SBIR Phase I: Wireless Leakage Monitoring System for Electrofusion Joints

SBIR Phase I: Wireless Leakage Monitoring System for Electrofusion Joints

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1746114
Agency Tracking Number: 1746114
Amount: $220,688.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2018
Solicitation Year: 2017
Solicitation Topic Code: I
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
One Boston Pl Ste 2600, Boston, MA, 21084
DUNS: 080685856
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Ruben Mencos
 (617) 435-4571
 ragnar@properpipe-usa.com
Business Contact
 Ruben Mencos
Phone: (617) 435-4571
Email: ragnar@properpipe-usa.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is a substantial reduction of leakage in high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes. HDPE is a type of plastic commonly used for water, oil, and gas distribution pipe systems. Billions of gallons of treated water are lost daily across the US due to leaking pipes, resulting in massive revenue loss, environmental and property damage, and energy waste. Furthermore, millions of metric tons of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, escape every year into the atmosphere through leaking pipes. Most leaks occur at pipe joints and by wirelessly monitoring each joint for leaks, as a part of a smart infrastructure network, major leak reduction can be achieved. The commercial impact of the project is extensive, as smart infrastructure networks are increasingly being implemented and expanded, sensor and wireless communication technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and the rate of piping infrastructure installations, replacements, and repairs are accelerating across the US and globally. The proposed project aims to demonstrate a prototype capable of detecting a leak in electrofusion joints and wirelessly communicate the leak to an external network. Such joint monitoring system is highly desirable as pipe leaks can go undetected for an extended period of time. Moreover, once detected, leaks can be difficult and expensive to locate, especially as pipes are commonly buried underground or situated at hard-to-reach or remote locations. The challenge that comes with this  is to provide a reliable local power source for the sensing unit that can be on standby for up to 50 years. A second challenge is to generate a signal, powered by the local power source, that can be transmitted to the surface and notify a leak to an external signal receiver. A water-activated battery combined with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitter will be developed for this purpose. RFID technology is extensively used in a broad range of industries due to its low-cost and good reliability . This technology is, therefore, an excellent candidate for providing an affordable joint leak detection system.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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