Crossing the Finish Line: Integration of Data-Driven Process Control for Maximization of Energy and Resource Efficiency in Advanced Water Resource Recovery Facilities

Improvements in process monitoring and control at water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) could reduce electricity consumption, chemical inputs, and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving energy recovery. Many WRRF data collection, monitoring, and control approaches use 20th century process monitoring and control systems, which require large design safety factors to ensure reliability in the absence of more advanced, precise controls. Implementation of modern data-driven control tools could lead to more efficient operations that provide intrinsic reliability with better overall process performance at full-scale. This project will demonstrate integration of data-driven process controls for maximization of energy and resource efficiency at three full-scale facilities.

This project is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, under award number DE-EE0009508.


The overall goals of this project are to (1) develop and demonstrate data-driven process controls at full-scale facilities for five promising WRRF applications that provide whole plant approaches and offer substantial energy and resource recovery benefits, and (2) create a toolbox of data-driven process control approaches and implementation guidance for accelerated adoption at WRRFs across the United States.

Five Promising WRRF Applications

  1. Carbon diversion: high-rate contact stabilization
  2. Biological nutrient removal (BNR): ammonium-based aeration control (ABAC) / ammonia vs. NOx (AvN) + partial denitrification with anammox (PdNA)
  3. Disinfection: peracetic acid (PAA)
  4. Phosphorus-recovery: MagPrex
  5. Holistic biosolids optimization


The total funding for this project is $2,274,039.


Funded Project

Data-Driven Process Control for Maximizing Resource Efficiency (5141)

Project Team

  • Co-PIs and Task Leads
    • The Water Research Foundation, Jeff Moeller (PI) and Ashwin Dhanasekar
    • Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Charles Bott and Stephanie Klaus (Co-PI)
    • DC Water, Haydee De Clippeleir (Co-PI)
    • Metro Water Recovery, Blair Wisdom (Co-PI), Josh Goldman, and Rudy Maltos
    • U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Kathryn (Kate) Newhart (Co-PI)
    • University of Michigan, Nancy Love (Co-PI) and Branko Kerkez (Co-PI)
    • Northwestern University, George Wells (Co-PI)
    • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Kris Villez
    • Black & Veatch, Andrew Shaw


Please contact Jeff Moeller, PE, Research Unit Leader and Ashwin Dhanasekar, Research Program Manager, with questions about the DOE Process Controls Grant.