New materials and technologies for reducing corrosion and improving monitoring of pipelines will get a boost from $800,000 in grants just announced by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
PHMSA awarded the funding to eight universities to research new ideas and technologies to improve the safety of the nation's energy pipelines.
The grants were made under the new Competitive Academic Agreement Program, which was developed to introduce graduate and Ph.D. students to pipeline integrity challenges and show how their engineering or technical backgrounds could address those issues.
The awards are partially matched by non-federal funding.
"Safety is our top priority, and we're committed to investing in innovative technologies that will strengthen our nation's pipeline system well into the future," Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said in a press release.
"This is also a great opportunity to attract fresh, new talent to the field of pipeline safety," Foxx said.
Research Areas, Awards
Through the program, PHMSA is seeking research in the areas of pipeline corrosion; pipeline defect detection; modeling defects, loads in pipelines; and modeling anomalies and repairs for corroded pipe.
Proposals were evaluated on their relevance to PHMSA's mission, scientific merit, feasibility and past institutional performance.
The selected universities, project titles, and award distributions are:
"The challenges that these projects address have real-life safety applications," said Cynthia Quarterman, PHMSA Administrator.
She added: "We were pleased to see such a strong pool of applicants. We are confident that this program will not only result in exciting new developments in the field, but also inspire bright young researchers and engineers to consider pipeline safety as a cutting-edge and rewarding field of employment."
PHMSA says it is currently pursuing developments in robotic inspection systems, integrated inspection and cleaning tool technology, acoustic-based technology to detect buried pipelines, and automated monitoring threat prevention.