Vinnova has approved a 20 Million SEK UDI (challenge-driven innovation) application regarding “Condition assessment and management of piping systems” for the water sector. This is the second stage project for UDI starting in November 2015 and ending in December 2017. Stable access to clean water, wastewater and district heating is a necessity for a sustainable and attractive city. Today, there are almost no methods to assess the status of piping systems without digging up the pipes at great costs and disturbances. Dig-free methods and new technical solutions are long asked for by the owners of piping systems in Sweden as well as globally.
The first stage of the project ended in August, 2015 and focused on gathering stakeholders, starting collaborating and identifying needs and possible solutions and technologies to formulate new methods for status assessment on pipes. In this second stage the partners (water, wastewater and district heating companies) will be testing five new digfree methods for status assessment of piping systems in collaboration with researchers and technology based SMEs. The project will also identify which other data that need to be collected and combine the data of the new methods with the data already collected by the operators of piping systems. External data of for example traffic movements, rainfall, ground water levels etc will also be included in this. Finally, the project aims to establish a status assessment service that visually shows to the piping system owner accurately and in real-time where a pipe is weakened and need to be replaced in order to prevent a critical failure. The potential for a global market success is immense. Most cities have piping systems of about the same age as in Sweden, implying that the critical life span will end at about the same time. In the EU, the total reinvestments made in the water sector alone is about 400 billion SEK. Thus new methods have a great potential for market success. The project is driven by LU Open, Lund University to meet this grand challenge of securing available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This requires joint efforts from research, industry and public sector to work together and find new and innovative solutions to universal problems. Lund University plays an important role in developing the already strong ecosystem of water management in Sweden by initiating and leading these joint projects.