Smart pipe trial to begin at University of Birmingham10 November 2020

Low carbon smart pipes for use in large-scale buried infrastructure projects are to be developed in a new partnership between the University of Birmingham and specialist manufacturing company Aquaspira Ltd.

Funded via a grant from Innovate UK, the £269,000, nine-month research programme will support the development of composite plastic and steel drainage and storm water pipes, incorporating high levels of recycled material. Sensor technology built into the pipes will detect and report changes in environmental conditions, enabling infrastructure problems to be rapidly identified and rectified.

Experts at the University of Birmingham’s school of engineering will work with Aquaspira on the development of the sensing technology and the pipes will be tested at the University of Birmingham and National UKCRIC Buried Infrastructure Facility.

Professor Nigel Cassidy, professor of geotechnical infrastructure engineering at the University of Birmingham, said: “Not only will the research deliver low-carbon drainage solutions for the construction industry but the new monitoring technologies will be vital for the long-term assessment of climate change impacts on our built environment.”

Neil Wallace, Managing Director of Aquaspira Ltd, said: “The Government’s objective of carbon zero by 2050 cannot be achieved without a significant reduction in the use of concrete in the construction process. This grant provides an opportunity to enhance understanding of the alternatives and deliver an exemplar low-carbon solution.”

Operations Engineer

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