Using Thermal Mass Flow Technology To Manage Energy In Water Treatment Plants

Energy management is a hot topic in the water and wastewater industry. Monitoring energy usage and keeping operations sustainable and responsible is a high priority for water treatment plant operators. Magnetrol® global product manager Tom Kemme recently spoke to Water Online regarding energy management solutions for treatment plants. A previous MAGNETROL post on March 1 featured Kemme’s thoughts on the need for energy management today and how it saves treatment plants money. This blog post features highlights from the article about how the Thermatel® line of thermal mass flow products, produced by MAGNETROL, can help plants with energy management.

How do THERMATEL thermal mass flow products help a treatment plant manage energy?

Aeration basin processes are the most energy-intensive at the plant. The energy costs associated with aeration are over 50 percent of the total energy costs. Having dissolved oxygen (DO) measurement is critical, but the air flow measurement is another important piece to ensure maximum efficiency, save unnecessary downtime, and reduce expenses.

A Magnetrol® TA2 thermal mass flow meter

A Magnetrol® TA2 thermal mass flow meter

Monitoring individual blower performance can help evaluate which blower is outputting most efficiently and provide early warning of potential problems that may require maintenance and troubleshooting. There will be a sweet spot for air flow to have the most efficient DO without excess energy consumption. Thermal mass flow is a very repeatable technology to make this measurement, but it is also important to have a fast response time. Not all thermal mass meters operate with the same principal, so it’s critical to ensure the meter measures heat transfer using a constant temperature (CT) methodology as opposed to constant power (CP), as CT provides a faster response to changes in flow conditions.

Another energy-intensive process that can account for over 10 percent of plant energy costs is running pumps. Similar to thermal mass flow meters, there are thermal switches available for on/off type applications for both liquids and gases. A thermal switch could be used to verify that the pump seals do not run dry, or that liquid is flowing through the body. A thermal switch can detect not just a dry condition but a low flow condition. A 50-hp pump motor can cost from $5,000 to $10,000 as compared to a thermal switch that is less than $1,000.

More Information

The complete Water Online Q&A article has helpful information on other energy management topics, including aeration flow management and the ways thermal mass flow meters differ from traditional technology. In addition, you can find information on MAGNETROL thermal mass flow products and applications for all your energy management needs on our new flow solutions site,


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