Last week, Synthotech and Synovate had the pleasure of hosting an IGEM North East & Yorkshire event at our head offices. We were joined by a number of guests from the gas and utility networks, with both familiar and new faces back at in-person events since the start of the pandemic.
The event was centred around the launch of a set of new, innovative and collaborative projects that are set to change the way Gas Distribution Networks respond to gas escapes in pipelines, as well as longer-term asset management challenges.
LeakVISION is a patented in-pipe leakage detection sensor, mounted to a robot base or push-rod camera system. This innovative system is used for the inspection of in-pipe features to highlight potential areas of interest for leakage from pipeline features, such as joints, connections and defects. The novel sensor visualises leakage and gives users ‘predator style’ heat-seeking vision that can home in exactly on the point of leakage. Compared to traditional techniques, LeakVISION gives users much more information in an easy to digest format whilst being quick and easy to deploy on-site, speeding up how leakage is detected and repaired.
The system was developed during a collaborative project alongside Northern Gas Networks and Synovate, whilst also working with the EIC and a consortium of innovators, including ROSEN, The Technology Partnership (TTP) and a range of academics with support from OFGEM NIA.
Those involved in the collaborative project presented the key stages of the development of the system, from ideation through to field trials. The project has developed this new and novel sensor applying cradle to the field with cutting edge techniques. The team have completed market research, benchmarking, idea generation and screening to ensure a solid product-market fit. After developing a proof of concept, the team completed extensive research into the detection physics, performing Computation Fluid dynamics, prototyping, detailed engineering, validation and performance testing, as well as team training and live field trials!
During the event, attendees were also able to get hands-on with the robotic crawler after the presentation, with a live view of the image sensor on a display screen, as well as other Synthotech solutions for the gas and water industries.
Utility networks now have a powerful tool to identify and locate leakages without the need for large excavations or repeat visits to tackle reported escapes. Looking to the future, LeakVISION supports the transition to net-zero. By locating and sealing leakage points, our contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change is greatly reduced. LeakVISION provides assurance that underground pipelines are safely maintained and ready for energy transitions.
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