Sustainability is major focus at Plastic Pipes conference

Chicago — The contribution of plastic pipe systems to sustainable development will be one of the key discussion points at the upcoming Plastic Pipes XVII Conference and Exhibition in Chicago. Evidence from environmental assessments carried out by independent technical institutes will underline the advantages of these systems. Furthermore, recent sustainable developments for mitigating flooding, seismic events, creating high-yield horticulture and transforming desert landscapes will be considered.

Stephen Boros, VP Engineering for Pipelines Plastics, LLC and chairman of the organizing committee of the event, is convinced that the 500 participants expected from over 35 countries will profit from the experience. “Our conference and exhibition is a truly global event. Much has happened since we first considered the aspects of sustainability and what that meant to the technical development and promotion of plastic piping systems.

“As we look at ways to rehabilitate our aging underground infrastructure and protect our dwindling natural resources, the push towards recycling coupled with greater awareness of the long life environmental benefits of plastic pipe, continues to transform our industry. Conference delegates are drawn from the complete business and technical spectrum of an industry that generates a global turnover in excess of US$100 billion. The conference offers major utilities, system designers, engineers, pipe and fitting manufacturers, resin companies and other suppliers the unique opportunity to come together to learn the latest developments as well as network with each other and drive the industry further.”

Low environmental impacts

In Europe, a wide range of plastic pipe systems have been assessed for their environmental impact and carbon footprint. Commissioned by The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association (TEPPFA), these technical studies that embrace Life Cycle Assessments will be presented at the Chicago conference. They will confirm the low environmental impact of plastic pipe systems compared to non-plastic pipe systems.

The scope and scale of flooding and drought throughout the world have prompted innovative plastic pipe solutions to manage and harvest rainwater under such increasingly unpredictable conditions. Conference attendees will learn how plastic pipe technology is now being used in Australia to offset extensive flooding. This solution was applied following an overflow of the Morwell River that caused US$400 million of damage to infrastructure and put the electricity supply to over 1 million homes in Victoria at risk. Case evidence from China and India will also show how innovative pipe solutions such as trenchless technology are offsetting the worst effects of flooding. 

Sustainable goals

As the World Football Cup takes center stage, few spectators today will be aware that in 2006, the host nation of Germany employed plastic stormwater boxes below the playing field to avoid water logged conditions above. In Chicago, participants will appreciate how these devices are now being widely used in other countries to prevent flooding, land erosion and subsidence as well as harvest precious rainwater for use in times of drought.

Plastic pipe technology is also being used as a sustainable solution to maintaining nationwide utility services in the event of earthquakes and tremors. Evidence from recent events in New Zealand and Japan will underline just how the flexibility of plastic pipe systems can withstand the shocks and how more rigid pipe materials are subject to failure under such conditions.        

Greening the desert from within may seem a fanciful idea. However, in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the countries that border the Sahara Desert desalination has become a work in practice. Various approaches are now being applied and results are both effective and innovative. One particular idea is the use of simple PVC pipes for vertical horticulture in tropical climates. Fewer acres are now achieving higher yields of produce such as tomatoes and lettuces.        

A total of 130 presentations will be delivered during Plastic Pipes XVII in Chicago’s Swissôtel, September, 22-24, 2014. The event is organized in collaboration with The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), TEPPFA, PE 100+ Association, and PVC4Pipes. Sponsors for Plastic Pipes XVII in Chicago include Rollepaal and Battenfeld-Cincinnati as the main corporate diamond level sponsors as well as Dow Chemical and Baerlocher Group at gold level; Chevron Phillips, Lyondell/Basell, MOL, Gas Technology Institute and Krauss-Maffei Corporation at the silver level; as well as Floridienne Chimie and others.

A draft program has been posted to the conference website at www.ppxvii.org/docs/program_chicago_web_v3.pdf

Online registration and hotel information can be found at www.ppxvii.org.


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