Emory University Receives 2018 IDEA Innovation Award

By District Energy posted 06-26-2018 15:35


IDEAVAN2018-674.jpgJoan Kowal from Emory University (second from right) and Bob Salvatelli from Sustainable Water (second from left) receive IDEA's 2018 Innovation Award from IDEA President Rob Thornton (right) and Bob Smith, RMF Engineering (left) at IDEA's 109th Annual Conference & Trade Show on June 13th in Vancouver, BC.

Emory University Receives 2018 IDEA Innovation Award

Emory University of Atlanta, GA receieved the 2018 IDEA Innovation Award for its waste water reclamation and reuse system, “WaterHub”, in collaboration with IDEA member Sustainable Water. Joan Kowal, Senior Director of Energy and Utilities accepted the award on behalf of Emory University at the 109th Annual IDEA Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver, BC. 

WaterHub saves precious drinking water. Lots of it. Launched in 2015, Emory University’s WaterHub is the first system of its kind installed in the United States. Using a readily replicable multi-step process, the WaterHub cleans campus waste water to Georgia Reclaimed Water Standards. Emory uses the reclaimed water instead of municipally supplied potable water to satisfy almost 100% of the campus’ utility systems operational demand. The system has added significant resiliency to Emory’s campus infrastructure and would be especially attractive in areas with either high cost water or with limited water availability.

Developed in partnership with Sustainable Water, Emory’s WaterHub is a district-scale, low-energy/high-efficiency, odor-free, multi-step cleaning process consisting of physical filtration, circulation through natural earth and plant “bioreactors,” and exposure to ultraviolet light and chlorination.

To date, the WaterHub has displaced over 160 million gallons of municipally supplied potable water with reclaimed water, for example, providing 98% of total make-up to cooling towers. The reclaimed water also replaces potable water previously used for utility water makeup in Emory’s three largest chiller plants and the central campus steam plant, which together provide heating and cooling to over 70 buildings with over 7,000,000 square feet of space.

The WaterHub is also a catalyst to initiate and enhance academic research and community outreach activities. As a living, learning laboratory, it is used as a platform to expand research and develop grant opportunities for hands-on education. Student docents rotate every semester to provide public tours of the facility for the Emory students, faculty and staff as well as the surrounding community. This world-class facility has attracted the attention of many facilities managers, corporate executives, sustainability personnel, and more. In 2017 alone, over 1,000 people visited and toured the WaterHub facility.

As summarized by former Emory President, Jim Wagner, “The WaterHub is Emory University at its best, and American universities at their best.”

2018 IDEA Innovation Award Honorable Mentions

IDEAVAN2018-664.jpgEmpower Energy Solutions of Dubai, UAE received two 2018 IDEA Innovation Awards in the Honorable Mention category.  One award was for application of an innovative technology to improve customer performance and energy efficiency for a large district cooling network and a second award recognized innovative application of artificial intelligence in advanced metering and data management.  Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, accepted the awards on behalf of Empower at the 109th Annual IDEA Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver, BC. 

The first award was for their Energy Transfer Station Flow Control Optimization using Statistical Process Control.  Empower has developed a statistical process control strategy based on standard deviations from return water temperature set point, rather than only on average ETS-HEX return water temperatures, to substantially improve the Delta T performance of Energy Transfer Stations serving the Palm Jumeirah Crescent as well as substantially reduce central plant electrical consumption. This resulted in significantly improved plant performance. In 2015, the cooling plant on the Palm Jumeirah Crescent consumed 75,002,100 kWh of electricity to meet a demand for 85,355,591 Ton-hr of cooling. Cooling usage in 2016 increased to 90,777,106 Ton-hr, but the plant consumed only 75,168,300 kWh instead of 104,341,501 kWh that would have been consumed with the old control strategy—a nearly 28% savings of 28,723,201 kWh. 

The second Innovation Award Honorable Mention was awarded for their AIMS 360° Solution for Metering Artificial Intelligence. AIMS 360° is an integrated system of collecting meter reading data that provides remote, round-the-clock data collection for a fleet of up to 200,000 meters of 11 different designs. In addition to billing data, the program provides operational monitoring and can generate alarms and service requests in response to configurable triggering conditions, substantially enhancing customer satisfaction and overall system reliability.