Spotlight shines on Michigan company at Detroit conference of national energy officials

Rick Snyder, Governor
Anne Armstrong Cusack, Executive Director



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Significant potential savings identified at Detroit wastewater facility through AI


LANSING, Mich. – State energy officials from across the nation in Detroit today heard how Troy, Mich.-based Aquasight identified significant potential savings using its digital artificial intelligence (AI) platform at the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Water Resource Recovery Facility in Detroit.

The pilot program at the wastewater facility was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure of the Future program, which was coordinated by the Michigan Energy Office, part of the Michigan Agency for Energy. The program’s focus is on wastewater treatment because it is an energy-intensive process, where up to 35 percent of costs are energy related.

“Wastewater treatment plants have massive amounts of real-time information available to them,” said Mahesh Lunani, Aquasight CEO. “But after-the-fact analytics may not help them understand, prevent, predict and optimize a dynamic treatment process. Artificial intelligence can give the industry the ability to merge human expertise with insights mined from real-time data.”

Using its Apollo platform, Aquasight mined real-time, pre-existing sensors, operations and equipment and lab data to help identify ways to run the wastewater facility more efficiently. This cuts operational expenses, while meeting regulatory requirements, Lunani said. It also helps facilities plan for more efficient capital upgrades and predictive maintenance.

“The recently-completed pilot program identified annual, recurring total potential savings of 20 percent, with 13 percent of that achievable at no cost or low cost,” said Lunani.

“The experience in Detroit is not an isolated one. The platform is scalable for any treatment process, type and size. If we take Aquasight’s experience and apply it to the entire U.S. water and wastewater system, the numbers become very meaningful – 11.4 billion kilowatt-hours per year of energy savings. That’s the equivalent to powering 1.1 million households. And it makes available $7.4 billion for cities to invest -- without raising water and wastewater rates.”

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) facilitates peer learning among state energy officials, serves as a resource for and about state energy offices, and advocates the interests of the state energy offices to Congress and federal agencies. It is holding its annual meeting in Detroit for the first time this week (Sept. 23 – 26).

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