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Techlines provide updates of specific interest to the fossil fuel community. Some Techlines may be issued by the Department of Energy Office of Public Affairs as agency news announcements.
Issued on:  October 3, 2001

National Labs to Strengthen Natural Gas Pipelines' Integrity, Reliability

Will Supplement Previously Selected Industry Projects

Morgantown, WV - To identify and develop advanced technology for the nation's natural gas pipelines, the Energy Department is calling upon the national labs to assist private industry in developing innovative technologies that establish a framework for future natural gas transmission and distribution systems.

The laboratories will help 11 government-industry cost-shared projects, many of which center around detection devices designed to prevent pipeline damage, DOE selected earlier this year (see May 31, 2001, announcement). DOE estimates that natural gas consumption will increase by 60 percent by 2020, placing an unaccustomed demand on the U.S.'s aging natural gas infrastructure. The already-selected 11 projects address that need by demonstrating robotics and other sophisticated ways of bolstering strength, and, therefore, the integrity and reliability of the pipelines the crisscross the country.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory, the fossil energy research arm of DOE, will manage the 10 research and development projects to be performed at eight of the national labs. Total funding for the projects approaches $3 million.

  • Albany Research Center (Albany, OR) - "Electrochemical Noise Sensors for Detection of Localized and General Corrosion of Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines:" The work will develop and test a novel electrochemical noise sensor to measure corrosion in natural gas pipelines. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $235,800.

  • Argonne National Laboratory (Chicago, IL) - "Microwave Radar Sensing of Gas Pipeline Leaks:" The is project will develop and field test a pulsed microwave radar-imaging system that detects and locates gas leaks from above or underground natural gas pipelines. The system can be mounted on a van or fitted on an aircraft for fast mapping of natural gas leaks. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $312,000.

  • Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (Idaho Falls, ID) - "Integral Communication, Damage Detection and Multiple Sensor Application in Pipelines:" INEEL will develop and demonstrate technology for the use of thermally sprayed conductive traces applied in natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines that can be used for pipeline communications, detection and location of damage and as a conductive pathway for attaching or embedding sensors for performance monitoring. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $199,500.

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA) - 2 Projects - "Remote Sensing Techniques for Natural Gas Transmission Infrastructure Systems Using Hyperspectral and Radar Imaging:" The project is to develop hyperspectral geobotanical remote sensing techniques and radar remote sensing techniques for detecting and evaluating third-party damage, detecting and discriminating leaks and monitoring pipeline system reliability. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $189,901.

    "MIR Demonstration for Pipe/Facilities Locator:" LLNL will develop and test a low-power, lightweight system using micropower impulse radar (MIR) to detect underground pipe facilities including non-metallic facilities such as plastic pipes, fiber optic cables, concrete ducts and foundations. Project Duration: 8 months, Project Value: $300,000.

  • National Energy Technology Laboratory (Morgantown, WV, Pittsburgh, PA, and Tulsa, OK) - "Analysis of the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability of Natural Gas Pipelines:" NETL will utilize new techniques such as neural networks to analyze reliability, availability, and maintain natural gas pipeline systems to provide a framework that will lead to future designs with enhanced reliability and availability. The results can be applied to existing systems to provide a baseline from which proposed modifications and improvements can be evaluated. Project Duration: 12 months, Project Value: $400,000.

  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN) - "New Acoustic Wave Pipe Inspection System:" The project is to develop and demonstrate a new waveguide pipe-flaw detection technique that has the potential to detect pipeline flaws in a single pass at speeds of approximately 2 miles per hour. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $404,000.

  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA) - "Ultrasonic Measurements of Plastic Strain in Pipelines:" PNNL will develop and demonstrate a novel ultrasonic nondestructive test method to detect and evaluate the severity of third party damage in pipelines. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $250,000.

  • Sandia National Laboratory (Albuquerque, NM) - 2 Projects - "Evaluation of Active and Passive Gas Imagers for Transmission Pipeline Remote Leak Detection:" The work will evaluate the application of emerging active (laser-illuminated) and passive (thermal emission) imaging and mapping approaches to detect leaks remotely on both airborne and satellite platforms. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $300,000.

    "Sensor Development for the IPP Robotic Vehicle for Internal Detection of Gas Pipeline Defects:" SNL will evaluate the application of emerging sensor technology compatible with their IPP robotic vehicle. The robotic system will be capable of nondestructively locating and assessing the severity of pipeline defects such as corrosion, stress corrosion cracks and dents. Project Duration: 15 months, Project Value: $348,000.

- End of TechLine -

Technical contacts:
Rodney J. Anderson, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory, 304/285-4709, e-mail rander@netl.doe.gov
Daniel J. Driscoll, DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory, 304/285-4717, e-mail: ddrisc@netl.doe.gov.

Program Links


DOE's Pipeline Infrastructure Reliability Program




 Page owner:  Fossil Energy Office of Communications
Page updated on: March 30, 2004 

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