Thursday, 19 November 2009

Invent Water Features

A long-time client, Invent Water Features are in receivership, owing us a bit of money. Just as well we weren't relying on them to keep us afloat. Things are clearly still tough in the UK economy.

Emergency Callout Groundwater Treatment

A call-out to a groundwater treatment plant earlier in the week showed a few interesting problems. "Dirty" power from a failing generator caused the failure of a single instrument (a Siemens Hydroranger), but the knock-on effect was total plant failure.

The software programmer had "interpreted" the requirements of the Functional Design Specification in such a way that this instrument became critical for plant operation. This was especially annoying as there was a backup instrument working on a more robust principle, but no way to switch plant operation over to this alternative instrument without a programmer on site.

Of course at the point where I was called, the working day was coming to an end, the plant's feed lagoon was on the point of overtopping, and it was raining. I love a challenge!

Naturally there was an expedient way to get the plant to go again, but the fix was a little questionable. I consequently thought it best to connect a web-cam into the system so that I could see and hear what was going on remotely, as well as being able to see what the SCADA shows. All is now well with the plant.

Anaerobic Digestion Lecturing

I gave my first unattended University lecture yesterday, a seminar on Anaerobic Digestion, which seemed to go well enough. We'll see when I get the feedback questionnaires how well.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

More of the same...

I'm finishing the materials to be used in my anaerobic digestion course for Loughborough today, and preparing for a visit to Nottingham next week to see their first-years in action in a field experiment.

I've upgraded my teaching course to an MA, as there is little point in doing initial teacher training to teach in Higher Education. We learn as we go...

I got some interesting results from the laboratory trial of various coagulants for the pharmaceutical effluent treatment plant. Note floating sludge and reduced clarity in left-hand cylinder.

The best coagulant tested is around 1/10 the price of what is being used at the moment. It works better in the lab, but experience tells me that until we trial it on the plant, no firm conclusions can be drawn.

There is an added complication that the client has signed up for a long-term contract with a chemical supplier, so unless they can provide an equivalent product, there will be some serious contractual wrangling to be done. Rather them than me!