Challenge N°2

The industrial Internet of Things in gas areas

Background

GRTgaz operates a network made up of 32,456 km of pipelines and several thousand technical facilities located on French territory. Many of these industrial facilities are remotely-monitored or remotely-operated from remote supervision units using traditional means.

For mainly safety and operational performance needs, GRTgaz has been experimenting for several months with the appropriateness of communicating with other types of facilities.
Specifically, several applications are the subject of a project for developing technical solutions, mainly by harnessing the potential of the industrial Internet of Things. Currently, these experiments are struggling to be successful because the systems developed are not compatible with “gas areas”. These so-called ATEX areas, may have, in the air, flammable substances, in this case, natural gas. The equipment put into these areas must therefore always be compatible and, for components at risk, have ATEX certification.

Schéma plan ATEX

Issue

At at very general level, GRTgaz’s challenge is to be able to capture the data, primarily physical data (pressure, temperature, vibration, “all or nothing” discontinuous signal, etc.) in an ATEX area to be able to transmit it by a remote transmission device, not necessarily located in the ATEX area*.

Without ruling out other possible approaches, we believe that our need would include:

 

– Either “conventional” sensors, and their chain of communication, not inherently compatible with ATEX areas that are “packaged” and certified by the competent authorities to become “ATEX products”

 

– Or “original” sensors (in the sense that the phenomenon to detect would be identified in an unconventional way, for example in a mechanical and non-electrical way) that are intrinsically compatible with ATEX areas.

 

The short-term need covers five distinct functions:

 

– connected pressure switches

– connected pressure sensors (several pressure ranges between 1 and 100 bars, including a wide 1 bar/ 5 bar range)

– connected pressure sensors (pressure range from 0 to 1 bar, accurate to around 0.01 bar)

– devices for detecting and measuring the opening time of the safety valves. 

– geolocation devices (accuracy to within a few metres) of mobile equipment

 

The development of other uses is also planned in the near future.

Schéma plan soupape réseau

Constraints:

We are looking for devices which consume very little energy and have a large autonomy except perhaps for the “geolocation” use.

 

The devices will generally be used outside, in sometimes isolated areas, and therefore in particular exposed to the following conditions:

 

– Bad weather (rain, wind, etc.)

– No network coverage (4G, GSM, etc.)

– No connection to the electricity grid.

 

The Explosive Atmosphere Area concerned is mainly the ATEX 1 area and the envisaged equipment is in the 2G category according to the ATEX standard and the associated directive. As an indication, addition information is given below:

 

https://zone-atex.fr/page/categories-appareils-atex.html

https://zone-atex.fr/page/zones-atex.html

Objective

Allow GRTgaz to have mature or prototype equipment for the particular uses covered by the technologies of the industrial Internet of Things compatible with ATEX areas.

Issues for GRTgaz

Optimise the economic performance of maintenance and the operation of industrial infrastructure

Volumes / Time scales of the need

– Volumes: depending on the particular use cases and response, the volumes of the planned devices ranges from a few units to several thousands for GRTgaz. Opportunities for a non-GRTgaz market.

 

– Planned schedule:

 

> As soon as possible (Testing in 2018 and then more wide-scale deployment)

Value prospects for the winner:

– Equipment purchase contract with GRTgaz

– Co-develop potential solutions in partnership with GRTgaz,

– Obtain the financing of solutions to develop or the financing of patents to be registered,

– Use the facilities of GRTgaz’s R&D centre (RICE) to develop and test the innovations,

Closing Date: 30/05/2018