OFWAT Innovation Fund – Winners!

Posted on Monday, May 20th, 2024

Pipebots (University of Sheffield) has been named as one of the winners of the fourth Water Breakthrough Challenge!

Pipebots (University of Sheffield) has been named as one of the winners of the fourth Water Breakthrough Challenge, the latest innovation competition in Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund!

Run by Ofwat and Challenge Works and supported by Arup and Isle Utilities, the Water Breakthrough Challenge aims to encourage initiatives that help to tackle the biggest challenges facing the water sector, such as achieving net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and reducing leakage, as well as delivering value to society.

Working with our partners, Pipebots is involved in 3 exciting initiatives:

No Dig Leak repair – From concept to reality 

Amount awarded: £6,039,069

Led by: Thames Water

Partners: Affinity Water, Anglian Water, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water,  South East Water, Southern Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water Limited, Synthotech Ltd, Transport for London, Uisce Éireann, University of Sheffield (Pipebots), Yorkshire Water

Leakage of drinking water from buried networks is increasingly unacceptable, but replacing water mains is costly and protracted. Repairing hidden leaks must therefore be increased sustainably and this project will develop technology to repair leaks from within live water mains, without disruptive excavations and with minimal interruptions to water supplies.

More information

Pipebots for rising mains 2 – Technology Development Phase 2

Amount awarded: £1,656,229

Led by: Thames Water

Partners: Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Synthotech Ltd, Thames Water, University of Sheffield (Pipebots), Wessex Water

Pipebots for Rising Mains Phase 2 builds on work successfully completed through previous rounds of the Water Breakthrough Challenge. The project will develop technology for condition assessment inspections in live sewer rising mains to enable rehabilitation works to be planned and prioritised, reducing the risk of failure leading to pollution.

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Pipebot Patrol

Amount awarded: £1,615,325

Led by: Northumbrian Water

Partners: Environmental Monitoring Solutions Ltd, Gateshead Council, Jet Aire, Minicam Group, Newcastle City Council, Southern Water, Sunderland City Council, Thames Water, University of Sheffield (Pipebots)

Pipebot Patrol will develop an autonomous sewer robot that lives in the sewer, constantly inspecting and raising alerts to the precise location of blockages, as they are beginning to form. This proactive approach allows maintenance teams enough time to react before sewer flooding occurs, keeping sewage where it belongs.

More information