In May 2016, Con Edison of New York hosted a first-time field demonstration of the Explorer (EXP) 20/26 now equipped with a cleaning tool at their LNG plant located in Queens, New York. The new cleaning tool augments the Pipetel range of commercial robotics products that has been licensed by NGA/NYSEARCH to Invodane – Pipetel's parent company.
The cleaning tool consists of an array of brushes mounted on the commercial EXP robot, which is used to conduct in-line inspections of live, unpiggable natural gas pipelines. In addition to the EXP cleaning module, other equipment is used including a diverter assembly for the gas and a filter/separator where the gas is cleaned and then re-circulated back into the live line, again through the diverter. (See photos)
The cleaning operation at Con Edison was performed on a 24" diameter pipe operating at 300 psig. The LNG site afforded the opportunity to test the tool at varying flow rates that were from 0.8 to 2.8 MMCFH. Cleaning is performed by both light scraping of the tool's brushes on the pipe wall and by "jetting" with the gas flow serving to carry the debris downstream to a diverter assembly that directs the dirt contaminated gas stream through a coalescing filtration system. The clean filtered gas then flows back through the diverter assembly and into the pipe. The physical debris that was blown downstream and removed consisted of metal shavings created by tapping the gas main. Overall, the cleaning demonstration was a success.
For over thirty years, NYSEARCH has worked as a consortium of natural gas Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) who have a common interest and need for research and technology development and demonstration. Today, as part of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), NYSEARCH manages over (30) projects in various stages of development for LDCs, transmission companies, federal agencies and their manufacturing and commercial partners. NYSEARCH is located in Parsippany, NJ and NGA is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts.