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Invitation to EICA
Masaki TAKAOKA, the President of EICA
(Professor, Kyoto Univ.)
 There are truly challenges ahead where Instrumentation, Control and Automation (ICA) can play a key role. To address the water and energy nexus we have to understand the complete water cycle. Integrated watershed management, planning and operation as well as plant wide control will use ICA methodology to coordinate the systems for better efficiency and robustness to disturbances. This is part of the urgent climate change mitigation efforts. Other parts are education and multi-disciplinary cooperation. Our EICA (The Society of Environmental Instrumentation, Control and Automation) in Japan has to bring together several specialists to deal with the important challenges.
 ICA is the hidden technology and is becoming ubiquitous. It is not noticed as long as it works. Still it is present almost everywhere. ICA was recognized already in the early 1970’s by IWA (International Water Association) and its predecessor IAWPRC (International Association of Water Pollution Research and Control) as an important part of research and development in the water and wastewater treatment industry. Today, ICA is certainly much more established. Furthermore, nowadays almost every water/wastewater treatment plant, and solid waste and sludge management plant is supplied with a computer control system.
 On the primary level of plant operation, the equipment, we nowadays take control for granted. Levels, flow rates, pressures and temperatures are mostly controlled automatically via pumps, compressors and valves, etc. These controls will keep the plant running. On the next level we also see that the automatic control of dissolved oxygen, sludge age, return sludge and other concentrations in an activated sludge plant are proven technologies today. Furthermore, online nutrient sensors are becoming common and affordable. This makes it possible to control the dissolved oxygen to a varying setpoint, depending on the ammonia removal. The dosage of chemicals can be based on online phosphate measurements and the recirculation of the nitrate rich water in pre-denitrification plants can be based on nitrate measurements in the anoxic reactor.
 There are apparent driving forces for automatic instrumentation and control. The primary purpose of ICA is to operate the plant towards the defined goal despite disturbances. This will make the operation consistent in the sense that it satisfies the effluent requirements at all times. Today the energy issue is more and more emphasized. To run a treatment plant efficiently is of course desirable from an economic and energy points of view. However, with the climate change becoming an increasingly urgent issue, the water/wastewater and solid waste industries are an important actor. In a country these industries consume about 1% of the national electrical energy and in other countries it can be as high as 5-10%. We should be able to decrease our electrical energy consumption significantly, that will contribute to a decreasing greenhouse gas emission. As a bonus we save operational and maintenance costs. In all of this ICA is a key technology.
 Our EICA members in Japan have been role models in the development of control and automation in water/wastewater and solid waste management systems. Since 1973 in London, 10 ICA Specialist Group Conferences have been arranged by IWA and its predecessors. These Conferences have provided an interesting perspective of the ICA development and of our Japanese EICA influence. There is an important and impressive development and knowledge being presented from Japanese universities, industries and several advanced water/wastewater treatment and solid waste management plants. Our EICA in Japan was made apparent at the 1990 large Biennial conference in Kyoto accompanied by the ICA Specialist Group Workshop in Yokohama. These events were a real base for the forming of our EICA in Japan. It is true that our EICA has played a significant role on the international scene by bringing forward new research and new important applications of control, automation and management.
 In the international watershed family we look forward to learning from you and to exchanging ideas and results.
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