The Department of Energy plans to award $38.5M in grants to support the development of technologies that will renovate bare steel and cast iron natural gas distribution pipes.
DOE said Tuesday it aims to build robotic tools, smart coatings, mapping systems and inspection tools that will help the pipes reach a minimum lifespan of 50 years as part of the Rapid Encapsulation of Pipelines Avoiding Intensive Replacement program.
The technologies are envisioned to meet regulatory agencies' standards and have material traits that will allow the pipes to operate without the need for exterior pipes.
“Developing technologies to keep our domestic natural gas pipeline infrastructure safe, secure, and state-of-the-art is crucial to maintain America’s energy leadership and independence,” said Mark Menezes, DOE undersecretary.
The department noted that legacy bare steel and cast iron pipes account for 3 percent of 2M miles of activity utility pipes in the U.S.