logo GRT GAZGRT gaz - build the transport of tomorrow
La revue soGaz #3
Le Gaz. L'Énergie des Possibles. - 10 new reports to discover

Innovation

LEVERAGE FOR RESPONSIBLE GROWTH

The company places innovation at the core of its strategy not only to improve performance and accelerate development, but also as a way to strengthen its bonds with players in the territories in which GRTgaz operates a vital infrastructure for energy supply: the gas transmission network.

Consistent with its corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach, innovation at GRTgaz offers real prospects in areas such as drones, augmented reality, and renewable gases. It also encourages participatory innovation to promote internal initiatives and the sharing of experience.

GRTgaz is extending this innovative approach to the territories through partnerships it is establishing with the French Hiking Federation or the French Federation of Regional Natural Parks (FNPR):

Partnership and innovation


THREE MAIN AREAS FOR INNOVATION

Innovation in GRTgaz screenshot

Drones, the future of network surveillance

As the primary manager of the transmission network in France, GRTgaz operates more than 32,000 km of underground pipes that must be inspected and secured regularly. In total, its experts monitor more than 600,000 kilometres each year, primarily from the air, using aircraft or helicopters.

For the future, GRTgaz is studying the possibility of updating this surveillance, in particular through the use of drones. With increasing performance, they have serious advantages for aerial surveillance of the network, such as incontestable environmental benefits (pollution and noise), and high technology equipment (cameras, sensors) from which information can then be processed automatically. Another advantage is greater operating flexibility, as surveillance operations will be less dependent upon climate conditions.

After a test flight conducted in December 2013 in the Montargis region (45), GRTgaz concluded that the project is viable, without however underestimating the existing regulatory and technological barriers: currently drones able to cover several hundreds of kilometres autonomously are not authorised, and automated image processing must still be developed.

GRTgaz plans to continue experimenting to remove these constraints. Through its commitment, GRTgaz is encouraging the emergence of a French sector both for the design and operation of drones and for image processing technologies.

See the video on surveillance drones

With augmented reality, the virtual enhances the real

GRTgaz is positioning itself as a pioneer in industrial augmented reality applications, a technology that consists of superimposing graphic and textual information on a real image displayed on a screen (tablet, glasses) in real time.

The company has already refined three prototypes on digital tablets. Two of them are intended to improve the reliability and efficiency of maintenance operations. The third prototype is intended to facilitate dialogue with local governments and residents on surface facility construction projects: the GRTgaz representative can thus offer to show those he or she is speaking with how the structure uses the site space and discuss it in real time to adjust its positioning.

Increasing use of these new technologies can strengthen the professionalism of our teams; it is also an opportunity to provide new ways to inform and cooperate with residents by promoting their involvement.

See the video on augmented reality

Power to Gas, valuing unconsumed renewable electricity

After the emergence of city gas in the 19th century and then the switch to natural gas in the second half of the 20th century, a third revolution is developing with the advent of renewable gas. Beyond the injection of biomethane into the transmission network, planned for 2015, GRTgaz hopes to make its infrastructure available for storing temporary electricity surpluses.

Using renewable energy to produce electricity is a major challenge for the energy transition. Now, GRTgaz can provide a robust, available, underground network for transmitting and storing significant volumes of energy over long distances. Therefore, it is essential to find a way to transform electricity into gas, what we call "e-gas" or Power to Gas.

To do this, we use water, and with an electrolyser, we can produce hydrogen, part of which we can inject directly into gas transmission networks. Combined with CO2, we can re-create synthetic methane, all of which can be injected into the gas transmission infrastructure. If we are able to implement it, this idea will provide an interesting solution to problems with the electric grid.

See the video on Power to Gas