As a multi-stakeholder centre based at TWI in Cambridge, the NIC conducts a research programme covering technologies with different maturity levels spread through Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1-9. Partners are drawn from leading academic institutions, research centres and composite material manufacturers. The NIC holds an annual Technical Advisory Board (TAB) meeting to gather advice and recommend actions for the development of research strategies. Furthermore, it is essential to explore and identify novel research opportunities and accelerate development by highlighting and prioritising collaboration.
NIC is part of the Private Technology Innovation Partnership (PTIP) initiative at TWI. PTIPs work to address their technology priorities, fostering innovation and working towards commercialisation of technology with their sponsors and supply chain.
The aims of PTIPs are to:
The NIC conducted an investigation into the low adoption rate of non-metallic pipes in the oil and gas industry. It revealed that the primary obstacles were the performance envelope constraints, in the presence of complex fluid, that need to be expanded. This low adoption rate is perpetuated by a lack of reliable inspection and fitness-for-service (FFS) assessment methodologies for in-service composite pipes.
Based on collected inspection and monitoring data, repair and maintenance approaches can be identified and selected with minimum effect on operation conditions.
Following the implementation of this new technology, improvements to existing standards and the development of new guidelines and standards, including product qualifications, installation procedures and fitness for service assessments, will be essential.
NIC’s development activities will, therefore, focus initially on four key areas related to composite pipes:
Expanding the operating envelope
Inspection and condition monitoring
Integrity assessment and maintenance