Who we are
The Non-Metallic Innovation Centre (NIC) opened in September 2019, based at TWI’s headquarters near Cambridge. The NIC was formed as a partnership between TWI, AramcoTech and ADNOC with the aim of advancing the use of non-metallic materials for industrial applications.
The NIC initiates research programmes with partners from academic institutions, research centres, composites materials manufacturers and oil and gas companies. These research programmes will span Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1-6 to enable the wider deployment of non-metallic materials in the oil and gas industry. Research sponsors will also be provided with technical support to commercialise these product solutions up to TRL 9.
Within this framework, the NIC has two key objectives:
- Promote innovation through disruptive technology – developing solutions using non-metallic materials to address oil and gas industry challenges
- Support the commercialisation of innovative products – expanding the commercial availability of non-metallic products while reducing transportation, installation and maintenance costs of pipes and pipelines
Achieving these aims will deliver a number of benefits including:
- Boosting entrepreneurship
- Growing the knowledge-based economy
- Increasing technology exploitation
- Using academic / industrial links to strengthen talent bases
- Addressing technology challenges at cost
The NIC is addressing a number of challenges to enable the wider adoption of non-metallic materials, including restrictions on operating temperatures, pressures and chemical concentrations in crude oil, a lack of reliable inspection and fitness-for-service assessment for in-service composite pipes, and the potential degradation of properties through ageing mechanisms.
To meet these challenges, the NIC is focusing on expanding the operating envelope for non-metallics in oil and gas, improving inspection and condition monitoring processes, developing integrity assessment and maintenance procedures, and creating standards and specifications in light of technology developments.
Overall, the NIC seeks to improve operational efficiencies and reduce operational costs for oil and gas operators to provide non-metallic assets that operate for longer with less need for maintenance when compared to current commercial products.