With reference to a classical wet tank equipped with a wastewater submersible pump, in this research, an advanced numerical model has been used in order to obtain the optimal pump scheduling of on/off operation and variable pump speed. Then, in order to evaluate the time decay of pump performances, the mechanical wear has been artificially simulated and the performance curves have been experimentally obtained for different rotational speeds. Finally, the benefits, as well as the feasibility, of pump scheduling have been evaluated for differing operating conditions. According to the results, the optimal pump scheduling achieves large energy savings up to 43%, for soft mechanical wear. If the mechanical wear is considered, the energy savings are large as well, between 35.60% and 26.70%, for medium and hard mechanical wear, respectively. On the other hand, the limitation of such a strategy has been highlighted: the feasibility of pump scheduling is limited by the elevation of the downstream tank. According to the results, energy savings can be achieved until the elevation of the downstream tank is 67% of the pressure head at the best efficiency point, whereas such percentage decreases to 50% for hard mechanical wear. Finally, the results show that plant efficiency is strongly affected by the mechanical wear: an accurate maintenance of the pumping system is therefore recommended in order to attenuate the time decay of pump performances.
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