Water distribution networks around the globe are ignored by most of us – still we completely rely on their safe supply. Fresh water sources are threatened in many regions – in India, dependent on groundwater – nearly 55% of the wells have decreasing levels. It is predicet that 60% of their aquifers will be in critical condition before 2040! Its simply not enough water…

At the same time, the distribution networks are in a pretty pitiful state – they leak as sives! Some European countries have leakage rates of more than 70%. In a global perspective – one third of all waterworks have losses exceeding 40%. Several studies have concluded that reported leakage rates are often underreported – one should assume that realities are even worse.

In this mist, another fact arises – the water sector is one of the top global energy consumers. In the US, it consumes some 5% of all electricity generated. In the UK, this figure is “only” 3%… Irony or tragedy…..

Water distribution network assets are renewed at a frightfully slow paste – In Norway – at the rate of 0,7% per annum. That’s 7 meters of new pipe per kilometer per year! It will take some 145 years to come around the circle – thus, these networks will always be old! So, …. what other tools do we have in the box?

Data! …No, unfortunately not – data is practically speaking – not available. At least not to efficiently manage the proper operation of ageing water pipework. Sensor technology has come a long way, they are inexpensive and reliable but yet not widely in use in this sector. However, a number of suppliers are starting to introduce such products aimed at the water utility segment.

A little while back, we introduced the POGMO – a powerhouse for off-grid locations driven by Sea-Lix’ unique turbine technology – capable of powering a range of sensors and communicating data continuous – real time. This has been a bottleneck – as batteries are unfeasible, as is solar panels and windmills! Harvesting data will enable optimized pressure management of the networks. The potential of this is astonishing – a reduction of leakages ranging above 50% has been reported.

The next step for us has been to address practicalities concerning pressure management. Current state of the art relies on the use of Pressure Reduction Valves – PRV’s. These extract pressure, convert this to energy in the form of heat – which is lost as it disperses into the water. So, the performance of this is …100% ….loss. A parallel would be electrical cars without regenerative breaks. Thats not gonna happen – time to wake up!

The POPCO is a powerhouse and pressure control system. It extract energy represented by the surplus pressure required to be removed – dynamically, – dependent upon operational conditions in the network. Electricity generated may be consumed locally or sold on to the grid… or used to supply power to charging points for electric vehicles…

sea-lix_popco