Technology accurately pinpoints leaks in plastic pipes, improving detection and
reducing water waste
Innovation and benefits
Reducing water leaks is a priority for the water industry. Rapid detection speeds repair – reducing water waste, costs and disruption. LeakFinderST is a noise correlator, an electronic device used for underground leak detection. It provides rapid location and pinpoint accuracy even on difficult to detect leaks, particularly those in plastic pipes.
Severn Trent Water (STW) collaborated with experts within ABCE and MEME, commissioning fundamental research into leakage in plastic pipes. This partnership led to the development of a prototype correlator which – in a range of field trials – performed better than existing commercially available equipment. STW approached Echologics to refine and commercialise this new correlator and has also agreed to share revenue from that deal with the University. The University will then share the income with the inventors and the Schools.
The award-winning patented technology, LeakFinderST, was launched in May 2014. Echologics describe it as their “next generation correlator” which provides “a whole new level of speed and accuracy”. It has the potential to save in the region of £5 million a year in the UK alone – and international interest is growing fast.
The multidisciplinary research team now have a wealth of commercial experience, including authorship of international patents, underpinned by the research that led to the award of a PhD and associated papers.
The collaboration has helped to cement the very positive relationship the University enjoys with STW that underpins a range of activity across campus. The new technology is helping the water industry to improve leak detection and repair. The University’s role in this critical advance once again confirms its reputation as a leader in the fields of geotechnical engineering and signal processing.
In 2014, the Leak detection and location in plastic pipes project - a partnership between Severn Trent Water, Echologics and the University - was the outright winner at the Water Industry Achievement Awards, scooping both the Most Innovative New Technology of the Year and Outstanding Innovation awards.