Case Study

National Gas condense pipeline routing timeline by 93%, with Optioneer™

As part of the exploration of a UK hydrogen backbone development, National Gas worked with Continuum Industries to enable the rapid analysis of routing options for new hydrogen pipelines.

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1 day

To arrive at preferred corridors

65+%

Reduction on traceable costs compared to traditional methods

93%

Reduction on time compared to traditional methods

Introduction

National Gas own and operate the UK's national gas transmission network. They are exploring the development of a UK hydrogen ‘backbone’, described as Project Union, which aims to join together industrial clusters around the country, potentially creating a 2000 km hydrogen network.

Continuum Industries worked with National Gas on the New Pipeline AI Routing innovation project that aimed to deploy Optioneer to enable the rapid exploration of routing options for new hydrogen pipelines.

The challenges of developing pipelines to support hydrogen transport

As part of the movement towards decarbonisation of the energy system, National Gas is working on a strategy to integrate hydrogen into the UK’s energy mix. Transmission network upgrades are part of this strategy.

As a result, National Gas could be faced with the challenge of developing pipelines to support 100% hydrogen transport. These developments are part of Project Union which may require routing of ~2000 km of new pipelines.

Given the size of the challenge, National Gas is seeking improvements to the process and opened up an Ofgem NIA competition to evaluate software tools to assist in the process.

National Gas

How National Gas used Optioneer

Continuum Industries’ solution, Optioneer, automates the assessment of individual route options and provides a collaborative platform for the planning and consenting of hydrogen pipelines.

It uses geospatial data, constraint weighting and powerful algorithms to develop routes faster and in more detail. National Gas’ internal processes were modelled in Optioneer. Over 1.2 million route options were analysed by the AI engine.

The options were screened and narrowed down with consideration of specific factors. These factors include minimising route length and construction cost, as well as minimising the impact on environmental constraints.

It was also important to consider landscape amenity and visual receptors, as well as avoid unnecessary impact on socio-economic and historical constraints. In addition, hydrology, geotechnical, and constructability aspects of the route were also taken into account.

Finally, ensuring minimum safety requirements for pipelines is essential to protect people and the environment. All of these factors need to be weighed carefully when selecting a pipeline route to ensure that it meets the needs of all stakeholders involved.

"The New Pipeline AI Routing innovation project with Continuum Industries positively demonstrated the tangible advantages of utilising a system such as Optioneer for hydrogen transmission route selection. The benefits specifically in time saving compared to traditional methods were clear and of real value"
Ian Bennett
Innovation Delivery Manager

The result

Following a 16-week engagement with National Gas team, the pilot project concluded successfully.

The tool was evaluated by multiple stakeholders within the business and its effectiveness was demonstrated on a >140km conceptual project and a 10km project currently in development.

The pilot demonstrated that relevant routing and development principles can be successfully modelled in the software.

In terms of quantified benefits, for the 10km development, the tool was proven to reduce the time required to arrive at the corridor by 93%, with a cost saving of over 65%. This equated to around £25,000 for the scheme.

These savings relate exclusively to resource time requirement reduction.

1 day

To arrive at preferred corridors

65+%

Reduction on traceable costs compared to traditional methods

93%

Reduction on time compared to traditional methods

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