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Digital twin for sustainable and resource efficient operation of WWTPs

Large investments will be needed within water and wastewater facilities the coming years. Digital twins of wastewater treatment plants can facilitate more efficient systems for better utilization of resources, lower emissions of pullutants to air and water as well as reduced operational and capital costs.

Wastewater treatment plants (WTTPs) are producers of clean water, energy, heat and nutrients. Sweden is on the forefront within the area but the water and wastewater sector faces great challenges such as aging infrastructure, stricter effluent demands and climate change, which leads to a substantial need for investment. At the same time there are large potential benefits from increased automation and digitalization of the water systems. It is important that the needed investments are done in a smart way.

To develop and implement digital twins within wastewater treatment is an innovative and radical change in how the plants are operated and controlled. It facilitates a substantially increased overview over the resources that are handled (in the wastewater as well as those that are added to the process, such as chemicals) through the use of different types of models as well as data quality control. In the end it gives the user the possibility to operate the plant in a better way which also contributes to optimal design of new plants.

Within this project, a method for developing digital twins at wastewater treatment plants will be developed, including real time process simulation and data validation. The method will be verified by implementation of a digital twin for the WWTP Öresundsverket in Helsingborg, Sweden, where results will be evaluated and benefits quantified. Since the method that is developed will be generic, there is great potential to reuse the knowledge for other process industries with the need to treat water, such as the high water demand paper and pulp industries.

Magnus Arnell is project manager for the project from RISE. Partners in the project are Lund University, Nordvästra Skånes Vatten och Avlopp (NSVA) and Gemit Solutions.


Wärff, C., 2023. Operational digital twins for water resource recovery facilities - Rationale, components, and case studies. RISE Report 2023:105, ISBN: 978-91-89821-85-9, Sweden. Länk:

Wärff, C., 2022. Construction of a respirometer for wastewater characterization.Technical report, Division of Industrial Electrical Engineering and Automation, Lund University, LUTEDX/(TEIE-7286)/1-20/(2022). Länk:

Wärff, C., 2021. Wastewater treatment process models for enhanced biological phosphorus removal and VFA-production - A literature review. Technical report, Division of Industrial Electrical Engineering and Automation, Lund University, LUTEDX/(TEIE-7281)/1-36/(2021). Länk:

Wärff, C., Molin, H., 2022. Model predictive control in wastewater treatment plants - a literature review. Technical report, Division of Industrial Electrical Engineering and Automation, Lund University, LUTEDX/(TEIE-7290)/1-11/(2021). Länk:


Project name

Digital twin WWTP



RISE role in project

Coordinator, project management and industrial PhD-student

Project start


4 years

Total budget

8 158 270


Nordvästra Skånes Vatten och Avlopp AB (NSVA), Gemit Solutions AB, Industriell Elektroteknik och Automation, Lunds Universitet


Formas Smart Built Environment, Nordvästra Skånes Vatten och Avlopp AB (NSVA), Svenskt Vatten Utveckling

Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

6. Clean water and sanitation
7. Affordable and clean energy
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
11. Sustainable cities and communities
13. Climate action
14. Life below water
Christoffer Wärff

Contact person

Christoffer Wärff


+46 10 516 63 24

Read more about Christoffer

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