The Industrial Assessment Center at Oregon State University, also known as the Energy Efficiency Center, has developed opportunities to decrease energy use and operating costs for the Tacoma Wastewater Treatment Plant. The assessment team focused on the waste water treatment process as well as the energy utilities feeding them.

The Industrial Assessment Centers are located at accredited engineering schools at 29 universities around the country and are funded by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Their primary function is to send teams of faculty and students to local small to medium sized industrial facilities and provide a full day assessment of the facility’s energy use, productivity, and waste management systems. The service is provided at no cost to the facility, and the student team gains invaluable engineering experience in a real world context.

As a result of the assessment, opportunities for saving energy were identified with respect to their natural gas production, sludge heat exchangers, yard water pump system, and odor control fan system. Recommended cost savings totaled over 1.18 million dollars with an overall payback period of under a year.

The assessment was led by Peter Sukamto, a junior in Industrial Engineering, who reported “The assessment at Tacoma Wastewater was a great opportunity for us as energy analysts to identify opportunities that serve a broader community and gain valuable experience working alongside professionals in the utility industry.” The recommendations identified by the team were discussed on the assessment day and implementation of these new energy saving practices can be expected.