Utonomy is developing innovative technology to automatically monitor and control gas distribution networks to make them more efficient and sustainable.
Utonomy was founded in early 2015 to develop innovative technology to tackle the global problem of methane leakage from gas distribution networks. As methane has 84 times the global warming potential of CO2, reducing leakage has become a priority for utilities, regulators and governments around the world.
Utonomy is developing an Intelligent Gas Grid Management System, which reduces leakage by optimising the pressure in the gas distribution network. This is expected to have a payback for utilities of less than three years. If the technology were deployed today across the UK network, it would reduce emissions of CO2 by 18 million tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking nine million cars off the road.
The Utonomy pressure management solution involves hardware which can be quickly retrofitted to existing governors in the network. This hardware, together with other pressure sensors installed at other locations in the network, are linked to Utonomy's cloud-based data platform via the mobile phone network. Utonomy software and self-learning algorithms continuously and automatically optimise the pressure in the network so that it is as low as possible while not going below minimum standards of service.
Further applications of Utonomy’s Intelligent Gas Grid Management System include increasing bio-methane feed-in capacity, demand forecasting and predictive maintenance. The number of bio-methane plants injecting directly into the gas network is growing rapidly as part of the drive to meet the UK's decarbonisation goals. However, there is often limited feed-in capacity for these plants, particularly at times of low demand. This could mean that the plants have to restrict their output, or in the worse case, flare surplus gas. The Utonomy solution enables the pressure in the network to be varied in order to store gas at times of low demand. This can increase average feed-in capacity throughout the year by as much as 30%.
Utonomy is starting live trials in autumn 2018 with commercial roll out expected to start the following year.
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