WATCH: The robots are coming

A project being led by National Grid that will allow a robot to undertake the inspection of gas pipelines at high pressure has been awarded £5.7 million.

The new robot is being designed to travel through underground pipe work at pressures fifty-times higher than is possible with current techniques – that’s five times the maximum pressure that would be experienced underwater by a submarine.

As a result, National Grid will be able to accurately assess the condition of buried pipes, avoiding the need for complex, deep excavations. This will ensure that National Grid only replace assets when absolutely necessary, saving around £58 million over twenty years.

Robot in Project Graid

Use of the robots could also reduce carbon dioxide by around 2,145 tonnes per year through avoiding unnecessary pipe replacements. These savings are equivalent to the carbon emissions from the energy consumption of about 477 UK households per year.

“This project is a fantastic example of our continued commitment to innovation in gas transmission”

National Grid is running the project alongside two small-to-medium enterprises; Premtech, based in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, and Harrogate-based firm Synthotech. Newcastle-based company Pipeline Integrity Engineers will also be involved, in order to turn data from the robot into meaningful reports on the pipe work’s condition.

“This project is a fantastic example of our continued commitment to innovation in gas transmission,” said Neil Pullen, Director of Gas Transmission at National Grid.

“The funding will help us get this technology out of the lab and into use across the business, further increasing our knowledge of the condition of our underground pipes and allowing us to do a better job for our customers.”

To find out more visit the Project Graid website

Project Graid robot