Innovative Pig Technology is Reducing Enbridge’s Environmental Impact
When Stacey Bisch learned that there was a new technology that would save money on the batch pig program and help the environment, she knew she had to learn more.
Stacey, a pipeline services coordinator for the Western Region, began investigating
SUNcast refurbishes worn and discarded cups and discs,allowing companies to lengthen the lifespan of the parts while not compromising on performance.The cups above have been refurbished and are ready for use.
Innovative Pig Technology is Reducing Enbridge’s Environmental Impact technology company SUNcast Polyurethanes Inc. about a year ago. She heard about SUNcast through the vendor who manages the cleaning and transporting of the batch pigs Liquids Pipelines uses on the Waupisoo and Athabasca lines. SUNcast refurbishes worn and discarded cups and discs that are used on batch pigs, allowing companies to lengthen the lifespan of the parts, as well as cut down on replacement costs while not compromising on performance.
Refurbished Parts Perform like New
Stacey knew the technology could easily be applied to the Waupisoo and Athabasca pipelines, where every day three to four batch pigs are received on each line. After the run, the batch pigs are pulled, cleaned and sent back up north to be put back in the line again.
“The batch pig discs and cups wear after being run between seven to 10 times,” explains Stacey. “Once they exceed their lifespan, we throw them away and replace with new ones. Not only does that cost us money to replace with new parts, but it is also a huge waste that ends up being discarded. I wasn’t comfortable with that environmental impact and wanted to make a difference.”
Stacey, Pipeline Integrity Technologist Tom Richardson, and Pipelines Services
Supervisor Ken Furrie met with SUNCast, toured their production facility in Edmonton, and conducted trials using the refurbished parts. A big concern was that the refurbished discs and cups wouldn’t perform to the same ability as the new parts, but that wasn’t the case. On trial runs, the refurbished parts performed extremely well – slightly better than new parts – and proved they could be a great addition to the batch pig program.
Success on Key Northern Pipelines
As of January 2016, discs and cups from the Waupisoo and Athabasca batch are sent to SUNcast for refurbishing allowing Enbridge to reuse the parts 10 times or more. The cost savings of using the refurbished discs and cups is about $20,000 for the year. While that’s not insignificant, the real savings comes from the amount of material that is diverted away from the landfill, which Stacey says could be 25,625 pounds of waste in 2016.
“The opportunity to divert thousands of pounds from the landfill means a lot to me as I know it does to everyone in our company,” says Stacey. “We’re showing leadership and demonstrating that the protection of our environment is a priority for Enbridge.” From Tom’s perspective, there could be opportunities to use this same technology in other areas of the pipeline system. “The possibility is there that this technology could be applied to the cleaning pigs we run on other lines,” says Tom. “This would allow us to achieve further cost savings and an even greater reduction of our environmental impact. We’ll have to see where this goes in the future, but right now I feel we’re taking a step in the right direction.”