THE PRODUCT

Since 2007 Aqualiner has developed a fourth generation of fully process controlled equipment capable of producing liners in water companies live infrastructure. During 2016 one of the key objectives was to file one or more patent applications on aspects of the design of a new heated pig, thereby providing a further 20 years’ patent protection.

TRENCHLESS

Possibility to line pipes that are difficult to access (underneath rivers, roads, railway tracks etc)

THIN-WALLED

Both water pipes and sewers are lined by winching in the Aqualiner thermoplastic composite engineered liner.

STRUCTURAL

Restoration of the functionality of a pipeline system for many decades to come

LONG SHELF LIFE

no liquid resins mean that there are no shelf life concerns.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Protection of the environment due to CO2 emission reduction

COST EFFECTIVE

Rehabilitation is less expensive than traditional open cut;

MINIMISE DISRUPTION

Process has a small footprint on site – potentially only requiring 2 vehicles on site

3rd PARTY FITTINGS

Uses standard 3rd party attachments – joints, connections, end seals etc.

LOW MAINTENANCE

Elimination of further interventions on rehabilitated water mains

AQUALINERS INNOVATION

One of the main reasons that a lot of pipe repair/renewal techniques are expensive is that they require a significant proportion of the surface (roads) to be dug up. The alternatives are the so-called trenchless techniques. These do not require a trench to be dug along the length of the pipe to replace the pipe; rather they re-line or replace the pipes from the inside. 

With the exception of expensive pipe-bursting techniques all existing techniques are either not structural or not compatible with drinking water.

CURRENT STATUS

COMMERCIAL BENEFITS

Uses standard 3rd party attachments – joints, connections, end seals etc.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS

THE AQUALINER PROCESS

1.

The process involves inserting a “engineered liner”, which is an intricate blend of glass fibre and polypropylene filaments, into the pipe to be lined.

2.

A heating pig is then passed through the woven engineered liner which heats the material, using hot air, to above the melt temperature of the polypropylene material (i.e. above 180°C).

3.

The molten mixture of glass fibres and polypropylene is then consolidated against the pipe wall by a pressurised silicone rubber inversion hose.

4.

Upon contact with the pipe wall the materials cool down to form a thin walled structural glass fibre reinforced polypropylene liner.

The latest equipment design consists of the following:

INVERSION DRUMS

INVERSION BAGS

HEATING PIGS

CONTROL UNIT

UMBILICAL HOSE

PARTNERS

THE INSTALLATION PROCESS

SITE PREPARATION

Access to water mains pipe is effected by typically digging two pits (2m x 1m)

Sewer pipes are accessed by manholes.

PIPE CLEANING

Water pipes and sewers are cleaned prior to lining using a number of proprietary cleaning techniques including pressure jetting, ice pigging, drag scraping, grit blasting, etc.

LINING

Both water pipes and sewers are lined by winching in the Aqualiner thermoplastic composite engineered liner. Passing a heating PIG through the sock to melt the material and then pressurising the sock against the pipe wall using an inversion bag to form a thin walled, structural lining.

JOINTS & CONNECTIONS

For gravity sewers laterals are easily identified on CCTV and can be cut away using standard lateral cutters. The ends of the sewer pipes can be cut flush again using standard disc cutters. For water pipes house connections are made using proprietary strap on ferrules. Liners are reconnected back to the water mains pipe network using standard mechanical couplers and flange adapters. Once reconnected the lined pipe is sterilised and put back into operation. The whole process of lining, connections and sterilisation is designed to be undertaken within a few hours.

REGULATORY APPROVALS

DRINKING WATER APPROVAL

When installing a product or material in public drinking water infrastructure globally a regulatory approval will be essential. In some countries, non-conformity is a criminal offence.

US REQUIREMENTS

If you manufacture, sell or distribute water treatment or distribution products in North America, your products are required to comply with NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects by most governmental agencies that regulate drinking water supplies.

Aqualiner’s drinking water pipe lining product has been approved in the UK under Regulation 31 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2000. Aqualiner has also received NSF 61 Certification for its product to be used in the US Drinking Water Infrastructure. (see Appendix 2)

Drinking water supply products approval (England and Wales)

Approval is required from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) if you manufacture or supply some products or substances to water suppliers.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) is the independent regulator of drinking water in England and Wales, ensuring that water companies supply safe drinking water that is acceptable to consumers and meets the standards set down in law.

DWI works with the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). You need approval for products used to treat or distribute public water. DWI is recognised globally as being the most stringent regulator and as a result, few companies and products have gained approval.

Global approvals

Generally, the process and product will need local in country regulatory approval. Depending on the license agreement the Company will either own the approval or allow its licensee to obtain it.

Other Approvals & Certificate

The Aqualiner lining system received WRC approval for waste water applications as specified in PT/292/1109-AS. This includes meeting all the requirements of BS EN 13566-4:2002 “Plastic piping systems for the renovation of underground non-pressure drainage and sewerage networks – Part 4”. These tests include:

Short term modulus
Long term (50 year) modulus
Long term strain in bending – strain corrosion test

Aqualiner’s liner has also met the requirements of Clause 6.10 of WIS 4-35-01 issue 1 July 2000 for resistance to jetting pressure of 180 bar (2600 Psi).

Aqualiner products are designed for gravity and pressure use in generally in accordance with WRC Sewer Rehabilitation Manual and using the procedures of the design appendix of ASTM F1216-09.

The liner is capable of performing as a standalone AWWA Class 4 liner. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) M28 Manual on Rehabilitation of Water Mains has established four classes of design: non-structural (Class I), semi-structural (Class II and III), and fully structural (Class IV). Class I liners only act as corrosion barriers, Class II/III liners are designed to bridge over small holes or gaps in the host pipe, while Class IV liners will carry the full internal pressure without support from the host pipe)

Patents & Trademarks

The Company’s management believe that there is a significant value in having critical additional patents granted in the Company’s name with a long life and on a global basis. Not only will it provide leverage when negotiating global licensing agreements but also add to the overall value of the business and its technology. The 2016 design review has been transformational for the Company as it created new and valuable intellectual property, restarting the clock in terms of patent life.

Aqualiner is a technology licensing company and therefore its direct and indirect ownership of intellectual property is critical to obtaining financial value. Being able to expand and extend the life of its existing intellectual property portfolio while obtaining direct ownership of new patents should provide substantial commercial, competitive and corporate benefits. 

PATENTS

Aqualiner was originally granted exclusive worldwide (excluding Scandinavia) rights for the use of the three patents covering the lining process and related equipment. The patents covered the applications of the original Aqualiner prototype, but additional patent(s) protection has been and is being sought by Aqualiner as the design and applications develop.  This gives Aqualiner direct patent protection and life to the ongoing product development plan as the patents are held by the Company outside the original technology license from the UK water companies.

Patent life extended through equipment enhancements

During 2016, the Company started to make applications for patents covering the new inventions. The first patent application (1616384.2) filed in September 2016 covers the unique internal design of the heating Pig that melts the material in the pipe. Aqualiner received confirmation from UK Patent Office of the grant of its Patent Number GB2554431 in July 18. It has also been granted in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Japan. The patent application in pending in United States and Australia.

A second patent application (1802664.1) covers the design necessary to achieve even air flow and temperature as it exits the heating pig. It was filed in February 2018 and the Company received confirmation from UK Patent Office of the grant of its Patent Number GB2571127 in March 2021. It has an expiry date of February 2038. The Company has filed an application for European territorial coverage along with US, Canada, Japan and Australia.

Trademarks

Aqualiner has a trademark: Melt in Place Pipe (MIPP) – This is a term that has evolved due to the main sewer rehabilitation process used in Sewer is Cured in Place Pipe “CIPP”. Aqualiner intend to market the melting aspect as opposed to a chemical process 

COMPETITION

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. 

Dig Up & Replace

Horizontal Directional Drill

Close Fit Lining

Slip Lining

Fold and form

Spray Lining

Pipe Burst

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.

Sewer/Waste Water

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.

DOWNLOADS

Pitch Deck

Aqualiner Pitch Deck – March 2021

Installation Report

Severn Trent – 2021

Data Sheet

Aqualiner – Data Sheet

Saddle fittings

Aqualiner Saddle fittings

Regualtions

UK Reg 31 DWI 56.4.910

Approvals

USA – NSF Facility Approval

Approvals

USA – NSF Product Approval

Developed in conjunction with

The patented process had been developed by Aqualiner with the involvement of Severn Trent Water, Anglian Water and Yorkshire Water.