Hector E Salgado
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Repair
Maintenance & Inspection and Gas Distribution Networks
Anaerobic sealants for the gas industry have remained largely unchanged since the 1970s. Initially, each joint was excavated and then drilled to accept the sealant which was injected blindly into the body of the joint with the expectation of creating a seal. In recent years, robotic systems have been used to provide a similar deployment mechanism, drilling into the joint from inside the pipe, eliminating a high amount of excavation.
The existing products and systems have a number of fundamental issues which limits their applicability across the gas network. These include: having to rely on yarn being still present and functioning in the joint for the sealant to function, requiring every joint to be drilled and using uncontrolled capillary action for the sealant to penetrate into the joint. Care has to be taken when applying conventional sealants to prevent these sealants simply running out of the joint and pooling at the base of the pipe leading to potentially significant issues with pipe insertion, or other interventions at a later date. With these methods additional actions are required to demonstrate that a full seal has been achieved in each joint else one is heavily reliant on assumptions to claim pipe remediation. It is also understood that many sealants are often limited in their effectiveness in high traffic areas due to their insufficient flexibility. These existing products also are not applicable for use in all joint types leaving a gap in some areas of network remediation.
There is therefore a clear need for a system that can:
· Address all types of joints
· Address joints with failed seals, e.g. missing yarn
· Address ancillary issues such as cotter plates and disused service connections
· Demonstrate and validate that integrity has been restored to the system
· Minimise pooling of excess sealant in the pipe network
· Be suitable for high traffic areas (flexible sealant)
· Be suitable for use in all pipeline materials
The objective of the scope of work are;
· An accredited sealing system comprising a sealant and associated deployment tooling module to an agreed GIS standard for use in the UK Gas Network.
· Accredited material testing carried out on the sealant to demonstrate 50-year life span thus allowing pipe remediation.
· Confirmation of the system’s ability to function in hydrogen and hydrogen blend products as well as natural gas.
· A stand-alone module suitable for use in 6” accreditation tests.
· A tooling module, developed to demonstrate platform mounted operation and system effectiveness in Tier 2 (12”) pipes and in preparation for a tender exercise in Stage 4B to determine the deployment platform and service providers for field operations
· Continued protection of SGNs Intellectual Property
Following a succesful Stage 4A where the sealant has been certified and it has been verified as being fit-for-purpose (to a 50-year life span). In addition the delivery mechanism has been analysed and optiones agreed, so that stage 4B can be progressed for the field trials.This system could potentially become a game-changer, in that it would allow remediation of pipes with lead-yarn joints and non-lead-yarn joints, which currently cannot be done using conventional anaerobic methods.