The SMEs in the Advocate consortium have come together to meet the greatest challenge to the European Water Industry – improving the cost-effective provision of clean water supply and sewage disposal services. These services are regulated by gate valves – isolation valves that determine the system flow. The project consortium developed smart gate valves which will be used in the detection and management of water leaks through employing autonomous wireless sensor nodes (WSNs) in an underground MESH network powered by a unique, piezo-film Vibration Energy Harvesting (VEH) system. Advocate valve systems could save the European Water Industry upwards of € 804 Mn per year. The amount of leaked water in Europe, per year, is estimated to cost society approximately € 80 billion. To reduce this huge cost to society, the Advocate consortium developed innovative gate valves on water and waste water pipes that will have the following innovative characteristics: Valves automatically monitor for leaks and a vibration energy system that generates enough power that these same valves could be used in a network of wireless sensors. These new innovative valves could then be sold to water and sewage utilities and municipal authorities. Our SME partners (ESCO, Herbertek, HMT, Xepto, Helnor) formed the ideal trans-national supply chain to deliver the gate valve hardware, sensor and telecoms packages and the necessary firmware and software. The technological challenges that consortium has overcome with the assistance of the RTOs are:
1) MESH network of smart water and waste water valves that can be remotely monitored and controlled;
2) Modified pressure sensors for detection of leaks;
3) The vibration energy harvesting and power management system that will power the smart gate vales.
The individual SMEs, European society and water user worldwide will benefit by:
- The increased detection and prevention of water leaks, using Advocate system, leading to € 800 million savings per annum;
- Municipalities and water utilities will be able to monitor the status of and manage their underground water and waste water assets (i.e. for firefighting, drinking water, wastewater disposal etc.);
- Reduced cost of water to society and how much consumer pays for water.