Cryobture • A maintenance system for pipeline terminals
Cryobture set out to develop material-based solutions for cryogenic pipeline sealing balloons, to remedy pipeline network shutdowns caused by leaks. These solutions were designed using coated textile materials that could withstand temperatures as low as -160°C.
Natural gas must be cooled to a cryogenic temperature of around -160°C to be transported by LNG tanker. It is then discharged to terminals connected to a pipeline network.
If there is a leak in one of these pipelines, repairs can be made by shutting off valves upstream and downstream of the leak, but this is hugely expensive. A remedy for this is to place inflatable rubber balloons upstream and downstream of the leak, so action can be taken quickly without closing the valves. However, no balloons were capable of resisting such low temperatures.
The Cryobture project, led by Dunkerque LNG and EuraMaterials, produced a balloon that speeds up maintenance, removing the need for supply shutdowns in the terminals.
This new method is three times cheaper, as well as safer.