NYSEARCH 2021 Report: Research, Development and Demonstration Program (Select Projects)

Overview: NYSEARCH's 2021 Technology Briefs Report hightlights a number of collaborative RD&D projects in all of the following categories:

(1) Innovations for Pipeline Integrity/Direct and Remote Assessment

(2) Improved Installation Maintenance & Repair

(3) Pipe Location

(4) Low Carbon Fuels

(5) Leak Detection

(6) Reducing GHG Emissions

(7) Real Time Sensing & Inspection for Distribution

The Report also features information regarding the benefits members receive from the NYSEARCH/NGA Voluntary RD&D program...

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PE Pipe Repair Methods – Butt Fusion Repair Sleeves (BFRS) and Variable Length Repair Sleeves (VLRS)

Description: A permanent repair technique for damaged, non-leaking PE pipe.

Status: PE pipe sizes of 1 1/4 inch through 12 inch are commercially available.

Benefits: Permanent and safe PE pipe repair methods can avoid cut-outs and potential customer interrup-tions. NYSEARCH’s development of butt fusion repair sleeves (BFRS) and variable length repair sleeves (VLRS) for Medium Density and High Density PE piping, operating within gas distribution pressures of 125 psig, provide repair options for damaged, non-leaking PE pipelines. Repairs are performed in-service without stopping or by-pass of normal operating gas pipelines...

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Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) Applied to Traditional Inspections and Surveys

Description: Perform traditional gas pipeline inspections and surveys by incorporating the agility and positioning of sUAS mounted sensors.

Status: Advanced development is ongoing with activities that include advancement of sUAS platforms for real time data collection and conditional assessment.

Benefits: Advantages of using sUAS agility and positioning are recognized when integrating them into tradi-tional gas inspections and survey strategies. Advantages within leak detection, emergency response, right-of-way management, infrastructure assessment, corrosion severity and distribu-tion/transmission integrity management programs (DIMP/TIMP) have been tested and confirmed...

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Natural Gas Dispersion Study

Description: An experimental and numerical study of methane dispersion to help determine the optimal placement of methane detectors in residential settings. This effort will aid the ongoing effort to create a NFPA standard and update UL 1484.

Status: Phase II complete with assessment of impact of mechanical and natural ventilation.

Benefits: As the natural gas industry promotes the use of methane detectors, several issues need to be addressed. Two of these issues are: (a) the proper placement of these detectors in a residence, and (b) the gas concentration at which the detector should alarm. To be able to address these issues, detailed data regarding the dispersion of methane under various conditions and in various layouts is needed. This study will provide us with such data through actual monitoring of different structures...

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Study on Impact of Trace Constituents in RNG

Description: Gap analysis followed by practical testing to evaluate effects of trace constituents in RNG on gas infrastructure and residential appliances.

Status: Gap analysis ongoing to identify trace constituents, trigger limits and scientific evidence to support specified limits.

Benefits: This project aims to reduce the uncertainties and variation in limits set by different utilities for the trace constituents in Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) by providing scientific data to back up the trigger limit recommendations. In light of growing demand for RNG production and injection into distribution infrastructure in North America, the testing should help both producers and developers to help determine the optimum upgrading and measurement system for bio-methane. For LDCs, it will aid decision making and help advance specifications to address safety and reliability issues...

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Hydrogen Blend Impact on Elastomer Materials

Description: Multiple phase project to understand how the physical properties of elastomers will change when introduced to a hydrogen and natural gas blend.

Status: Laboratory testing of SBR and NBR materials against varying gas compositions is ongoing.

Benefits: The results of the testing will be put together detailing the response from the set of elastomeric materials under limited operating conditions to the presence of hydrogen. The Final Report will document the actual test data results, analysis, discussions, and conclusions leading to the summary matrix/table so that utilities can better understand how materials will react with the presence of hydrogen in the natural gas pipeline...

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Scaling of Microbial Power to Gas Conversion for Long Term Operation

Description: Optimization of biological and chemical processes in the intermittent operation (periods of electron starvation) of microbial electromethanogenesis for power-to-gas operations.

Status: Bioreactors have been successfully set up for laboratory testing and monitoring. Evaluating several biochemical properties of the active microbes during intermittent opera-tion is ongoing.

Benefits: As the natural gas industry is beginning to see a shift towards decarbonization, NYSEARCH has the opportunity to investigate an innovative energy storage solution and an unconventional method to create a renewable resource through microbial electromethanogenesis. There is a need and a business opportunity for long-term storage of electrical energy, especially as renewably produced energy becomes more abundant...

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GasComm® Analytic Safety Monitoring System for PE Pipe Distribution Networks

Description: The purpose of this project is to design and build a low cost, battery powered and wireless remote monitoring system to measure multiple real time parameters in previously unmonitored areas of the PE natural gas distribution network. This data, including alarm events, is made available to existing utility RTU’s via a GasComm® Control Module or transmitted via secure cellular telemetry to the cloud server of choice.

Status: Following specification development, design and development tasks are in progress.

Benefits: The commercialized Enetics GasComm® unit for steel pipes is confirming the ability of this technology to monitor live pipelines in real time. Plastic pipe is the most prominent material used for distribution pipe applications, therefore adapting GasComm® technology for plastic pipe is beneficial to the utilities...

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Renewable Natural Gas Interchangeability Research for Residential Appliances

Description: Evaluation of varying Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) compositions on performance of residential appliances.

Status: Appliance testing is complete. NYSEARCH Range™ Plus available on www.nysearch.org

Benefits: The addition of new RNG supplies (from aerobic digestion, power-to-gas etc.) is expected to increase, leading to wider range of gas compositions. This NYSEARCH project is performing a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of varying gas composition on the performance of residential appliances to determine the potential extent of sensitive appliances being affected…

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Living Lab for Biomethane (RNG) Assessment

Description: A five-year controlled study to assess impact of processed biomethane on gas distribution infrastructure.

Status: Test material has been installed for the Living Lab at Newtown Creek and alternate site. Commissioning of the biomethane recovery system pending.

Benefits: The planned Newtown Creek wastewater treatment biomethane recovery system offers National Grid and the industry at large a unique opportunity to monitor the immediate and long-term impacts of direct injection of biomethane into a local distribution network via a “living laboratory” environment. The relationship of gas processing technology, monitoring instrumentation and downstream piping system impacts will be explored to help fill long standing industry wide knowledge gaps…

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Identification and Development of an Analyzer for Siloxane Measurement

Description: State of the art assessment for identification of a portable siloxane analyzer technology that meets NYSERACH sponsor(s) specification.

Status: Five analyzers identified that are being evaluated in North America.

Benefits: The benefit of this study is to leverage expertise of gas research centers of excellence in Europe by conducting an expansive search for a siloxane measurement tool. The approach will allow us to understand the technical requirements and solu-tions that are necessary to quantify the presence of siloxanes in Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). The program could result in a future solution necessary to qualify a biogas clean-up facility as acceptable…

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Testing of Residential Appliances for Impact of Siloxanes

Description: Practical testing to evaluate effect of Siloxanes on residential appliances’ performance.

Status: Appliance testing produced initial results; additional testing ongoing.

Benefits: This project aims to address the ongoing dialogue on the technical limits of siloxanes in Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Assessment of siloxane impacts on sensitive natural gas end-use equipment will help to specify technically-sound limits. The largest impediment for translating results obtained from available literature is that a majority of in-use appliances are designed differently from those that have been previously studied. Additional testing will help us reduce the uncertainties by providing scientific data to support siloxane limit recommendations…

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GasComm® Plastic Pipe and RTU Control Module

Description: The purpose of this project is to design and build a device to measure in real time various gas pipe parameters. This data is wirelessly transmitted to a secure GasComm® RTU/Control Module (GCM).

Status: Following the completion of specifications, design and development tasks are in progress.

Benefits: The commercialized GasComm® unit for steel pipes is confirming the ability of this technology to monitor live pipelines in real time. Plastic pipe is the most prominent material used for distribution pipe applications, therefore adapting the GasComm® technology for plastic pipe is beneficial to the utilities. With a successful operation of the GasComm® unit for both steel and plastic pipes, the product would expand the live gas pipe monitoring technology…

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Development of Mercaptans Sensor with Non-Radioactive Ionizer

Description: A program to develop a small, portable, sensor with a non-radioactive ionizer to detect and measure mercaptan concentrations at very low levels using gas chromatography (GC) and differential mobility spectroscopy (DMS) technologies.

Status: All sensor components: the non-radioactive ionizer, sorbent trap, power control module, the DMS module, GC, and microcontrollers are currently undergoing integra-tion into a single operating unit.

Benefits: The use of odorants for natural gas detection is considered one of many major public health and safety advancements for the gas distribution industry. Small volumes of certain sulfur com-pounds known as mercaptans are injected into odorless natural gas to make it detectable. Currently, the primary method to detect mercaptans in natural gas is through operator “sniff” tests and costly gas chromatography lab analyses. A new technology to allow the measurement and detection of mercaptan concentrations at the parts per billion level which is the same level as that detectable to the human nose…

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Augmented Reality Application Development

Description: An Augmented Reality (AR) training application for the Microsoft HoloLens focused on the building of a new Meter Set Assembly (MSA) in the natural gas distribution sector and help utilities implement Remote Assist strategies.

Status: NYSEARCH is collaborating with an AR training vendor to build and deliver a customized MSA procedural guide for each funder on the Microsoft HoloLens 2.

Benefits: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have swept innovation into various industries in recent years. The technology provides a creative solution to add efficiency in workflow and numer-ous ways to optimize business operations. AR and VR implementation have proven to increase productivity within workforces across industries…

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Liquid Cleaning of Unpiggable Pipelines

Description: To enhance the Explorer 20/26 series robots when liquid is present in unpiggable live pipelines. This technology will ultimately enhance Explorer’s ability to conduct In-Line Inspections (ILI)when encountering liquids.

Status: Development and testing is underway.

Benefits: The objective of the Explorer 20/26 liquid cleaning project is to understand what is required to increase the liquid capability of the Explorer robot. The Explorer robot is intended, through this project to traverse and scan through liquid in pipelines with natural gas flow. Thus, we are working to further enhance the capable of driving and scanning through large and small amounts of liquids…

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Universal Locator for RFID Technology

Description: The purpose of this project is to develop an antenna and signal processing system to detect and acquire read/write capability to interact with the Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) tagging. The product is intended for use as a general PE pipe locator.

Status: Feasibility study and design activities are in progress.

Benefits: The universal locator will be an interactive tool for plastic pipe embedded with RFID tags. The universal locator will detect and locate the buried plastic pipe and will be able to read/write the information located on the RFID tag. Additionally, the tool will include the capability to locate existing tracer wires for plastic pipes…

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