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Penguin-inspired ‘pipe-within-a-pipe’ plumbing startup secures £150k investment

Date: Mar 21 2024
Penguin-inspired ‘pipe-within-a-pipe’ plumbing startup secures £150k investment

East Kilbride plumbing startup, Water Kinetics, has secured a £150,000 investment from British Design Fund for its innovative ‘Eco-Duo’ pipe-within-a-pipe water recirculation system that can help reduce carbon emissions and energy use, while aiding safe pathogen levels within drinking water systems.

Co-founder and inventor, Maxwell Bridges, was inspired with the idea for the product while watching a wildlife programme on penguins, which explained how recirculatory blood vessels helped penguins maintain a consistent temperature and prevented their feet sticking to the ice. Having been involved in the design and installation of hot and cold water systems all his working life, Maxwell spotted a potential solution to many of the problems associated with traditional water systems – in particular, heat loss. He went on to design and create Water Kinetic’s unique Eco-Duo pipework.

An independent study conducted by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) comparing Eco-Duo to a traditional water recirculation system found Eco-Duo reduced energy costs by up to 50%, thanks to the temperature retention effectiveness of the system. Further cost savings are generated through a 50% reduction in the pipe insulation and fittings required, due to the one pipe system, labour costs and increased volume of usable space within a building. The pipework itself also costing on average 40% less than traditional pipework systems.

Water Kinetic co-founder and managing director, Jonathan Waggott, who has more than 30 years’ experience within the plumbing hardware industry, explains: “We’re delighted to have secured this investment from British Design Fund, which will help us expand our reach, introduce new machinery and aid further product development.”

He continued: “As well as supporting the move to net zero by lowering emissions and energy use, the Eco-Duo brings the circulating water right up to the point of use, completely eliminating the possibility of dead legs in the system, resolving one of the main causes of water-borne pathogens within potable water systems today: stagnant water. This benefit, added to the stability of temperature goes a long way in reducing the risk of developing pathogens like Legionella within the water.”

One of the major causes for Legionella persisting is the inability of recirculation systems to retain temperatures within safe functional levels. Water Kinetics’ single pipe recirculation system, Eco-Duo, has been designed to help keep temperatures within the accepted safe levels, helping reduce pathogens present within water.

Damon Bonser, CEO at the British Design Fund, said: “The experienced team at Water Kinetics really impressed the investment committee with their innovative ‘green’ pipework system, which has environmental, cost and health benefits. With the concept already proven through the BRE trial and many successful installations already functioning, there is fantastic potential for the company to quickly scale and we look forward to supporting the team on their growth journey.”

British Design Fund is a leading early-stage British manufacturing investor. The Fund works with ambitious product start-up enterprises who are ready to scale-up and build thriving stand-out businesses. Alongside capital investment, BDF provides expert mentoring to support such companies to accelerate their growth plans.

Jonathan Waggott

We recently caught up with Jonathan to hear more about the company and its ambitions for the future, you can watch it here.