The EU: Using Airborne Technology to Detect Water Leakage in Underground Pipes

15 Dec 2021

As global warming heavily impacts water sources globally, it is important to address any wastage owing to faulty water infrastructure and facilities. In some countries in Europe, a large quantity of water is lost owing to leakages in underground pipes. It is difficult to monitor the water transmission mains in rural localities, as traditional field surveys are costly both in terms of time and money. In order to increase efficiency in infrastructure monitoring, and in turn eliminate water wastage, European researchers are looking towards innovative approaches that can help water companies locate leakages in their systems.

One such approach has recently been developed under the European Union (EU) project, WADI, coordinated by This innovation uses drones to detect water leakages in infrastructure. The drones are equipped with multispectral and infrared cameras and can cover wide areas, as well as sites that are too difficult to access. Data from these drones is analysed using an approach called the Triangle method.

The Traingle method of data analysis combines surface temperatures and a vegetation index to determine water leaks. Leakages lead to lower surface temperatures, which is detected by a thermal infrared camera. However, the thermal response of vegetated soils differs to bare land, making it difficult to obtain clear results on moisture content and potential water loss. To deal with this issue, researchers have included a parameter in the data analysis that measures the vegetation cover fraction, which is inferred by hyperspectral cameras to get a temperature-dependent humidity scale that varies according to vegetation.

This innovation was initially tested in France and Portugal where the equipment was validated and the measurement strategy fine-tuned. The images collected during the drone flights were processed and analysed, and potential leakages identified. Detected sites were then categorized as true positive/true negative /false positive /false negative, and associated with the technology used, environmental conditions, vegetation type, soil type, humidity, soil temperature, irrigation presence and precipitation in the ten days prior to the flights. Overall, the system proved able to detect water in the soil (on vegetated and bare land) in approximately 70% of the cases, while the performance of the technology in discovering actual water leaks (not owing to the land being vegetated) was approximately 50%. Most importantly, it was observed that the accuracy of the system in targeting true events improved significantly over time.

This technology works best in agricultural regions with bare soils, with crops at the initial stages of growth, and in areas with a mix of both.  The solution also works well in clay and sandy clay soils. However, its performance is limited in areas with silty clay soils. Moreover, the complexity or diameter of the pipes being investigated, and the type of technology used in the water system does not have an impact on the performance.

The WADI system is one of a kind as it can monitor complex networks and long pipes (50 to 90 km/h depending on the use of drones or planes), and as it’s airborne it can reach inaccessible or secluded locations in spite of difficulties in terrain. Moreover, the cost of conventional ground detection techniques ranges from EUR 1,000 to EUR 5,000 per kilometre, while this airborne technology ranges from EUR 50 to EUR 200 per kilometre. While this innovation ensures greater availability of water resources by giving water companies an efficient mechanism for detecting leakages it can also significantly reduce energy consumption. Further, it is estimated that applying the WADI technique to 5% of European water distribution systems could potentially reduce 166.5 million kg of CO2/year by cutting the energy consumption of water supply.

The service is now at the prototype stage. A group of partners within the EU have prepared a roadmap for the release and development of a full service in the future. It is expected that the commercialisation of this technology would begin after the project ends in 2022.


Pianta, Loredana.(2020). “Airborne Water Leak Detection Using an Innovative ‘Triangle Method’.” News & Events. WADI.

Majid Al Futtaim Green Sukuk

15 Nov 2021

The financial sector is evolving to achieve social and environmental targets around the world. Innovation is spurring a wave of new financial services and products, from public equities, green loans, social and responsible investing to green bonds and sukuk. Through these innovations, there is hope that the world could cover its climate finance gap which is estimated at US$ 2.5 – 4.8 trillion by 2030.

Green Sukuk is a Sharia-compliant bond, where 100% of the proceeds go to finance or refinance green projects that contribute to mitigating climate change as well as preserving biodiversity. The first green sukuk was issued in Malaysia in 2017 to finance a solar power plan (US$ 59 million), and was followed by the first issuance of a sovereign green sukuk worth of US$ 1.25 billion in 2018 in Indonesia.

In May 2019, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) successfully issued the first ever green corporate sukuk in the MENA region for Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC Company (MAF), the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The US$ 600 million green sukuk was priced at 4.638% over ten years. These Islamic bonds, which offer 220 basis points over mid-swaps, received orders in excess of US$ 2.8 billion and were more than 4.6 times oversubscribed by a diverse investor base; a third of the investors were from Asia, a third from Europe, and a third from the MENA region. The green sukuk will be used to fund some of MAF’s existing and new projects, including green buildings, renewable energy, sustainable water management, and energy efficiency. In preparation for the issuance of the MAF sukuk, the company has established a Green Finance Framework and a Green Finance Steering Committee that will oversee the selection of new and existing projects for their green portfolio.

MAF has a proven record of supporting the UAE in achieving its climate targets. They have launched a net positive strategy to reduce the company’s water consumption and carbon emissions, and to produce a positive corporate footprint by 2040. They are also the first organization in the region to achieve LEED certification for its shopping malls, hotels and offices buildings, as well as the Green Star rating by Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmarks for five consecutive years, and a ‘low risk’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating by Sustainlytics.


South Korea Plans to Build Three Hydrogen Powered Cities by 2020

15 Oct 2021

At the COP21 meeting in Paris in 2015, 195 countries agreed to keep global warming below 2°C above preindustrial levels. To reach this target, the world will need to cut energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 60% by 2050 even as the population grows by more than two billion people. This requires a dramatic increase in energy efficiency, and a transition to renewable-energy sources and low-carbon energy carriers. In 2019, the Hydrogen Council—a consortium of 18 companies in the automotive, oil and gas, industrial gas, and equipment industries—presented their vision on how hydrogen can contribute to achieving ambitious climate targets. The council considers hydrogen as an enabler for the transition to a renewable-energy system, and a clean-energy carrier for a wide range of applications. If serious efforts are made to limit global warming to 2°C, the council estimates that hydrogen could contribute around one-fifth of total abatement needs by 2050.

South Korea is vying to win the race to create the first hydrogen-powered society. It wants to build three hydrogen-powered cities by 2022 to position itself as a leader in green technology. In December 2019, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism in South Korea announced that they chose the cities of Ansan, Ulsan, Wanjua, and Jeonju as candidate cities for the hydrogen economy, and Samcheok to specialize in research and development of hydrogen technology. The government plan calls for an investment of US$ 25 million for each of the three candidate cities, half of which will be paid by regional governments.

Ansan (one hour South of Seoul) will become an eco-friendly city by linking tidal power generation to hydrogen production, and installing three hydrogen charging stations to operate two hydrogen buses and ten hydrogen forklifts. In addition, a manufacturing innovation entrepreneurship town will be established, and 232 homes will be supplied with hydrogen.

Ulsan (one of the centers of Korea’s (petro) chemical industry) will build a pipeline network to utilize byproduct hydrogen generated in petrochemical complexes for buildings and charging stations in the city center based on accumulated experience in hydrogen town, which has been operating since 2013. It decided to build a hydrogen city in connection with local specialized industries such as a demonstration project for hydrogen fueling for ships.

Wanju (about two hours South of Seoul) is expected to develop into a regional hydrogen production and supply base; and Jeonju (just 10km from Wanju) will serve as a hydrogen utilization and publicity city. In the transportation sector, hydrogen-electric buses will be introduced in the second half of 2020 to run the bus route between Wanju and Jeonju, as well as shuttles and city tours in Jeonju Hanok Village.

Multi-unit housing complexes and individual buildings in the pilot cities will use hydrogen as an energy source for cooling, heating and electricity. The strategy is part of a wider vision to power 10% of the country’s cities, counties and towns by hydrogen by 2030, growing to 30% by 2040.