What would happen if nine of the most innovative players in the Danish water industry got together to create a complete solution to fight water loss? The LEAKman project will provide not just the answer to that question but also valuable knowledge to the companies involved as well as water utilities everywhere.
Danish suppliers of water technology have long been known for delivering innovative products that each contribute to reducing water loss and Denmark’s average level of water loss is among the lowest in the world at only 7.6% in 2016. However, there has never been one solution integrating all of them. Until now.
In the LEAKman project, nine Danish companies have joined forces to create a comprehensive state-of-the-art solution that can reduce leakages and help solve the challenge with Non-Revenue Water (NRW), which is a severe and global problem.
A full-scale real-life test bubble
The LEAKman project brings together suppliers of each of the individual systems and components that make up a water utility’s daily setting. The project aims to integrate and optimise existing products in a shared mission to fight water loss: “The goal is to get the existing elements to work together – and to exchange data and knowledge to make us all smarter in the process,” explains Klavs Høgh, project manager at LEAKman initiator, NIRAS.
The project partners include the two water utilities, HOFOR and Novafos, who have put their distribution network at the disposal of the participants to enable a full-scale implementation in four demonstration areas. According to Klavs Høgh these real-life test labs are key to ensuring the value and applicability of the findings from the project: “Everything is connected, so we need to see how the individual parts interact in practice – not just on a computer screen.”
“You need to know what you’re looking for”
Kamstrup’s role in the LEAKman project is focused on making the water consumption more transparent, which specifically involves delivering the almost 5,000 remotely-read smart meters that have now been installed in the demonstration areas.
“To reduce water loss, you have to find leaks fast and to do that, you need to know what you’re looking for. That’s where we come in: mapping water loss through remote network reading and info codes,” says Stig Knudsen, Product Manager at Kamstrup.
In addition to measuring consumption, the new meters will notify the utilities about leaks and bursts, temperature variations, tampering, back flows and enable ongoing online monitoring of the water balance in the District Metering Areas (DMAs). They therefore avoid manual meter readings, estimated calculations and time-consuming follow-ups on inaccurate or missing readings.
Kamstrup also provides pressure sensors that allow the utilities to perform pressure optimisation based on knowledge of the actual pressure at the critical points of the distribution network rather than on theory and assumptions. Pressure sensors will also reveal any unexpected events and enable the utilities to monitor their network to track and possibly avoid pressure surges.
The Kamstrup solutions in the LEAKman project are further directly integrated with online hydraulic models, which allows for highly accurate calculations of pressure optimisation potential, demand forecasting and much more.
Innovation at its finest
For Kamstrup, participating in the LEAKman project was an easy choice. “There is so much expertise and knowledge in the Danish water industry, that this project just makes perfect sense. We are very excited to be part of it and see the difference we can make,” says Stig Knudsen.
In addition, the findings from the demonstration areas will provide valuable and specific knowledge about Kamstrup’s meters and pressure sensors. “We really want to prove our integration into the full water management system. This will allow us to see how we can further develop it,” says Stig Knudsen.
And to him, that’s what innovation is all about: “Innovation is a ‘Show, don’t tell’ kind of playing field. We can claim to be innovative all day long, but it is in projects like this that we actually prove it.”
Easy integration creates synergy
All utilities might not need the full solution, but according to Klavs Høgh there is a huge potential in even just combining some of the individual elements: “Different product combinations will create synergies that benefit not just the utility but the suppliers as well. In those cases, one plus one equals much more than two.”
This places significant demands on the openness and interfaces of the different systems to ensure that they can be easily integrated in a multi-supplier solution. ”Kamstrup’s solution is extremely flexible because it is based on standardised meter data and has the right interfaces to interact smoothly with other systems. The meter data is collected through the meter reading system READy but can easily be exported to e.g. the utility’s SCADA system,” explains Stig Knudsen.
Much more to come
Data has started coming in from the demonstration areas, and the partners can now begin to interpret and refine them. Some of the more advanced use cases for hourly smart meter data include improving the quality of consumption variation curves, establishing the connection between distribution pressure and consumption as well as introduce the use of coincidence factors for dimensioning pipes.
As more and more data becomes available, other use cases are expected to follow and contribute to paving the way for new leak detection possibilities.
About the project:
- Project partners: AVK Group, Aveva, DTU (Technical University of Denmark), Grundfos, HOFOR, Kamstrup, Leif Koch, NIRAS, Novafos
- LEAKman is a lighthouse project under the Danish Eco-Innovation Program supported by the Ministry of Environment and Food
- Supplied by Kamstrup: 4,800 MULTICAL® 21 water meters and a number of pressure sensors that are all read remotely through a READy network
- Timeline: 2016-2020