KANSAS CITY BUSINESS JOURNAL: Five Elms Capital (Kansas) announced a $4.2M investment in Quest Inspar (a robotic pipeline restoration provider in Seattle). Fred Coulson, managing partner at Five Elms, commented “We aim to invest in companies that bring technology into large, established industries to deliver customers a better, faster, and cheaper solution than what incumbents currently offer. “Coulson and Aaron Handke of Five Elms will become members of Quest Inspar’s board, according to the investment terms.
Replacing America’s water mains
Quest Inspar recently completed the world’s first in-place robotic lining of a large diameter drinking water pipeline with structural polyurea; creating new options for utilities to repair in-place aging pipe systems. The company robotically applied its PipeArmor life-extension liner to a 2,156 foot section of Tacoma Water Company’s 58 transmission line located in the Puyallup community, eliminating a need to dig up and replace the deteriorated section of pipeline installed in 1939. The minimal excavation also resulted in little traffic disruption to local residents and commuters traversing the busy intersection.
“We look forward to this being just the beginning helping Tacoma and other municipal water works stopping loss of water from leaks, ensuring safe drinking water and saving the higher cost of pipeline replacement. Tacoma has to address an aging water supply infrastructure. We are pleased with this pilot lining process and anticipate great results long term,” said engineer Michel Peloquin, who headed the project for Tacoma Water Company.
“Polyurea has been around for decades. Many cities use it as a surface sprayed material to protect the walls of water tanks, but being able to apply the PipeArmor structural material which sets instantly when applied into the confined space of a pipe, has taken some very special technology that Quest Inspar developed?and now proven works for large water lines,” says Peloquin.
Improving the water supply
For waterworks utilities, there have been no minimal impact and economically viable options to rehabilitate water pipelines above 42 before Quest Inspar’s solution was brought to market. According to a 2010 study of America’s water supply system by the EPA, every day over 6 billion gallons of drinking water is lost in the US due to leaks and breaks present in our aged water pipelines, some of which date back over 100 years. The same study forecasts that over 50 percent of America’s 950,000 miles of water mains will require replacement in the next 20 years. See related Jim Nash column: Robotics’ Biggest Underground Investment Opportunity A few robotics companies are poised to profit from the exponential rise in spending on water-system inspection and repair.Read More