Be a water efficient city by increasing your knowledge on the water losses in your buildings
Welcome to SonoLeak, a start-up team of bright master’s students from around the world with the goal of saving leaking water by detecting the leaks from the pipes around the world! Our short 3-minute video will introduce you to our vision, then more details can be read about avoiding water waste in our water grid to unsure portable water for future generations. Efficiency on our water system will be the key to provide enough water to the increasing earth population.
How did we start?
Our story began at Denmark Technical University, where our team was forged within the X-Tech Entrepreneurship course. This course encourages students to solve challenges pitched from around the world.
Our challenge came from Ulsan, a city in South Korea, selected by the Innovation Center Denmark at the Danish Embassy in Seoul. The challenge comes from the Ulsan International Development Cooperation Center (UIDCC), and is supported by the Ulsan municipal government and University of Ulsan, also, in Ulsan.
The Ulsan International Development Cooperation Center provided us with a problem concerning a sustainable and sufficient drinking water supply and tasked us along with other teams around the world participating in the Next Generation Water Action initiative (NGWA) to find a solution.
What is water leakage?
A significant amount of water is lost in the water supply system. Water leakages have been a major problem for many regions around the world (Weifeng et al, 2011). In some countries water loss due to water leakages in the supply network exceeds 40% of the water in the supply system. More specifically, in Ulsan, water leakage represents 12.5% of the total portable water losses. Water leakage have been a major social issue that needs to be solved for all around the world not only for economic loss but also for the protection of people from urban accidents derived from neglected water leakages and the preparation of climate changes like severe droughts. At the same time, these leaks are unaccounted-for water (UFW) that they an economical loss for water companies.
Even though, Ulsan city is investing in smart water monitoring system to implement in their water grid, there are still some deficiencies and undetected leaks around the city, since the water companies are having economic loss (they are not having the correct revenue according to the amount of water produced).
What is SonoLeak?
SonoLeak is a company that provides smart device to building owners to install in their properties. In return, users pay the device price and they allow SonoLeak to collect their data in order to optimize the algorithm and sell it to the other SonoLeak market section. Governments and insurance companies use SonoLeak services to have data in which to base their decisions. That is why SonoLeak has a data service business model oriented.
SonoLeak provides a solution to achieve more efficiency and sustainable water grid system. Nowadays, water waste is monitored in the municipal level and private household level. However, there is unmonitored area in the water grid: the pipes between the water grid become private domain until enters individuals’ households (red pipes in the following picture)
SonoLeak provides innovative water leakage detection management solution based on digital smart technology to solve the water leakage problem in apartments buildings level. This solution not only can be implemented in Ulsan but also all over the world where there are these building with unmonitored pipes.
There are around 2700 apartment buildings in Ulsan. We are expecting that if these apartments install our Sonoleak devices to detect and prevent leaks, water flow rate of the city is expected to improved from 87.5% to 95% by 2030, by reducing loss rate from 12.5% to 5%.
When SonoLeak helps to improve only 1% of the flow rate, Ulsan city can save 0.8mil USD every year. The graph shows Ulsan can save around 6 Mil USD in 2030.
How does it work?
Smart Water Leakage Detection/Management System
By improving 1% flow rate with our solution, this can provide energy and economic benefits alike, with a decrease in 398 tons CO2 generation and a cost saving of 0.8 mil USD every year!
What needs to happen?
In order to take this concept from just rough design to reality, intensive development needs to be performed. A representative external partner from the water sector is needed to strengthen the solution, so we can carry out pilot tests to implement the SonoLeak solution in an actual apartment complex in Ulsan. Thorough further research and testing, SonoLeak will be more accurate on detecting and analysing leaks. Subsequently, the SonoLeak device and its software can be fully developed.
Impact and future
This solution has the potential to not only generate significant amounts of monetary value to water companies, but also helps reducing the impact of the water industry. It reduces the stress cause to natural water resources. In a bigger picture, fixing leakage will provide more portable water by using the same actual amount of energy and resource (materials and monetary).
By reducing leakages on different cities’ water system, we are increasing the sustainability worldwide. As a result, SonoLeak is a solution towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 6, 11 and 12.
At the same time, this alternative solution will allocate more drinking water, so the level of the dams can be kept down, to preserve the Bangudae petroglyphs.
Meet SonoLeak! We are a multicultural team of 4 students studying Design & Innovation, Sustainable Energy, Electrical Engineering and Mathematical Modelling and Computation in Denmark Technical University. Our multidisciplinary background gave our team a real asset to tackle this complex problem.
This is only the beginning of solving this entrepreneurship challenge, so if you are interested in helping us make the world more sustainable, or just would like to know more about us, feel free to reach out to us at these addresses:
Teresa Fainé, firstname.lastname@example.org
Zachary Titone Alderson, email@example.com
Di Wu, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are especially looking for assistance in finances, electrical engineering, as well as those knowledgeable in leak detection technology!