Every year, 32 billion cubic meters of water are lost in cities around the world due to leakages, or approximately 25 percent of all urban drinking water, according to the World Bank.
Much of the losses are incurred due to small, sometimes tiny leaks. But most systems designed to protect water supply networks are intended to plug large-scale seepage.
Curapipe Systems, founded in 2007, has created a new method to repair leaks with its trenchless automated leakage repair (TALR) system. TALR automatically detects and repairs small leaks in distribution pipes.
Curapipe offers what might be called minimally invasive surgery for pipes, an alternative to actual pipeline replacement and the resulting urban disruption. Using a proprietary sponge-like unit called a pig, the system employs water pressure to detect small leaks, and deploys an epoxy-based viscous substance to seal and cure the affected pipe.
According to Curapipe, most existing ‘find-and-fix’ methods contribute primarily to maintaining leakage levels. Aggressive measures to reduce leakage in bulk are carried out through costly high-end trenchless or traditional water pipe networks renewal, the company says.
Curapipe is currently working on a pilot test with Thames Water in London. “We plan to establish partnerships in multiple locations with service delivery partners to expedite market penetration, we are currently engaging with potential partners for setting up a joint venture in the UK. Others follow-on markets in Europe will be targeted, such as Italy, France or Spain,” Paz says.
According to Paz, Curapipe’s technology platform is also suitable for future rollout in the oil and gas industries.
The company was awarded a grant of 800,000 Euros from the European Union for commercialization over a 36-month period. It was also nominated in 2011 as a finalist in the Most Innovative New Technology of the Year category by Water Industry Achievements Awards in the UK.