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Gas networks

Polyethylene has been adopted by the gas industry for the past 50 years as the plastic of choice for replacing old steel assets. As with all assets, plastic pipes will deteriorate over time but must remain safe even under the most arduous environmental conditions. At the same time, the polymer properties must remain functional to enable repair and maintenance. For the foreseeable future, the networks face a trilemma of reducing costs, maintaining safety and modernising. It is highly likely that in the future renewable hydrogen will form part of the gas mixture. The challenge will be the response and integrity of the pipe and joint assets as they age and are exposed to hydrogen. As polymer innovation experts we are already working on solutions.

On-site polymer analysis

After being buried in the ground for a time all yellow gas pipes can look the same, even to an experienced maintenance engineer. It is critical that before work starts, the identity of the pipe is known. Not knowing this information can lead to hazardous situations and overruns in cost. Gnosys have developed a portable system that will instantaneously determine the pipe polymer type, age and its physical properties and condition.

On-site polymer analysis

After being buried in the ground for a time all yellow gas pipes can look the same, even to an experienced maintenance engineer. It is critical that before work starts, the identity of the pipe is known. Not knowing this information can lead to hazardous situations and overruns in cost. Gnosys have developed a portable system that will instantaneously determine the pipe polymer type, age and its physical properties and condition.

Electrofusion jointing

Commonly, plastic (PE) pipes have electrofusion jointing processes carried out on them over their lifetime for reasons of maintenance, repair or network extension. This technique has proven highly reliable if carried out using the correct procedure and compatible components. Gnosys have developed a method where the technician can ‘see’ and record whether the electrofusion joint is successful. This provides an evidential trail to ensure the jointing process is safe and successful.

Electrofusion jointing

Commonly, plastic (PE) pipes have electrofusion jointing processes carried out on them over their lifetime for reasons of maintenance, repair or network extension. This technique has proven highly reliable if carried out using the correct procedure and compatible components. Gnosys have developed a method where the technician can ‘see’ and record whether the electrofusion joint is successful. This provides an evidential trail to ensure the jointing process is safe and successful.

Hydrogen in plastic pipes

Renewable hydrogen will likely be introduced in limited concentrations (<20% by volume) into the gas networks. To understand the affect this will have on existing assets, several key questions need to be managed scientifically. For instance, the long-term (>50 years) effect of hydrogen on the plastic pipe assets over their lifetime remains a point of conjecture. Gnosys are uniquely placed as advanced materials experts to answer these.

Hydrogen in plastic pipes

Renewable hydrogen will likely be introduced in limited concentrations (<20% by volume) into the gas networks. To understand the affect this will have on existing assets, several key questions need to be managed scientifically. For instance, the long-term (>50 years) effect of hydrogen on the plastic pipe assets over their lifetime remains a point of conjecture. Gnosys are uniquely placed as advanced materials experts to answer these.

In-situ rehabilitation

The first generation of water and plastic pipes are now at the end of their design life and are now due for replacement. Gnosys are experts in polymer modification and are working on in situ methods to recover the functional properties of the plastic. This will give the asset owner the option to re-life the pipes safely and avoid the expensive task of replacement. Gnosys are at the early stages of this work and envisage a suite of technologies that will be cost effective and practical. Supporting this programme of work is our ability to non-destructively test (NDT) and characterise the mechanical properties in the field. Call us to find out more.

In-situ rehabilitation

The first generation of water and plastic pipes are now at the end of their design life and are now due for replacement. Gnosys are experts in polymer modification and are working on in situ methods to recover the functional properties of the plastic. This will give the asset owner the option to re-life the pipes safely and avoid the expensive task of replacement. Gnosys are at the early stages of this work and envisage a suite of technologies that will be cost effective and practical. Supporting this programme of work is our ability to non-destructively test (NDT) and characterise the mechanical properties in the field. Call us to find out more.

Self-healing pipes

Gas pipes statistically are likely to sustain (minor) damage such as abrasions in their lifetime.  This may occur in manufacture, installation, or due to operational and environmental factors. These types of damage create stress points which over time can produce cracks which propagate, especially as the pipe condition deteriorates to cause leaks. Gnosys have been working on new technologies to produce a polymer that self-heals, relieving the stress and restoring pipe integrity.

Self-healing pipes

Gas pipes statistically are likely to sustain (minor) damage such as abrasions in their lifetime.  This may occur in manufacture, installation, or due to operational and environmental factors. These types of damage create stress points which over time can produce cracks which propagate, especially as the pipe condition deteriorates to cause leaks. Gnosys have been working on new technologies to produce a polymer that self-heals, relieving the stress and restoring pipe integrity.

Forensic plastic pipes analysis

Only a few UK companies are capable of detailed forensic analysis of plastic pipes and fittings. Our capability is based on our knowledge of the polymers, construction methods used and typical modes of failure. We regularly analyse failed or suspect pipes and joints from a consideration of macro and micro failure mechanisms. Our knowledge and developed techniques for this type of analysis is leading edge and world class.

Forensic plastic pipes analysis

Only a few UK companies are capable of detailed forensic analysis of plastic pipes and fittings. Our capability is based on our knowledge of the polymers, construction methods used and typical modes of failure. We regularly analyse failed or suspect pipes and joints from a consideration of macro and micro failure mechanisms. Our knowledge and developed techniques for this type of analysis is leading edge and world class.

Pit flooding protection

Many industries use below ground pits to house key assets. Since these pits are below ground, they are prone to flooding from a variety of leakage points. Gnosys have developed a water blocking system that reduces the amount of water entering the pit and reduces maintenance costs for the operator. Uniquely this coating can be applied to damp and friable surfaces. Gnosys are seeking to partner with companies to commercialise this technology.

Pit flooding protection

Many industries use below ground pits to house key assets. Since these pits are below ground, they are prone to flooding from a variety of leakage points. Gnosys have developed a water blocking system that reduces the amount of water entering the pit and reduces maintenance costs for the operator. Uniquely this coating can be applied to damp and friable surfaces. Gnosys are seeking to partner with companies to commercialise this technology.