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The Northern Gas Networks Innovation Team headed south-west to Telford in December, for the annual Low Carbon Networks & Innovation conference.

Bringing all the UK energy networks together in one place along with suppliers and academia, the conference was an opportunity to share learning, explore new technology, listen to updates on major energy innovation projects across the country and discuss solutions to new challenges.

NGN’s 2017 stand featured some of the Innovation portfolio’s leading projects, including the gas detection dogs, back blade protector and STASS robot.

It was also an opportunity to update around 1,100 delegates on NGN’s pioneering energy futures projects H21, HyDeploy, InTEGReL and City CNG.

Drawing a lot of interest to the stand was our Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car, which added a new dimension alongside the Tesla electric vehicles on display and saw Fleet & Commercial Manager Mark Squires fielding a wealth of questions.

But star of the show was definitely gas detection dog Midge, who ensured there were plenty of visitors observing his amazing ability through a series of live demos.

“It’s been a great couple of days and we’ve spoken to a lot of people about the work we’re doing,” said Innovation Portfolio Manager Adam Madgett.

“LCNI brings the UK’s energy innovators and networks together under one roof, and is an important chance for us to discover new technology, share what we’re doing and learn about successful project delivering great results, which will ultimately help us improve our own processes.

“Everyone involved has put in a lot of time and effort into ensuring our stand looked great and presentations were compelling, so I’d like to say thank you to them all on behalf of the Innovation team.”

LCNI presentations this year included:

InTEGReL – Keith Owen

InTEGReL is a new whole systems research and demonstration facility, launched by Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid and Newcastle University in partnership with the EPSRC National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI).

Linking Innovation with Government initiatives – Stephen Parker

How the H21 project aligns to Westminster’s long term plans for a low-carbon future, as featured in the UK government’s recently published Clean Growth Strategy.

Health and Safety Monitor – Richard Hynes-Cooper

NGN and specialist supplier J3llyH34d have developed a prototype health monitor that through sensor technology measures exposure to noise, vibration and heat to ensure the wellbeing and long-term health of our engineers.

H21 – Adam Madgett, Chris Barron

Following on from the original H21 study, NGN in partnership with Cadent have commenced four new projects to support the H21 vision. News will also be shared on the £15 million collaborative bid to Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition.

Redefining Failure – Wayne Smith

An analysis system has been developed to define the risk of asset failure built on individual maintenance data. This new system allows us to plan ahead and ultimately deliver more efficient management of these assets over their lifetime.

System Two Assess and Seal robot – John Pickering

Working with specialist supplier Synthotech and ALH, we’re building a ‘best of breed’ state-of-the-art robot to travel down our pipes and show us what’s happening below the surface.

Low Carbon Gas Pre-heating – Adam Sadler

Over the past two years, we’ve installed new pre-heating systems across our network, to monitor how new technology can improve our carbon emissions and improve reliability and performance.

City CNG – Jamie McMaster

NGN is partnering Leeds City Council, and longer term, the private sector, to provide a high pressure gas connection for a CNG fuelling station. Serving the council’s fleet of converted CNG bin lorries, this will help reduce emissions and improve air quality.