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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_WWU_017
Title Iron Mains Condition Assessment System Phase 3
Status Completed
Energy Categories Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(Oil and Gas, Refining, transport and storage of oil and gas) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 50%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Cadent Gas
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 July 2014
End Date 01 January 2016
Duration 18 months
Total Grant Value £2,809,964
Industrial Sectors Technical Consultancy
Region London
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Cadent Gas (99.999%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (0.001%)
Web Site http://www.smarternetworks.org/project/NIA_WWU_017
Objectives This phase will look to develop a tool, systems and processes that will have been proven in the live network. This phase will also look to collect sufficient useable data on iron mains condition, through the trials included within the scope of this phase, to aid the development of a use case, with appropriate consultation with external stakeholders, to guide and support the subsequent deployment of a production version of the tool. Construction, completion and demonstration of a deployment ready tool, live entry system, software, systems and processes. Demonstration of tool and systems ability to deploy, operate, and be retrieved from a re-pressurised (air or nitrogen) section of abandoned main with simulated loads / flows as well as successful demonstration of the suitability and functionality of the failsafe mechanisms. Successful demonstration of the tool and associated systems in the live gas network with a minimum of 1 km of 12" mains successfully surveyed with a demonstration of the ability to generate reliable and consistent data from which investment decisions could be made. Validation of the outputs of the technique from the independent consultants.
Abstract Today’s gas distribution networks have been built up and developed from networks that date back over 100 years. For much of this time the material of choice for the manufacture of distribution mains was cast iron (either pit or centrifugally (spun) cast). As a result, there is a significant volume of this legacy cast iron remaining in these networks that are still being utilised for the conveyance of natural gas. Cast iron is prone to corrosion and also, being an inherently brittle material, sudden catastrophic failure through fracture. When such failures do occur there is a sudden and uncontrolled release of gas, each of these failures, depending on the proximity, has the potential to cause gas to enter into a building whereby it can form a hazardous or explosive atmosphere endangering the consumer and general public. Through this project Wales & West Utilities and National Grid are looking to take a proactive approach to understanding the actual condition of these mains, rather than to continue to rely on the reactive indicators used until now. This is to ensure the continued security of supply and safety of the consumer and general public under the new Iron Mains Risk Reduction Programme. This project is looking to develop a tool that will travel for extended lengths within tier 2 and 3 mains (9" and above) to determine their condition. This will be done by measuring corrosion depth / wall thickness on the inside and outside walls as well as the actual strain present in the pipe wall. Knowledge of the asset condition, as determined from both the level of corrosion (loss in wall thickness) and strain in the pipe wall, will allow GDNs to: accurately determine the risk these mains pose to the public and the network, predict remaining life of the asset to a level of accuracy not previously possible allow for targeted, informed and innovative interventions to be undertaken in the most cost efficient manner This project builds upon the initial development phases undertaken firstly through IFI and completed under the NIA registered project NIA_WWU003 and NIA_WWU007. This project focuses on the adaptation of a specific Electro Magnetic Inspection (EMI) Versatile Array Technology into a tool to condition assess cast iron mains through the detection of corrosion and / or defects as well as the detection of induced strain within the main. This project is comprised of a number of distinct stage gated phases to adapt and further develop an existing commercial product originally developed for the nuclear industry. The phases are intended to take the technology from a desktop demonstration to a complete tool /system for the survey and condition assessment of extended lengths of cast iron mains (principally focused on tier 2 mains with a view to extending the technology to tier 3 as appropriate). An overview of the Phases involved in this development is detailed below: Phase 1: Development of technology from desktop demonstration into a basic prototype as a proof of concept; trialled and demonstrated in an 80 m section of abandoned 10" SI main. (COMPLETED under IFI)Phase 2: Development of proof of concept prototype into a full scale prototype with additional sensors and increased sensitivity for greater wall coverage / accuracy, increased survey speed and improved data processing. Trialled and demonstrated in 200 m section abandoned 12" SI. (COMPLETED IFI and NIA_WWU003)Phase 3a: i) Investigate the level of strain the tool will need to identify in a main for such strain to be cause for concern, through destructive testing of representative samples. ii) Conduct feasibility study to investigate options for inserting and extracting tool in and out of the mains to be surveyed. (COMPLETED NIA_WWU007)Phase 3: Develop the tool from the extended prototype of Phase 2 to a full scale system, with live entry system, software and processes. The tool will initially be tested on abandoned sections of cast iron mains pressurized with air or nitrogen before then being trailed on the live network with not less than 1 km of surveys completed. Independent consultants will be brought into the project to validate the outputs of the tool and implication on the gas network. Phase 4: Deployment onto the live network and further development for additional requirements to be determined following completion of Phase 3.Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 31/08/18