Boston, Massachusetts-Cabot Aerogel and Corus Tubes are offering an innovative pipe-in-pipe system for subsea pipelines which uses hybrid insulation made from a nano-technology-enabled silica aerogel, and polyurethane foam.
A 1 March statement from the two groups said that this Corus-designed system "combines the ultra-low-conductivity and wide temperature stability range" of Cabot's Nanogel aerogels with the "strong bonding benefits of PU foam."
An inner layer of Nanogel aerogel is in direct contact with the high temperature inner pipe, while an outer layer of PU foam bonds the Nanogel layer to the outer pipe. As well as giving mechanical support, Cabot said, the PU foam compresses the Nanogel aerogel layer, which improves thermal performance.
"Operators looking to develop and extend production capacities of high pressure high temperature and remote fields will find this new system to be a cost-effective solution to flow assurance issues," said Aaron Johnson, global business development manager, Cabot Aerogel, in a joint statement from the two groups.
Richard Freeman, development engineer, Corus Tubes, commented that the innovative design, using aerogel, will give operators higher output and better cost management, "even under the most challenging environmental conditions."
Specific advantages include Nanogel's ultra-low conductivity and wide temperature stability range, which make it "ideally suited to withstand the extreme operating temperatures and transfer axial and radial loads associated with HPHT [high-pressure high-temperature] flow systems," Freeman added.
Prototypes are currently being tested at Corus' research and development facility in Rotherham, UK. Corus said the new system is good where operating temperatures exceed the limits of PU foam.
Cabot Aerogels, part of Boston headquartered Cabot Corp. describes aerogels as, "the lightest and best insulating solids in the world." Nanogel is a hydrophobic aerogel produced as particles, largely of air (~95%), contained in nano-sized pores that severely inhibit heat transfer through the material, Cabot added.