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Index > United States of America > Gas Pipelines Could Serve as Wireless Links

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Halliburton Loophole

"Father of Fracking"
George Mitchell
concerns over environmental
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History of Fracking
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USA Fracking Stories

A Texan tragedy

Gas injection may have triggered earthquakes in Texas

California Lags in Fracking Regulations

All In for California Water

Fracking in Michigan

Fracking in Michigan Potential Impact on Health, Environment, Economy

Hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale

Methane Gas from Marcellus Shale Drilling

Marcellus Shale Gas Economics

Health impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling

Pennsylvania Fracking

Fracking in Virginia

Lesson From Wyoming Fracking

Water Pollution from Fracking

Hydraulic Fracturing Poses Substantial Water Pollution Risks

Methane in drinking water wells

Abandoned gas wells leak

Natural Gas Leaks Discovered in Boston

Methane Leaks Under Streets of Boston

Methane leaks make fracking dirty

Fracking effects real estate values

Fracking stimulates earthquakes

Protecting Gas Pipelines From Earthquakes

Gas Pipeline Earthquake - Simulations

America's crumbling pipelines

Averting Pipeline Failures

Dangers to Underground Pipelines

Gas Pipelines Could Serve as Wireless Links

Government Action needed on a National Energy Policy

EPA Releases Update on Ongoing Hydraulic Fracturing Study

Solar Booster Shot for Natural Gas Power Plants

Natural Gas Pricing Reform to Facilitate Carbon Tax Policy

Investing in fracking

What Oil Prices Have in Store?

Methane Out, Carbon Dioxide In

Health impacts of Marcellus shale gas drilling

Professor Ingraffea

Anti-Fracking Billboard

Natural Gas Drilling

Threats to Biodiversity

Pronghorn Migration
hindered by gas development

Microbes in a Fracking Site

Protozoa May Hold Key to World Water Safety

Shale Gas Production

Research into the Fracking Controversy

Convert Methane Into Useful Chemicals

Methane Natural Gas Into Diesel

'Natural Gas' at the molecular level

Arctic Methane risks

Arctic Methane Seeps

Great Gas Hydrate Escape

Undersea Methane Seep Ecosystem

Methane in the Atmosphere of Early Earth

Methane Natural Gas Linked to Climate Change

Cutting Methane Pollutants Would Slow Sea Level Rise

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Shale Gas


UMR Study Finds Gas Pipelines Could Serve as Wireless Links

12/13/2005 - Missouri University of Science and Technology

Detecting leaks and conducting maintenance in America's aging network of natural gas pipelines will eventually be a job for wireless robots, according to researchers at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

"As the existing natural gas pipeline ages, it is critical that these pipelines be periodically inspected for corrosion, cracking, and other problems that can eventually cause a failure of the pipeline," says Dr. Kelvin Erickson, chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMR.

"For larger transmission lines, passive flow-powered platforms -- also known as pigs -- are used to carry an array of inspection sensors.

However, in smaller, lower-pressure distribution mains, 'pigs' are inappropriate and so robotic devices are currently under development for the inspection and repair of these pipelines.

Secure, reliable communication is needed to support these robotic devices."

In a Department of Energy-funded study, a team of UMR faculty found that the 1.2 million miles of natural gas distribution and transmission pipelines that crisscross the United States could be used to build wireless networks.

Known as 802.11 or Wi-Fi, wireless networks use radio links instead of cables to communicate between computers.

Initial tests were conducted on a small pipeline loop at UMR, with subsequent field testing on a much longer pipeline loop at the Battelle Pipeline Simulation Facility near Columbus, Ohio.

"We found that we could communicate over a little less than a mile with a 24-inch pipe," Erickson says.

"It did well, even around U-shaped curves."

The wireless network could support un-tethered inspection technologies, like the RoboScan™ and Explorer™ robots, for the evaluation of pipeline conditions.

The pipeline can transmit a radio signal and deliver gas at the same time, Erickson says.

"The robots would try to detect a problem within a pipeline before it became a problem," Erickson adds.

"There could be hundreds of these miniature robots that reside in the nation's pipelines, roaming and looking for deterioration."

The robots can currently send back visuals from inside the pipeline as well as conduct electronic scans of the pipe.

Eventually, the robots would not only inspect but also repair pipelines, Erickson says.

"This is even more important in the northeast, where it's denser," Erickson says.

"Repairing pipelines there can be difficult because the pipes are often under buildings.

The robots may one day be able to fix the problem without having to dig down to the pipeline."

Working with Erickson on the project were Dr. Shari Dunn-Norman, associate professor of geological sciences and engineering; Dr. Ann Miller, the Cynthia Tang Missouri Distinguished Professor of Computer Engineering; Dr. Keith Stanek, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Dr. Cheng-Hsaio Wu, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

 

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