There are currently more than 40 major transnational oil and gas pipelines traversing Europe, accounting for over 34,565 km of strategically critical pipeline infrastructure, 40% of which are over 40 years old and subject to corrosion induced catastrophic failures impacting negatively upon European society and its economy.
With such an extensive and growing network of pipelines, and a consequent increasing incidence of failures, it is no longer feasible to rely upon current intermittent manual inspection techniques to maintain safe operation. This is underlined from both the perspectives of probability of detection over such large network and the consequence of failure given the hazardous materials being distributed. Clearly, a wide-area coverage Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) solution is overdue. iPerm seeks to address this challenge by developing a permanent, intelligent and energy-efficient wireless monitoring network which will deliver a step-change improvement over existing inspection systems, and thus a step change in the safety and reliability of Europe’s pipeline network.
Until recently the application of the guided technology was done in a periodic fashion with detachable transducers, i.e. Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) inspection. Our technology enables a shift to permanently installed transducers by implementing a SHM system giving information about the structural integrity at pre-programmed intervals or on demand. This is driven by a variety of factors, notably the desire to:
- monitor problem areas continuously during operation, rather than periodically off-load;
- avoid the costs of repeated access involving stripping insulation, scaffolding, etc.;
- improve the reliability of information by ensuring that transducers are at the exact same place in each measurement and remove coupling variability.
iPerm will deliver a more secure and safe environment for large-scale pipeline operations.