Release Date: October 11, 2000
|Energy Department Seeks Feedback on Planned Call for Research Projects to Improve Reliability of Gas Infrastructure|
With demand for natural gas growing, America's gas industry will likely be required to install enough new gas pipelines in the United States in the next 15 years to stretch from the Earth to the Moon.
At the same time, the existing million mile network of gas transmission and distribution pipelines is aging and will require life-extending maintenance and upgrading.New technology can help meet both challenges, and today, the U.S. Department of Energy took its initial step in a new joint government-industry research program that will address critical technology needs in the nation's natural gas infrastructure.The department issued a draft solicitation for industry comment outlining a $10 million, 3-year program to develop a wide range of innovations that could strengthen the reliability of the U.S. gas pipeline system.The department's National Energy Technology Laboratory, its lead field center for fossil energy technology, posted the draft document on its web site and asked prospective proposers to submit comments by October 24. The actual solicitation will be issued in early November with proposals due in early January.The increasing challenges facing the nation's natural gas delivery system were highlighted last December when the National Petroleum Council, an advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy, forecasted the need for more than 38,000 miles of new gas transmission lines and 263,000 miles of distribution mains by 2015.Gas transmission lines are the "interstate highway" system for natural gas. About 150,000 miles of these high-strength, high-pressure pipeline currently crisscross the nation, moving natural gas from producing fields to local gas utilities. Distribution lines are the "city streets" of the pipeline system, with more than a million miles of these lower pressure lines bringing gas service to homes and businesses.The Energy Department's upcoming solicitation requests research proposals to improve either, or both, type of gas pipeline. The department expects to award multiple projects with industrial participants expected to contribute at least 35 percent of each selected project's cost.
The solicitation follows two major industry workshops the department conducted this past May and June. Based on industry's identification of critical technology needs at these workshops the draft solicitation encourages applicants to submit proposals in such areas as:
The department is encouraging prospective applicants to create teams with each team required to have a technology developer and manufacturer or implementor of the technology or methodology.
The Energy Department included funding for natural gas infrastructure research in its fiscal year 2001 budget for the first time. This past week, the U.S. Congress sent an appropriations bill to the President which included the Administration's request of nearly $5 million for the domestic gas infrastructure initiative. The initiative will be conducted by the department's newly created Strategic Center for Natural Gas, part of the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
|Contact: David Anna, DOE/NETL, 412-386-4646|