The popular London Showcase and Lions’ Lair took place on 26th February 2019.
Five shortlisted finalists had four minutes to showcase their new innovation followed by four minutes of questions from the judges. Steve Vick International chose to present Enhanced SEAL, a safe and effective method of abandoning 100% of T1 gas mains under ‘live’ conditions without removing the tee piece and won the coveted Tommy McNicholas Shield.
Andy Hutchison, Technical Support Engineer, represented Steve Vick International. He was the last to present but kept his nerve and delivered an excellent presentation which, combined with this innovative product, won the judges over on the day.
The judging panel consisted of Chris Bielby, Director of Industry Liaison at SGN, Chris Clarke, Future Strategy Director at Wales & West Utilities and James Harrison, Head of Operations for London at Cadent.
Enhanced SEAL was developed by Steve Vick International in collaboration with Northern Gas Networks and funded by the Network Innovation Allowance. The key benefits of the technique are that; Abandonment is carried out remotely from a nearby ‘non-sensitive’ position up to 60m away from the parent main, safety is significantly improved by sealing the last transition joint between the T2/3 and T1 pipe and therefore any risk of a gas leak is removed, the size of excavation is kept to a minimum which reduces the impact on the environment. Enhanced SEAL also delivers cost savings by reducing reinstatement, traffic management and time on-site and less disruption to customers and the public is created by excavating in non-sensitive areas.
Following the Lions’ Lair there was an excellent presentation from keynote speaker, Mark Horsley, CEO at Northern Gas Networks, entitled Northern Soul, a fascinating insight into the innovations being used in their Network and the benefits these innovations are providing.
The event was organised by IGEM’s London, Southern and Eastern Section in conjunction with the Pipeline Industries Guild; ULC sponsored the event. The Ben Kinsella Trust was one of the beneficiaries, with donations made on the evening going to the charity to ‘educate children about the dangers of knife crime and make our streets safer for eveyone’. IGEM has also become the first national charity partner for Solutions for the Planet’s Big Ideas programme who were also beneficiaries.
Northern Gas Networks has estimated this newly developed technique will be saving them in the region of £4million during this RIIO period alone. Northern Gas Networks have already saved in excess of £1.5m and as with all NIA funded projects, all knowledge will be shared, potentially replicating these savings across all Gas Distribution Networks.