DNV GL partners with SGN to deliver innovative project for UK regulator

Following a successful Network Innovation Competition bid in 2015, DNV GL has secured innovation funding from SGN to partner in a project to demonstrate the viability and practical reality of a mixed-source, energy-centric gas network for the future. The project was developed, and will be delivered, in partnership with SGN who are one of the UK's key gas distribution operators, and industry leaders in innovation.

Changing the gas industry

The integrated energy network of the future must be flexible, secure, cost effective and above all safe. The changing gas industry, driven by a reduced North Sea supply is increasingly required to accommodate gas from more diverse sources such as biomethane and shale gas. Each source has a range of different gas compositions, physical properties and energy content that must be accounted for within the network.

Gus McIntosh, Innovation & New Technology Manager and Project Director for SGN said: “We are excited by this partnership with DNV GL and the opportunity it affords to radically change how we manage and design our networks, whilst removing barriers for new sources of gas and stimulating downstream gas renewables. A key challenge is to not only manage the volume and flow in our network, but to manage and model the energy content. Once again we are showing the energy market that gas has a significant role to play in the future energy mix.”

Energy flow in gas distribution network

A crucial part of the endeavour will be a field trial which aims to understand the energy flows within a low pressure gas distribution network. Lower cost gas quality and flow devices will be verified for use downstream of more accurate traditional high pressure network measurements. Network and consumer meter data will be collated on DNV GL’s cloud server and used to model energy flow through the gas network in real time.

“This is an exciting opportunity to transfer and update some of the technologies and methods used in the high-pressure transmission system to complex low pressure gas distribution networks. The project is timely as it combines innovative applications of data cloud technology, big data, real-time network modelling to facilitate the challenge of distributing a wide range of different gas qualities. It could potentially redefine business as usual for the gas networks of the future,” says DNV GL Principal Specialist, Sarah Kimpton.

Over the course of the three year project, DNV GL will fulfil all aspects of the project from selection & procurement of leading-edge equipment to real-time data collection and development of a prototype real-time network model updated regularly from the data cloud.

“DNV GL will leverage our leading solutions Synergi Gas, and Synergi Pipeline Simulator, in combination with novel developments built in the Internet of Things and real-time analytics, to perform analysis and calculations needed to make design, planning and operational decisions”, says Are F. Tjønn, DNV GL. “Most of our stakeholders are looking to decrease cost, increase productivity and create more value through efficiency improvements. By leveraging the tremendous potential in cloud based solutions, smart sensing and instrumentation of pipelines this project will demonstrate how we help our customers achieving data smart business operations”, he says.

The project will provide a turn-key solution for SGN that will ensure the UK gas industry will understand and meet future energy challenges.

About SGN

SGN manages the network that distributes natural and green gas to 5.9 million homes and businesses, 74,000 km of gas infrastructure, across Scotland and the south of England. As an organization they are dedicated to keep their customers safe and warm by leading the way in energy delivery. DNV GL has worked closely with SGN as a trusted advisor for many years and this project clearly endorses our relationship and recognises future potential.

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