A unique patented process for renewing aged water pipes without the need to dig up the pipes. The process was developed in conjunction with Severn Trent, Anglian, Yorkshire, and Wessex Water. The current phase is to modify our equipment ready to be repetitively used by utility contractors.
The UK has 405,000km of water pipes. It is estimated that 120,000km are in need of replacement (15bn). The US EPA estimates that water infrastructure repairs may be US$633bil over 20 years. In 3 years, the Company is projecting an annual install rate of 875km which represents 0.018% of the 5,000,000kms of European & US drinking water pipes.
The process involves winching a thermoplastic engineered liner into a pipe. An inflation tube then pushes a heated “pig” through the engineered liner, melting it against the pipe. It then cools to form a solid pipe. The business model is to protect the technology, to exploit the IP & know how by licensing to utility contractors and to sell them equipment and materials.
Funding & growth strategy
The Company is planning to raise further funds to mainly finance the completion of the development of the utility contractor equipment. The Company will then leverage the product into the market through licensing the technology to global utility contractors.
Ownership & exit timetable
Founders 25%, HNW 40%, European Institutions & Brokers 26% and Equipment supplier, Licensee & others 9%. Planned IPO in 12-18 months. A successful trade sale is also possible having already received two independent offers to buy the business, one in 2010 for US$21 million.
Managing and Finance Director
Corporate finance, business management and sales professional. 25+ years’ experience including founder, CFO and CEO of Jyra, a SEC reporting issuer, which achieved a value of US$250million (a return of up to 80 times for investors).
World renowned and recognized water & sewer pipe rehabilitation expert” Over 40 years’ experience in pipeline design, installation and rehabilitation. Past Chairman of the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT)
Over 30 years’ experience in financial and commodity markets. He was CEO of Fleming Capital Management, part of Fleming Family and Partners and, prior to that, CEO of GNI Limited (now part of MAN Group)
Hao “Henry” Zhang
Director of Industrial Development
Familiar with the whole process of material purchasing, manufacturing, transporting, promotion and sales.
Over 30 years’ experience in the design, development and commercial application of composite materials on an international basis.
Aqualiner has the only fully structural drinking water liner with UK regulatory approval. Replacement methods involve laying or drilling a new pipe in or by inserting a pipe in the existing host pipe. These methods are either slow to install, significantly reduce the pipe flow capacity, very disruptive in urban environments both above and below ground and/or are expensive.
All of the above processes have significant downsides. Aqualiner is at an advantage over competing pipe rehabilitation methods, as it is versatile enough to be suitable in a wide range of scenarios and is generally lower cost.
a) CEN ISO/AWWA Structural Classifications
- 1 – Non- Structural
- 2/3 – Semi Structural
- 4 – Fully Structural – new pipe equivalent
b) Target installation rate
c) Standard Dimensional Ratio (SDR)
One of the main competitors to the Aqualiner technology for sewers is cured in place pipe (CIPP) which was developed by Insituform Technologies, Inc. in the 1970’s. Insituform Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Aegion Corporation (Nasdaq Global Select Market: AEGN), is a leader in global pipeline protection. Insituform provides proprietary technologies and services for the rehabilitation of wastewater and water pipelines. The CIPP technology has limited applicability to water, due to the materials used having a strong odour and potential to contaminate both the water conveyed and ground water supplies. Aqualiner has been developed to eliminate these problems.
Insituform Technologies, Inc. is a company that is already in the pipeline rehabilitation market place. They have some significant contracts to re-line sewerage pipes in Eastern Europe and in the Far East. These contracts bolster their US work and have allowed them to stabilise the Company. Insituform does develop its own technologies as well as doing contract pipe lining. Insituform also work in conjunction with other companies to licence technologies or buy materials and implement them in their lining systems. In this scenario, Insituform would become a licensee from Aqualiner. Insituform could then become a contractor using the Aqualiner system for their many projects around the world.
Barrier to market entry
The main barrier to market entry is the requirement to have approval for installation in drinking water pipes. This depending on the country involved can take years and may never be granted if there are any ingredients that are not able to be cleared.
It terms of barrier to a similar process being developed this is now known to be a significant technical challenge. The Aqualiner process was historically seen to be relatively simple but since 2016 it is known to be as complex as aerospace engineering in order to achieve reliable and consistent delivery of airflow and heat through the lining material in order to achieve a reliable and pressure tight pipe liner. The ability to simultaneously control time, temperature, airflow and inversion pressure is critical to achieving a constant quality of pressure tight liner.
DEVELOPED IN CONJUNCTION WITH
The patented process had been developed by Aqualiner with the involvement of Severn Trent Water, Anglian Water and Yorkshire Water.