Syrinix's electronic sensor, East of England

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Water losses from underground pipelines cost millions in wasted water. The UK company Syrinix ltd has developed a smart water pipeline monitoring system to detect leaks and alert the repair teams.

Aims and objectives of this sustainable energy action

Based in Norwich, UK, Syrinix is a young SME that has devel­oped sophisticated sensor and signal processing devices for monitoring water trunk mains.

The company’s development has been supported by equity funding from the low Carbon Innovation Fund (lCIF), a local early­stage venture capital fund which is co­financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), amounting to equity funding of £ 810 000 (EUR 1 million) for Syrinix. 

The lCIF always invests alongside private co­investment; it can also pool co­investment needed for projects from other ‘angel’ investors.

In 2010 Syrinix launched TrunkMinder, a smart water pipeline monitoring system which uses sensors placed at 500 to 750 metre intervals along pipeline systems. The sensors detect tiny leaks and then transmit an automatic alert directly to the relevant utility, which is then able to repair the leak before a pipe bursts or any more water is lost.

The smart monitoring system is already being used by water utilities across the UK and saving millions in time, labour and resources.

Technical and financial implementation

TrunkMinder provides infrastructure managers with key noti­fications on leak location – accurate to the metre – an early warning to prevent catastrophic mains failure, and instanta­neous burst alerts.

Syrinix has also developed TransientMinder which reduces the harmful impact of pressure transients. Activities such as valve closures or rapid openings can have a potentially damaging impact, with pressure transients causing fatigue and some­times catastrophic damage to other components within the local pipe network.

In the past two years Syrinix has become a leading expert in water sector infrastructure management technology and is negotiating with utility companies in Australia, the USA, the Middle East and the Far East.

The lCIF makes early­stage equity investments in SMEs within the East of England that are developing new and innovative products or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensi­tive manner. The Fund operates with £20.5 m (EUR 25.3 m) from the ERDF which is matched by more than £17 m (EUR 21 m) private sector investment – generating a total over £ 50 m (EUR 61.7) of investment in the East of England. The Fund runs until December 2015.