With this Automated/Remote Inspection of LPG Tanks Competition , NineSigma, representing a distributor of off-grid LPG energy, is looking for technologies that can reduce the number of visits for doing technical checks and inspections on small gas tanks located at the consumer premises. The inspection solution should make it possible to evaluate the tanks without the physical presence of a technical expert.
Gas is an efficient, clean and low-carbon energy for domestic heating. On locations without access to a gas pipeline the installation of small tanks gives millions of users access to gas. These LPG tank installations require ongoing safety and compliance inspections needing a regular dedicated physical visit by an engineer. The visits are not efficient since they take up a lot of travel time, often do not lead to an actual intervention, and need the presence of the client to allow access to the installation.
The engineers are thus spending a lot of time on non-value adding work where, for example, they could be better working on installation of new tanks.
Items that are evaluated include the above ground surroundings of the tank like growth of trees and scrubs around the tank, nearby presence of sheds, greenhouses, etc. installed by the clients, presence of pits and depressions, presence of ignition sources, changes in tanker access for refilling, and other changes to the surroundings, but also include physical changes on the tank (e.g. rust, dents, damage to valves).
NineSigma’s client is interested in solutions that can unburden both technicians and clients. Can tank inspection be done remotely, automatically or without the need of an expert?
The successful technology will have the following specifications:
- Be applicable on small off-grid LPG installations
- Evaluate the surroundings of the tank
- Allow assessment of above ground tank siting risks
- Asses the integrity of the tank
- Detect cracks, corrosion, damage to valves, etc.
- If not fully automated, be fast and simple to allow use by untrained staff
- Be accurate such that detected risks can be scored on a scale of 1 to 5 (low to high risk)
- A nice to have would be the ability to integrate results into an operational system
- Be ATEX 2 certified if the solution will be attached to the tank itself
- Be cost effective
- Preferably make use of existing devices to capture data
- Try to avoid the need to invest in new equipment
Your response should not contain any confidential information and address the following:
- High level description of proposed technology and any device needed to accomplish the goals
- Clearly mention which parts of a full inspection your technology/approach will solve
- Indicate any limitations for use on LPG tanks and possible remediation plans
- Time estimated to set up a pilot test
- Include cost estimates
- Short overview of the company or team behind the proposal and expertise in the monitoring field or related fields of interest
The client will review submitted proposals and possibly ask clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for further evaluation. During the selection process, the client may execute non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with selected respondent(s), seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific targets.
Client will evaluate all responses and choose those of greatest interest for direct discussions that could lead to contractual engagement or other commercial arrangements with selected respondent.
Supplier agreement, technology licensing, proof of concept work leading to scale-up
Phase 1 – Technology Evaluation (2 months)
Phase 2 – Technology Field testing (2 to 6 months)
Phase 3 – Operational Deployment
Funding will be available to test and pilot promising technology that meets the stated specifications.
All financials are to be negotiated.