SGN, National Grid Gas Distribution, Northern Gas Networks and Wales and West Utilities
Alex Stewart, Innovation Project Manager
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Gas Distribution Networks
The system has been successfully commercialized for use in offshore natural gas pipelines and for surveying the relatively small tubes within shell and tube heat exchangers (used in the petrochemical and chemical sectors). The purpose of this Project is to extend the technique and develop a tool that is capable of surveying pipes with an internal diameter of 2”- 48” such that it can be used to survey the pipelines used in domestic gas distribution networks. The Project is being delivered by the University of Manchester.
The scope of the work to achieve this is:
- Laboratory work that will be completed to better understand the behaviour of acoustic signals within gas distribution pipelines and determination of the most suitable method to connect the equipment to live distribution pipelines.
- Development and lab testing of a prototype system
- Testing on abandoned mains
- Theoretical modelling to enable system response to be predicted, to enable field results to be interpreted
- Field trials
- Optimisation in response to field trials
- A field trial of the system by Network Licensee operational staff
- System optimisation in response to Network Licensee staff trial
The objectives are to:
· Identify the capabilities and limitations of using APR in gas distribution pipelines. In particular, this will develop a better understanding of the internal characteristics of gas distribution pipelines (i.e. build-up of deposits, water, and potentially other characteristics such as pipe wall condition and crack location etc) and the effect that they have on the attenuation of acoustic signals
· Determine whether the signals produced by the instrument can be interpreted and how effectively water, obstructions and holes can be detected, located and characterised as the behaviour of acoustic signals in distribution network pipes is not well understood
· To determine the practical location range and accuracy of the above for different pipe diameters and scenarios
· Determine the most appropriate manner by which the instrument is connected to the pipeline.
· Develop the necessary data processing algorithms to enable features in the pipeline to be readily detected and identified. For example, distinguishing between the signals received from a partial blockage and a hole
· Trial the technology in the laboratory environment, abandoned mains and live network
· Produce three intrinsically safe prototype devices
· Train Network Licensee personnel in the use of the prototypes to enable them to trial the Method directly
Specific success criteria for the Project are:
- The prototype system is able to provide feature detection location up to 500m (250m either side) of the access point, and
- That the Project establishes exactly what the capabilities and limitations of this system are
- That Network Licensees are confident at the end of the Project that they (or their nominated contractors) are able to use the prototype device in an operational environment without the support of University of Manchester staff