Pipeline companies are often closely related to the energy sector. Besides water, this vast network of interconnected lines is also used as an alternative means to transport oil, gas, and other fuel types. Pipelines are buried underground or constructed above the ground—typically away from communities.
Related Post: 5 Ways Your Business Can Save Money by Going Green
While it’s possible to move oil, gas, and fuels through road trucking services, pipes are generally considered safer. With the application of new technologies, as discussed in this blog, pipelines aren’t only safer for people. They’ve also become safer for the environment.
Discover the concerns that hound pipeline companies and how pipeline companies leverage technology with suppliers such as KNF USA to maintain eco-friendly operations.
Potential Environmental Issues With Pipelines
Environmentalists are often the first to protest pipelining plans in all areas worldwide. Mostly, they cite the following recurring concerns.
- Pipelines may cause environmental damage because of the ground areas to be cleared to construct the pipe. This activity could lead to ecosystem imbalance and threaten species of flora and fauna.
- High carbon footprint due to chemical use in operating compressor stations and other resource requirements. These processes also release greenhouse gases that damage the environment and are detrimental to human health.
- Accidental leaks, spills, and explosions may plague pipelines, releasing toxic chemicals that can cause severe health and safety risks to the population.
Pipeline operations aren’t limited to carrying goods and materials from one point to another. It also involves operating and controlling the entire system, gathering data, and detecting and preventing leaks and other disruptions.
Thus, regular monitoring and maintenance works are crucial among pipeline companies. Similarly, these organizations must enhance and maintain workplace safety while operating.
5 Ways Pipeline Companies Use Technology For Eco-Friendly Operations
Environmental and safety concerns should be primary concerns for all industrial companies, particularly businesses that use pipelines. Nowadays, several technological components are used to transport potentially hazardous chemicals and produce energy resources properly, which can be gleaned from the points below.
1. Using Robotics And Imaging Technology To Reduce Errors
Because of the potential risks involved in spills, leaks, and explosions, pipeline companies must constantly monitor their pipes made from steel, carbon, or other materials. It can be challenging to perform checks and repairs in previous years. Fortunately, technology has allowed less invasive means of pipeline review and repair.
Instead of sending humans to check, monitor, and repair the network sections in question, the management can rely on advanced three-dimensional imaging technologies or drones to have real-time photos or videos of the pipes.
Once repairs are needed, robots can be deployed to the affected site to make the necessary fixes, for instance, injecting sealants. Companies no longer have to resort to digging or spending too many resources to perform repairs in hard-to-reach areas.
2. Using New Materials To Improve Pipeline Performance
The industry has been using newly-developed materials to reinforce pipelines. For instance, ultra-lightweight graphene polymer aerogels were developed to provide several benefits: increase pipes’ compression resistance, enhance their insulating capacities, and prevent corrosion. This material is also proven to help prevent oil and fuel spills risks. Moreover, some companies use concrete-coated pipelines to increase strength, durability, and resiliency when placed in shallow water.
When pipelines get damaged, they’re more prone to leaks, spills, and explosions. Fortunately, these new products, created using new manufacturing technologies, are now available to pipeline operators to improve the pipes’ lifespans.
Also Read: 9 Ways To Make Money As A Graphic Designer
3. Digital Data Gathering And Analysis
Some pipelines and oil fields that form part of the green energy sector store voluminous data using cloud computing technologies. With data automation backed by machine learning, it can be easier to monitor, analyze and use the data to help companies make intelligent decisions. Depending on how their business software is configured, organizations can predict and prevent potential accidents, reduce downtimes, and improve operational efficiency.
4. Resource Use Reduction
Pumping and compression stations of pipeline companies require heavy resources, particularly water, to move natural gas and liquid fuel along the network and cool the machines down. In some cases, large volumes of water end up as waste dumped in specific locations. Advanced technologies have enabled more efficient engines that require fewer resources to run.
With less demand for water, oil, and other resources, pipeline companies no longer have to compete with humans, animals, and plants for basic needs.
5. Improved Recycling Efforts
Besides lowering water use, some pipelines and oil fields have employed new technologies to allow the reuse of water to run their machines and equipment. Apart from enhancing filtration oxidation processes to recycle non-potable water, companies have used water treatment methods that don’t require chemicals in getting rid of bacteria.
Many organizations are also tapping technology that enables the conversion of used oil to diesel fuel. This approach helps save the environment and can also reduce fuel expenses.
Using different technologies such as cloud computing, machine learning, imaging, and artificial intelligence minimizes the risks of errors in pipeline companies. Moreover, it can also eliminate all operational inefficiencies in pipeline companies that lead to environmental hazards and threats to human health and security.