos iSOLUTIONS. This included dedicated controls and Grundfos Remote Management. The result was savings of over 20% energy and 12% reduction in total operational costs. Read the story and see the case film.
Ras Al Khaimah – known as RAK – is the northernmost of the seven emirates in United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has a population of about 350,000 people. It is known for its biodiversity with beaches and mountains.
RAKWA is the RAK wastewater agency responsible for designing, building, operating and maintaining all the public wastewater systems.
RAKWA was challenged on several fronts and wanted to remedy them. Some of these were:
- Most maintenance activities were reaction-based, due to a lack of condition monitoring and data analysis-based system
- High repair costs
- Late response to system failures, causing sewage overflows and customer dissatisfaction
- High energy consumption, due to the pumps’ fixed speed operating system
- High transportation and manpower cost of the physical monitoring system
- Difficulty in managing the network and pumping system in abnormal conditions e.g. foggy weather.
“Given how young an organization we are, we've obviously had our teething problems,” says Abdul Qadir Malik, Head of Capital Project Delivery, RAKWA. “One of them was the poor execution of the way the systems were put in. It has resulted in our systems being misaligned, which has led to outside water infiltrating into our systems. This leads to higher electricity costs, higher operational costs, and this leads to a more strained tariff.”
Because the system was operated manually, all 13 pumping and lifting stations had to be visited at least once every four hours, says Walid Abdelrahman, RAKWA’s O&M Department Manager.
Something had to change.
After analysing the problems faced by the customer, it was clearly understood that the reasons for most of the issues were outdated pump controls and lack of real-time monitoring. Based on the study, Grundfos technical team has proposed dedicated controls and Grundfos Remote Management (GRM).
“When we started working with Grundfos to find some better solutions, there was a great remote monitoring technology presented to us,” says RAKWA’s Executive Director Mark Bruno. The GRM remote monitoring and control system is all cloud-based. It also sends email/text notifications to operators’ phones when there is an alarm in the system.
RAKWA upgraded three main pump stations in the first phase with motor control centres including Grundfos CUE variable speed drives with dedicated controls and GRM.
“With the new GRM system we can monitor all our remote stations through mobile phones or tablets or even our desktops,” says Walid Abdelrahman. “This limited the need for doing physical visits to the stations, and it has significantly reduced fuel consumption that used to be burned to do these visits.”
The system also enabled a wide range of data analysis, which helped the RAKWA maintenance team to shift from reactive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
“The iSOLUTIONS also included installation of the VFD controls, which allowed us to control the speed of the pumps to match with the pump flow,” Walid Abdelrahman says. “In total it's improved the efficiency in terms of the performance of the pump and the energy consumption. And it means the pumps are actually living longer, which is reducing the cost for maintenance, as well as the downtime of the assets.”
RAKWA’s Mark Bruno says that “With Grundfos and the solutions that we've worked through with them, we've made savings of over 20% of the energy investment that we need to run the system, and 12% reduction in total operational costs.”
Deputy General Manager of the RAK Public Service Department Easa Al Shamsi says, “This will lead us to achieve the vision to build the green economy for the UAE under the slogan of ‘Green economy for sustainable development.’”
Mark Bruno says, “There is a grand vision here in Ras Al Khaimah to keep developing this emirate, attract the business, attract the tourism and keep the population happy. Working with partners such as Grundfos to help find the best solutions is a critical part of everything that we do.”