The 12-month sensor project will target the huge and costly challenge faced by oil & gas, nuclear, renewables, and construction sectors: detecting Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI). In the oil & gas industry, the cost of monitoring CUI in assets such as pipelines is estimated at around £3.5 billion annually.
Funding for the £98,000 project includes a £68,896 grant from Innovate UK, under its recent Innovation in UK Infrastructure Systems funding round. Scotland’s Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems (CENSIS) and CorrosionRADAR Ltd, a spin-out from Cranfield University will work together to explore the use of remote sensors to monitor corrosion continually without the need to physically remove insulation.
The Benefits of Remote Monitoring
Manual monitoring is a costly process which can often involve assets being shut down and the removal of insulation creates a need for people to work in challenging conditions. The project aims to reduce this need and open the way for a predictive maintenance regime, based on Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure and cloud-based analytics.
The project has the potential to prolong asset life-cycle and be highly cost-effective by helping to prevent asset failures due to corrosion. Not only can breakdowns cause profit loss from downtime, they can also have a serious impact on health, safety and the environment.
Chemical company Solvay is already trialling a CorrosionRADAR distributed sensor system on its plant. Alvaro Martinez Lopez, Corporate Excellence Manufacturing Engineer at the company said: “Across a range of industries, the better data made possible by sensors and IoT should allow operators to make informed decisions around corrosion, and the fitness for purpose and safety of assets.”
Dr Chiraz Ennaceur, CEO of Corrosion Radar said:
“Tackling CUI in the oil and gas industry is the first application we foresee for this technology. In the downstream segment alone, there are more than 700 crude oil refineries with over two million pipelines – and 25%–30% of these are prone to CUI. So, the need for better monitoring technology is huge.”
“And oil & gas is not the only application. From the nuclear industry, where pipes are enclosed in concrete, to renewables, to construction, there’s a need for better ways to manage CUI. This project could help to put the UK at the leading edge of this global issue.”
Dr Rachael Wakefield, CENSIS Business Development Manager commented:
“Intelligent sensing capability, combined with low power, low cost and secure wireless infrastructure, has immense potential for improving the safety and resilience of our infrastructure, reducing maintenance costs, and increasing operational efficiency – and this goes far beyond managing corrosion. CENSIS is working with companies in different sectors to realise the UK’s potential in this field.”