Ice pigs fly
11 June 2009
Professor Joe Quarini of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has won a Dragons’ Den-style competition for his invention of ice pigging, a simple but effective technique for cleaning pipes and ducts by pumping through a thick ice slurry or ‘ice pig’.
The competition, Shark Tank, was organised by consulting and business services group Mouchel in collaboration with Severn Trent Water and Anglian Water. Based on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den, Shark Tank aimed to unlock the entrepreneurialism and hidden talent in the water industry by providing an entertaining, high-profile platform for showcasing new technologies and ideas. The interactive event brought together budding engineering entrepreneurs with investment opportunities as the finalists were invited to pitch to a panel of expert judges, including business mogul, Richard Farleigh, and water company executives.
The event was part of the 2009 Sustainabilitylive! conference, held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham in May, an event that provides a forum for experts in the environment, energy, water and land sectors to share industry knowledge and inspiration.
Piers Clark, Managing Director of Mouchel’s regulated industries business and a panel judge, said: ‘The water industry has been through a rocky time of late with the recession. What is needed now is a spirit of optimism and belief. We have seen some really whizzy products and they can all fly. It is this kind of thinking and attitude that Shark Tank encourages.’
Professor Quarini said: ‘I am delighted that ice pigging was identified by recognised water industry experts as a paradigm shift in vital process of pipe cleaning. The next step is to build a synergistic relationship with an international water service company able to rapidly disseminate the technology throughout the world. This pig will fly!’
- For more information on ice pigging, go to the University of Bristol press release.