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Wastewater Simulation

Wastewater Simulation

As the coal power industry trends toward more stringent controls on wastewater solid and liquid waste streams, increasingly sophisticated unit operations and controls are required to properly manage these facilities. Here, TRAX shares one example of a TRAX high-fidelity simulator that supported the commissioning and ongoing operation of two types of waste treatment operations at a fossil generation plant.

In the example simulator, the first type of waste treatment was designed to collect and dispose of coal combustion residuals (CCRs), commonly known as coal ash. The modeled coal ash collection and dewatering system relied on a pair of Remote Submerged Chain Conveyers (RSCCs). These RSCCs were designed to convey and partially dewater settled coal ash and slag. To support this operation, TRAX modeled a complex network of sumps, surge tanks, and pumps, as well as critical utilities that supported ash removal and washdown.

The second waste treatment was designed to treat and control the discharge of low volume wastewater (LVW). The LVW treatment system employed unit operations that flocculated suspended solids, separated and concentrated these solids, then further dewatered them in a filter press to form a dense cake. The water stream that was separated from the floc was further purified in a gravity filter that strained out finer solids using a bed of anthracite and sand in a gravity filter. Some of the filtered water was subsequently recycled for process needs, while the remainder was discharged to the modeled environment.  A network of sumps and surge tanks supported these operations.

Many wastewater treatment operations require chemical additives to control pH, enhance floc formation, and precipitate heavy metals and organic matter. TRAX is able to accurately model all required operations and chemistry for a variety of treatment processes by using existing modules in our software library.

Alongside the wastewater simulation, TRAX developed tutorial videos overviewing the processing steps, including proper startup, operation, and shutdown. The wastewater simulator provided the perfect platform for capturing the DCS operation of these systems, supplemented with visual enhancements that identify key manual operations, control permissives, process limits, and mouse movements, along with flow path overlays that explain more complicated operations. These videos allowed lengthy or repetitive operations to be condensed for greater efficiency.  The videos were especially helpful as they were presented prior to the commissioning phase of the RSCC and LVW systems, providing its future operators with a vivid picture of the process in action.

See an example of TRAX training video content

Wastewater Simulation

August 30, 2023

TRAX has delivered a carbon capture simulator for a 150 MW coal-fired unit that models the capture of the full flue gas stream.  The system provides both CO2 and SO2 capture, delivering the captured CO2 to a pipeline for industrial use and underground storage.

TRAX Carbon Capture Model Included:

—CO2 and SO2 capture
—Sulfuric acid plant
—CO2 and SO2 amines filtration and purification
—CO2 compression
—CO2 pipeline and cavern

As shown below, TRAX built a modular simulation replicating the plant layout using our software, ProTRAX.  ProTRAX contains a full suite of modules specific to carbon capture functions and can model a wide variety of processes.  TRAX also virtually replicated the user interface that appears in the plant.  

Model Scope

ProTRAX is a modular software that can easily integrate multiple models for larger projects.


TRAX organizes the simulator model to match the layout of the site or process being modeled.


Depending on the Absorber module selected, the module can remove water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and/or sulfur dioxide (SO2) from an air or gas stream.


Each ProTRAX module is backed by comprehensive documentation, including a general description, module inputs and outputs, and mathematical formulae.


The training value of a simulator occurs in the interactive screens that replicate the site equipment.

Upon initial delivery, the TRAX simulator was used to debug control logic and processes prior to site installation and to provide operations training prior to plant startup.  There was a clear need to begin training operators as early as possible since they had multiple unfamiliar systems to learn.

Thanks to the ProTRAX simulator, our customer gained considerable insight into control functionality and system interactions, resulting in modification to some control logic and correction of simple errors.  TRAX was able to assist with controls tuning, and helped in development of initial plant Operating Procedures.

The latest upgrade brings the model into alignment with the as-built plant condition by updating and tuning the simulator models to match the current plant dynamics. In addition, TRAX has updated the simulator controls and HMI graphics to the as-built state.  Keeping the simulator aligned with the current plant condition is critical to maintaining a positive training value, and is of paramount importance to the customer.