Modern Pipeline Engineering Requires the Best Software

Pipeline operations are vastly different than they were just five or ten short years ago. One key area in which this is true is in the rise of renewables and sustainability. Today’s pipelines are moving new products like hydrogen or carbon dioxide (CO2) from carbon capture operations along with the old standards, and these changes significantly impact their operations.

Fortunately, as Paul Dickerson and Dr. Jon Barley share in their recent article in World Pipelines, there are modern solutions to meet the new needs. Modern pipeline software can help teams navigate complexity to maintain operations at peak efficiency.

New products, new considerations

Returning to the discussion of hydrogen and CO2, it is clear engineers designing the pipelines to carry those products need extended functionality in their digital tools. Solutions from 20 years ago simply aren’t up to the task. As Dickerson and Barley explain,

“Hydrogen has different physical properties than natural gas, and pipeline pressures must change to achieve the correct flow rates. Moreover, consumers taking gas out of the system are likely calculating their requirements based on energy content rather than volume of gas. Because the volumetric energy content will be lower with hydrogen, teams will need best-in-class design and analysis software to identify the correct increase, and to automatically determine the correct flow and pressure needed to meet those energy contracts.”

“Carbon capture operations also need simulation software to help design systems for transport to depleted reservoirs for sequestration, or to storage tanks for reuse. These operations collect captured carbon dioxide (CO2) from various plants and transport it to the designated sequestration sites. Transporting CO2, however, is different from transporting gas. CO2 transporters must keep the pressure and temperature at a level to maintain the fluid in a single phase, and this and other requirements present unique challenges. The solutions chosen must help these teams build the models they need to keep the pressure high and the temperature low from end-to-end.”

Making the right decisions all starts with using the right pipeline design and analysis software. The software helps them determine necessary materials, volumes, and even pipe sizes along the path. The process is complex and time consuming, so evaluation of a software package for pipeline engineering should always explore the way the software’s features make it easier for engineers to efficiently and effectively complete design.

As more organizations begin transporting renewable products like hydrogen, pipeline engineering requirements become more complex.

Select intuitive software that delivers significant value

Pipeline design and analysis software users, Barley and Dickerson explain, should be able to go from zero to design in a single software package. Some of the most common inefficiencies show up when users are forced to move from one software solution to another as they transition from steady state simulation to transient simulation,

“The most obvious benefit to such a solution is that it saves the user the time of exporting and importing files between software packages. However, another more critical value is consistency of the user interface. When a software package handles the full spectrum of simulation, users only need to learn one system to accomplish all their tasks. Working within a single package dramatically cuts training time with consistent, logical input at every stage.”

Dickerson and Barley also share that the best software not only delivers value across engineering, but also across operations, where some organizations even use it for day-to-day planning.

Take the time to evaluate

While there are many pipeline design and analysis solutions available, the best have been tested across decades, and over that time have incorporated changes based on feedback from thousands of users spanning varied operations across the globe. Software like Emerson’s PipelineStudio is designed from a solid foundation in pipeline engineering expertise, helping add value in every step to make it easier for teams to drive competitive advantage.

To learn more, read the article in its entirety at World Pipelines. You’ll find extensive advice for selecting the right software features, and some real-world examples of why those choices matter.

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