Croc Tank Highlights Innovations Coming to Water Sector

In a Shark Tank-style presentation, manufacturers at WEFTEC unveiled new technology

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Hydropower for gravity-flow waterlines. A new method of pipe restoration. A lower-cost way to assess underground pipes’ condition. These are just three of the innovations presented during a Croc Tank session Wednesday, Sept. 30, at WEFTEC 2015 in Chicago.

The session, sponsored by the Water Council and named for WEF mascot Niles Crocodile, was a takeoff on the popular Shark Tank reality TV show. Entrepreneurs presented their ideas to a panel of investors, advisors and customers. Here’s a look at some of the innovations described in five-minute pitches.

  • In-pipe hydro power. Susan Priddy of Lucid Pipe Technology pitched a hydroturbine technology for use in gravity-flow water pipes. The company’s 24- to 110-inch turbines can produce base load electricity at 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour. They can be installed while water flows in the pipe and so without service interruption. A system operating in Riverside, California, has produced 71 MWh in three years. Another system is to be completed this year for the Portland (Oregon) Water Bureau.
  • Pipe liner. A 3M representative described the Scotchkote lining system for aging water pipes. Lines can be cleaned and then lined with a polymer product in a thickness to suit the application. Lighter applications can help prevent leakage; heavier amounts can restore some measure of structural integrity.
  • Simpler inspection. A spokesperson for Iconac highlighted a new noninvasive method for determining the condition of buried pipe, using sonic sensing technology. The method can be used to inspect about 10,000 feet of pipe per day in increments of about 35 feet. The sensing devices are placed on valves or hydrants.
  • Low-head hydro power. Gia Schneider, representing Natel Energy, told how EcoSmart Hydro, a form of distributed hydroelectric power, can produce electricity for 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. The devices are compact, operate at low pressure, and are fish-friendly. A watershed software package helps users determine the best locations for the hydroturbines.


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