Innovation - What We Are Working On

HomeInnovation - What We Are Working On

Innovation - What We Are Working On


Innovation is about change. At SES Water we have identified a number of innovative projects that will positively change how our customers experience water, ranging from smart water meters to high efficiency transformers which can reduce the cost of electricity.


Project: Smart water metering trial                   

Timescales: From May 2018


We are trialling out smart water meters based on the developing Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. We have built a number of bespoke test units, with the help of a major telecommunication supplier, which will help us to understand the range, battery life and communication frequency possible from such solutions. One of the major constraints is the long battery life required (in the UK, water meters have a typical life of about 15 years). Our initial tests have shown that we have an industry leading device, which will be able to provide consumers with frequent information on how water is being used at their property, together with the ability to detect and warn customers if a leak is occurring on their property. We are currently developing an application to allow customers to see this information on their phone or a webpage.

Key technologies: Internet of Things; LoRaWAN; data analysis; app development; water efficiency; customer interaction


Project: Mains Condition Surveying                 

Timescales: Ongoing


We own and manage 3,445km of water mains, most of which is buried about a metre underground. We have both an active mains replacement program and we also carry out repairs on burst pipes, but most of our understanding of the current mains condition comes from statistical analysis based on the age, material type, soil type and previous failure modes. A few years ago, we saw an interesting presentation from an international Company that was looking for additional use cases for an extremely accurate pressure measurement sensor. We are currently working with them to develop a method for testing the existing pipe condition using these sensors without the need to carry out any excavations. Once we are able to measure pipe condition in this way, we will be able to estimate our current mains condition better and target our mains laying programmes more effectively. In addition, once we have a calibrated mains condition model, we would be able to better understand the risks associated with operating valves and isolating mains for repair, which currently can cause secondary bursts.

Key technologies: Pressure measurement; Ferric mains condition; Leakage reduction; Mains laying programme optimisation; Mains condition models


Project: PTFE Borehole pumps                      

Timescales: From March 2018


Most of our water (85%) comes from boreholes. In the Godstone area, our borehole pumps quickly become fouled up with ochre (a mixture of clay, sand and iron oxide), which means they typically last for less than 5 years. We have tried out high efficiency, hard wearing coatings, but unfortunately these still foul up in less than a year. We are therefore trying out some PTFE coated pumps at one of our sites, to see whether this coating can minimise the fouling and subsequently increase the life of our borehole pumps.

Key technologies: Borehole pumping; low friction coatings; energy efficiency; condition based monitoring


Project: Super-efficient transformers               

Timescales: From Summer 2018

Some of our treatment works consume upwards of 7 GWh of electricity per year. That’s the equivalent of about 2,200 homes. At these treatment works, we have to use transformers to convert the incoming power into a suitable voltage. All transformers have a degree of inefficiency, and as a result there is a small amount of wasted power in the power conversion. We are trialling super-efficient transformers which will improve the efficiency by 1%-2%.  Even with a 1% efficiency gain, the saving is 70,000 kWh per year or enough energy to power 22 homes for a year. 

Key technologies: Electricity transformers; energy efficiency


Project: Historian replacement/enhancement     

Timescales: From January 2018


In order to manage our Treatment sites, we use a SCADA solution (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition). Although this solution has proved very capable in assisting us in managing and running the works, it has proved difficult to interrogate the solution for historical information and also to integrate the SCADA solution with other operational system. We are therefore trialling a new SCADA historian which will allow us greater access to this data, and also allow SCADA data to be consumed elsewhere. This has particular benefits when matched with our developing smart network solution.

Key technologies: SCADA; Data historian; Data analysis;