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December 21, 2017 / Matthew Byers
Category: Research Update 

Research Highlights from 2017

2017 has been a busy year for all research teams and industry advisors working with the Energy Pipelines CRC. Over the course of the year an impressive tally of research achievements produced including;

  • 15 research projects completed during the year with 78 projects being completed since the start of the Energy Pipelines CRC.
  • 22 research projects are currently active.
  • 31 research reports released in 2016-17.
  • 38 research articles were published - 11 journal papers and 27 conference papers.
  • 6 research articles were published in industry trade journals during the year.
  • 215 research reports available on Energy Pipelines CRC member’s area. 
A number of key outcomes and achievements from all four research programs are listed below. 

In program one, research driven by company members of the Energy Pipelines CRC Plastic and Composite Pipe User Group, has increased the understanding of polyethylene (PE) pipe degradation mechanisms and produced new tests to ascertain the long-term performance of PE pipes. This research allows gas distribution network owners and operators to prioritise the replacement/repair of mains. Significant progress has also been made in research that aims to provide industry with guidelines for predicting and controlling Weld Metal Hydrogen Assisted Cold Cracking (HACC) by defining a window of safe working parameters for avoiding Weld Metal HACC during field girth welding of X70 pipelines.

In program two a new technique for in-situ evaluation and monitoring of coatings disbondment was successfully tested. This technique overcomes the limitations of existing field and laboratory techniques and can improve pipeline integrity management practices. The National Facility for Pipelines Coatings Assessment (NFPCA), located at Deakin Waurn Ponds Campus Geelong, has continued to go from strength to strength. The NFPCA is the only independent NATA accredited coatings testing facility in Australia; supporting the Australian pipeline industry with a range of coating testing services and supporting research into coatings.
 
Program three research into fracture control research remains as a flagship research area for the Energy Pipelines CRC, with strong international recognition. The decompression and fracture control Software EPDECOM sets the international standard to be used in the design of gas transmission pipelines. Enhancements to this software began in October 2016 and will be completed by 2019.

Continued research at the University of Adelaide into future energy fluids aims to further quantify the issues and opportunities associated with gases like synthetic natural gas, hydrogen and batch or blend options in natural gas pipelines, as well as synthetic liquid fuels. This research allows the pipeline companies to better position themselves in potential future markets by anticipating technical, economic, and regulatory issues. This research is important not only for current industry challenges but also for future projects in the Future Fuels CRC.

In Program four, research completed this year provided a number of strategies for reducing the risk of third party interference with pipelines. Follow on research investigates the views and priorities of stakeholders involved in planning and decision making for residential land use and urban development in proximity to existing pipelines. A facilitated risk workshop was also held in May 2017 to review the range of engineering and procedural controls used in the Australian pipeline Standard AS2885 to protect pipelines from external interference, and also identified new controls which may be beneficial.

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