Rapid+ System for Natural Gas Pipeline Integrity Management

Acellent's Encroachment Detection System Improves Safety of Natural Gas Pipelines

Acellent Technologies, Inc


Sunnyvale, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

The final report was received and the project was completed in 2018. This system was designed to detect degradation to the pipeline and its impacts due to external encroachments, which are the two most common causes of pipeline leaks. The core technology of the acoustic ultrasonic sensors for detecting damage was modified and further improved in this project for the detection of soil movement and excavation equipment impacts to the natural gas pipelines. The field demonstration of the system also showed that the vibration sensor sensitivity needs to be increased to be more effective and further improvement of the sensor is needed before commercializing the technology.

The Issue

Safety and the reliable operation of natural gas pipelines is jeopardized by degradation of the pipeline from corrosion and cracking; as well as pipeline impacts caused by encroachments. There is a need to detect and monitor pipeline degradation and encroachments to avoid pipeline accidents.

Project Innovation

This project developed and demonstrated the Real-time Active Pipeline Integrity Detection (RAPID+) system. The system detects degradation to the pipeline and its impacts due to external encroachments, which are the two most common causes of pipeline leaks. This system consists of a surface-mounted ultrasonic sensor array that can identify corrosion damage on or inside a pipe and detect encroachments that pose a threat. The project included the underground deployment and field-testing of the system at a California natural gas utility.

Project Benefits

The system, consisting of degradation and impact detection along with wireless communication, improves the ability to detect and monitor defects and provide immediate feedback to pipeline operators on critical and highly susceptible-to-damage regions of pipeline in California.

Lower Costs


Installing sensors on pipes will avoid the high costs of monitoring pipelines in the field with inspection personnel. It is estimated to save nearly $5,000,000 per mile over 25 years.

Greater Reliability


The use of the system helps to prevent damage of natural gas pipelines before accidental third party impacts occur, as well as assess corrosion damage in underground pipelines, which will improve reliability of the pipelines.

Increase Safety


The sensors can detect pipeline encroachment and thereby improve safety of natural gas pipeline infrastructure in real time with monitoring technology that can accurately report the pipeline condition; thus reducing the risk of catastrophic events due to third party impacts.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Howard Chung

Contact the Team