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Abfad introduces vacuum-based technology for corrosion protection and leak detection in pipelines

A new method of pipeline corrosion protection, the Pipevac, has recently been developed by UK-based Abfad.

Unprotected pipelines, be they buried in the ground, submerged underwater, or exposed to the environment, are incredibly susceptible to corrosion.

Corrosion in pipelines is perilous, as it can damage their structural integrity, making them dangerous for transporting potentially hazardous goods, such as oil and gas.

Pipevac is based on Abfad’s Fuelvac technology and employs a vacuum around the external pipe substrate, which eliminates the conditions in which corrosion can occur, thus preventing any attack on the pipeline’s external surface.

Abfad’s project director Chris Haritou says it is important that operators ensure the highest level of protection for their assets, considering the ever-rising costs of corrosion.

‘Both Fuelvac and Pipevac offer a new approach to corrosion protection and prevention, employing vacuum technology to prevent corrosion from impacting on the metal substrates and avoid damage to steel integrity from corrosion, whilst at the same time allowing complete monitoring of client’s assets,’ Haritou says.

Utilising a vacuum around the pipeline makes it possible to integrate leak detection monitoring into the system, meaning that any problems with internal corrosion or damage to the outside of the pipeline can be easily notified and located.

This leak detection feature of Pipevac can be a useful tool in aiding maintenance and inspection programmes.

When a problem occurs along the pipeline and the incorporated vacuum is breached, the monitoring system triggers an alarm, notifying the operator about the issue and which section of pipeline it has occurred in.

The system can be installed on both above and below ground pipelines, in a factory on new pipe work, or in the field onto pipelines that are currently in-service.

The unique nature of the material used in the application process means that Pipevac can be installed onto in-service pipelines in areas of hydrocarbon risk without heat or naked flame.

This ensures safe installation, providing a robust vacuum leak detection system for protection and monitoring of pipelines under most service conditions.