What is your vision for the future? Does our world have to become even safer? Surely! There are an unbelievable number of opportunities to make our plants even safer. However, we have to redefine safety and dare to cut off old “braids”. Safety technology must become intelligent and adaptable to processes, and we must stop discharging hazardous substances into the environment. Actual hazards shall be evaluated just in time and initiate appropriate counter-measures dynamically. Our vision at the CSE Center of Safety Excellence is: Economic Safety - higher profitability of plants without incidents and without emissions. In fact, none at all!
But how can pipelines be effectively protected? New gas compositions with additives like bio-gas and hydrogen may alter them internally. And in the future, climate-related changes such as storms with violent lightning strikes, local heavy rains etc. can cause major external damages. “Keep distance” is key to protect human and environment. And in densely populated areas risk-based safety analyzes and periodical risk monitoring shall be done. This applies to corona measures as well as to long-distance gas pipelines. Here, Germany and view other countries certainly need to enhance safety.
And what about aging of pipeline networks? This question cannot be evaluated with statistical methods, looking into the past. Only research and regular inspection will help here. But do we really need research and development at all? Almost no severe incidents happen. This is an argument made by managers of yesterday. They did not understand the task. Safety is not a condition! Safety is a process that has to be achieved dynamically every day by experienced specialists. It’s about trust. The trust of the public that hazards of technical systems are reasonably excluded. Such trust can wane very quickly. This is shown by many events up to the present day.
Safety technology has developed into an exciting subject and an interesting field of research in recent years. Gas network operator are called upon to actively contribute to this development.
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schmidt
CSE Center of Safety Excellence