Research centre ensuring a pipeline of safe and reliable energy supply

Research centre ensuring a pipeline of safe and reliable energy supply

Efforts by UOW researchers to make pipelines for gas and other energy sources safer, more reliable and more efficient have been recognised with an Excellence in Innovation Award from the Cooperative Research Centres Association.

The researchers conducted world-leading research that provides a deeper understanding of fractures in gas pipelines and developed design tools to make pipelines resistant to major fractures and bursting.

The Energy Pipelines Cooperative Research Centre (Energy Pipelines CRC) team also produced internationally acclaimed software that improves the process of fracture prediction in the pipeline design phase and selects the appropriate steel for different uses.

The CRC has as its industry partner the Australian Pipeline Industry Association Research and Standards Committee (APIA RSC) and involves UOW, the University of Adelaide, The Australian National University and Deakin University. The APIA RSC consists of more than 50 Australian companies including major corporations and small to medium enterprises.

Energy Pipelines CRC CEO Professor Valerie Linton said that it was an honour for the CRC to receive this award as it demonstrated the long term value that can be provided through collaborative research and working closely with industry. ‘The research into fracture control of gas pipelines is essential in ensuring the safety and stability of our crucial national pipeline infrastructure.

I am very proud of the research team responsible and they show the effectiveness of CRC funding. They were able to take a long term challenge of the Australian Pipeline Industry and find an effective solution.”

The award was presented at the Cooperative Research Centres Association National Conference held recently in Perth.

The Energy Pipelines CRC is working to ensure that Australia’s energy, manufacturing and mining sectors have access to the latest pipeline innovations, helping the Australian economy to meet its emerging energy needs.

There are 30,000km of high-pressure natural gas transmission pipelines in Australia with a replacement cost of about $40 billion.

The energy supplied has a value of $12 billion annually, is about 22% of Australia’s energy needs, and is more than the combined output of all electricity generators in Australia. However a key challenge for Australian industry is how to safely extend the life of the existing pipeline network and build pipelines for new energy gases with technology that suits the Australian environment.