Using solar energy... an Egyptian innovation to protect oil pipelines from corrosion - Energy

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  • The oil sector resorts to using clean technologies such as solar energy to achieve carbon neutrality
  • A team designs a model for using solar energy to protect oil and gas pipelines from corrosion
  • The model ensures automatic and continuous protection
  • The technology includes a sensitive installation that alerts when pipe corrosion has occurred

Solar energy is one of the solutions that the oil sector has resorted to on its way to achieving carbon neutrality during production processes, and protecting oil pipelines from corrosion.

As part of efforts to make greater use of these solutions, a research team at the Egyptian Petroleum Research Institute came up with the design of a prototype (model) for the use of solar energy to protect oil and gas pipelines and wells from corrosion and rust.

This model ensures the provision of automatic and continuous protection, in addition to a sensitive installation to alert when corrosion occurs in the pipes.

Cathodic protection of oil pipelines

Cathodic protection is an effective way to protect steel structures and pipes from corrosion; As a result of the interaction of their surfaces with soil or water, due to the occurrence of chemical reactions accompanied by the flow of electrons (i.e. the flow of electric current).

Thus, the corrosion process is an electrochemical process that leads to the loss of parts of iron metal; Which leads to the erosion of the surface exposed to soil, water or moisture as a result of the formation of an electric cell.

Cathodic protection technology, which is used to control surface corrosion of a metal, relies on making it the cathode of an electrochemical cell.

Use a power source

It is scientifically known that there is a simple method of protection that links the metal to be protected with a “rust-proof metal” that is more easily affected as an anode, and then the stainless metal corrodes instead of the protected metal.

For structures, such as long pipelines, where negative cathodic protection is insufficient, an external power source is used to provide sufficient electric current.

Cathodic protection systems are used to protect a wide variety of metal structures in different environments.

The most common applications are: steel water or fuel tubes and steel storage tanks, such as domestic water heaters, ship and boat hulls, offshore oil rigs, and onshore oil well casings.

In addition to foundations for offshore wind farms and steel rails in concrete buildings and structures.

Solar energy and oil pipeline corrosion protection
Cathodic protection of oil and gas pipelines (protection of oil pipelines from corrosion using solar energy)

automatic protection

The specialist in the applications of nanomaterials in renewable energy and water at the Petroleum Research Institute, director of the International Institute for Renewable Energy and Environmental Affairs for the Egypt branch, Dr. A prototype model for the use of solar energy in cathodic protection.

She said that pipelines and oil and gas wells are subject to corrosion, and therefore it was necessary to provide continuous automatic protection to preserve them from damage, in addition to installing sensors to alert when corrosion occurs in metal pipes.

She added that the oil sector is in dire need of such technology, and gas companies need to secure buried pipes and tubes, hence the idea of ​​using solar energy in the cathodic protection process.

cost saving

clarified Specialized in nanomaterials applications in renewable energy that Cathodic protection originally required converting alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC).

She explained that the solar cells generate direct current (DC) directly; what gives it an advantage; Because it saves effort and energy.

She added that this technology – as well – allows the oil sector to use a source of renewable energy, especially in light of the current global trend to reduce emissions to meet climate changes.

She also highlighted the advantage of this technology in saving a lot of cost, explaining that most of the oil extraction sites – currently – are in the desert, which has a huge potential of sunlight.

This saves companies the fossil fuels needed to carry out cathodic protection, in addition to burning diesel, which results in carbon emissions.

Instead, the solar plant provides the electricity needed to carry out the cathodic protection process, and a sensor installed on the tube will alert when any corrosion occurs in the tubes.

oil and gas
Executive Director of the International Federation of Oil and Gas Producers, Iman Hill

cleaner technologies

She was the Executive Director of the International Federation of Oil Producers And gas, Iman Hill, confirmed during an interview with “Energy” – the continued participation of hydrocarbons in the energy mix for many years to come, despite the increased investment in renewable energy sources.

Hill saw that there is no contradiction between the continuation of oil and gas in the energy mix and adherence to the Glasgow Charter, pointing out that hydrocarbons should not stop, and they only need to be developed and used with cleaner technologies.

She added that the issue is not related to maintaining oil and gas in the first place, but rather revolves around producing them with better and cleaner technologies, explaining that the efforts of the International Federation of Oil and Gas Producers provide part of the solution, by focusing on the issues of reducing emissions and capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

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