Research, development and innovation projects
Aguas de Alicante has committed to innovation in all areas of work, from the research of basic processes to the application of the most advanced solutions. Advances are achieved through technological surveillance. Its support in the creation and incorporation of technologies and cutting-edge solutions enables Aguas de Alicante to stay ahead and offer a better service. In accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals, we consider that technological advances and investment in scientific innovation are essential in finding permanent solutions to economic and environmental challenges.
In the last five years, Aguas de Alicante has worked on 26 projects, covering solutions relating to the detection and location of leaks, energy optimisation, flood prediction and mitigation, asset management, efficient consumption, resource reuse, and safety and health, among others.
A key aspect in the development of research, development and innovation projects is collaboration with other companies and organisations, such as local or international universities, technology centres and government bodies. This strategy has enabled us to tackle projects with a greater scope, play an active role in knowledge forums, and work in the framework of European programmes for the development of research, development and innovation.
Some examples of innovative projects developed in recent years are:
Application of Augmented Reality to Infrastructure Management
In this project, Aguas de Alicante explored opportunities offered by augmented reality technologies in our field. As a result, Aguas de Alicante obtained a study of solutions and proposals for the near future that define the areas of work of most interest. On a more tangible scale, two applications have been developed that use this technology in different aspects of our activity:
- Internal application to locate and consult customer meters in a rural setting.
- Application open to the public to communicate and follow the evolution of the main works planned or under way in the city.
With over 2,000 km of water distribution pipes, one priority is to optimise decisions on which networks to renew and how much to invest. Metrawa is a decision support system for renewal of distribution networks that analyses all aspects relevant to the replacement of drinking water pipes and the impact on the required level of service. The multi-parameter analysis of Metrawa includes aspects such as:
- Structural analysis: based on a model of pipe ageing.
- Water analysis: suitability of the behaviour of water in the network.
- Economic analysis: optimal renewal time considering repair costs.
- Risk analysis: considering aspects such as traffic effects, impact on service users and the existence of sensitive areas.
Metrawa is integrated with the geographic information system so that GIS data can be incorporated to provide results that consider renewal priorities, expected costs and future evolution of the structural state of the network.
Photovoltaic coversIf solar panels are installed in manhole covers, the electricity that is generated can be used to supply measurement devices in the covers. The installation of measurement and communication systems in water supply and sewer networks is increasingly complex due to cost and difficulty. Considering these factors and the restrictions to installing elements in streets, it is a major challenge to collect the information we need to manage water and sewer networks. Aguas de Alicante, in collaboration with Bareslan, has tested and validated a solution for the integration of solar panels in some manhole covers. The panels are strong enough to withstand being walked on and are almost indistinguishable from standard metal covers. In addition, they can be used to standardise the design of manhole covers, which facilitates maintenance.
DAIADDAIAD (http://daiad.eu/) is an initiative supported by the EU's 7th Framework Programme, undertaken with research centres, NGOs and Greek, Swiss, German and British companies. One result of the project is the development of the Amphiro b1 device, which was given the Innovation Radar Prize by the European Commission in the 'Tech for Society' category. The shower monitor Amphiro, together with the smart meter, help people to develop an awareness of their water consumption. The devices are connected to smartphones and keep a record of the user's consumption, which helps to identify trends and make comparisons. Together with the meter, an app and web platform were created to monitor (hot) water and energy consumption in the home. In addition and no less importantly, a study was undertaken on how information strategies and awareness raising via the app affect consumption. This project is supported by the voluntary participation of over a hundred homes in Alicante, which tested the system for a year with the collaboration of various NGOs in the city.
ARA SystemIn open-air stores of reused water, stagnation and anaerobiosis may occur, associated with natural processes in this kind of reservoir. In the summer, fish may die suddenly due to high temperatures and the existence of organic matter, among other factors. To prevent these situations, a simple aeration device has been developed that is effective, energy efficient, and helps to maintain the right healthy conditions in this water.
iDroSmartwellThe efficient production of groundwater is now an obligation rather than an option. It allows operational and maintenance savings and is necessary because supply must be compatible with environmental protection, to ensure sustainability. Aguas de Alicante, in collaboration with SUEZ Advanced Solutions, has developed an advanced expert system to carry out continuous audits ofwell efficiency, and a complete analysis of the functioning of the unit comprised of the pump and the aquifer. This smart system can calculate efficiency indicators, maximise (hydraulic and electric) performance of the facility and prevent problems that could affect water production. IDroSmartwell is a unique, powerful tool with many benefits:
- It provides complete, accurate information on the control of water bodies.
- It permits control of the operation, as a large number of water and electricity parameters are calculated and managed via an operating panel. The facility can also be automated and monitored remotely.
- It allows cost savings due to a reduction in the rate of faults and continuous monitoring of efficiency ratios, to optimise the facility.