Last month, ROSEN participated in the International Project Week from the Saxion University of Applied Sciences, where companies are providing a research task and teams of students can work out potential solutions for it. ROSEN provided the task of "Autonomous repair of Hydrogen pipeline".
In total, 36 students in groups of six decided to take up the challenge. ROSEN colleagues from Lingen (Ems) und Enschede supported the students as corporate mentors and central contacts alongside other colleagues. The emerging talents' task was to create concepts for an autonomous repair robot that can be used specifically in hydrogen pipelines. Their challenge: to identify the cracking mechanism due to hydrogen embrittlement, create several general concepts on the various sub-functions required and an integrative overall design within the few days of the project week.
The study programs of the institutes and universities in Enschede offer a large overlap to the research activities of ROSEN. Autonomous robotics is an important area in which a lot of research and development is ongoing. On top of that, possibilities for asset repair technologies can be explored to greater extent. The week was made for getting completely new impulses on scientific areas, which could potentially be pursued further within upcoming projects and cooperations at our sites.
The students have elaborated a total of nine concepts. A wide variety of both established techniques and completely new techniques were used. A special input: on the second day, the young talents interviewed two of our colleagues from Newcastle about crack formation mechanisms in hydrogen pipelines. With many insights and hints from our colleagues and corporate mentors, the students became familiar with the complex topic and learned what difficult conditions the applications and tools have to withstand. Then after a few days of hard work, several great concepts were presented.
Particularly interesting were devised repair methods such as nanocomposite coating and vacuum welding. To power the robots, there were also completely self-energizing solutions such as fuel cells and pressure differential-based motion mechanisms thought out. Functionalities that were not directly part of the prerequisites were also thought of and taken up. These included, for example, post-cleaning and smoothing of the repaired area, but also an automatic post inspection to check whether the repaired area is good enough to be put back into operation. Everything was well documented in several professional reports and presented in preliminary presentations.
Both the students and our corporate mentors intensely enjoyed the week and look forward to participating again next year. The content generated by each team will be reviewed in detail and the most viable ideas will be compiled. Currently screening the results, our colleagues are planning further collaboration with the students of Saxion University of Applied Sciences.