Utonomy and SGN secure investment from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund for Intelligent Gas Grid discovery project

June 2022

Utonomy, the developer of patented hardware and AI technology to optimise pressure in the gas network, and gas distribution network SGN, have been granted £116k from Ofgem’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) to conduct a discovery project to develop an Intelligent Gas Grid.

The project assesses the ability of Utonomy’s remote control pressure system to both operate effectively alongside existing pressure management equipment and systems, and how it might collect and use network data – alongside external data such as weather – to develop machine-learning and AI applications that are expected to maximise the potential for optimising network pressures and provide additional insights on network performance.

The applications assessed as part of the Intelligent Gas Grid project will support the low-carbon transition by further reducing methane leakage and increasing the potential for feed-in capacity of renewable gases including biomethane and hydrogen. 

Additional components and enhancements will also be considered to provide autonomous early warning and diagnosis of network faults, and dashboards will allow network operators to monitor KPIs and predictive alarms in near real time.

The project builds on a collaboration between Utonomy, SGN and Wales & West Utilities on the NIA-funded Pressure Control and Management project, which has completed successful trials over the past three years.

Adam Kingdon, founder and CEO at Utonomy, comments:

“The gas grid of the future, which will be able to cope with the simple feed-in of green gases, needs increased automation and smarter networks using AI-based and machine learning digital tools. 

“Therefore, it is fantastic to have received funding from the SIF for this project. The vision of the Intelligent Gas Grid is to autonomously and intelligently monitor and control networks, both in terms of pressure management and operational planning and maintenance, using data-driven algorithms and decision making, and to support network digitalisation. This will lower costs to consumers, and increase the resilience of the network, whilst also supporting the progress to net zero.” 

The project is funded by energy network users and consumers through the Strategic Innovation Fund, a programme from the UK’s independent energy regulator Ofgem managed in partnership with Innovate UK. The SIF has been set up to address four key challenge areas facing the UK’s energy sector – whole-system integration, data & digitalisation, zero emission transport and heat – as we work towards achieving our net zero targets. 

Mark Skerritt, Innovation Project Manager at SGN, comments:

“Our Intelligent gas grid project combines the learning and knowledge taken from our NIA project with artificial intelligence and data digitalisation, to look at developing a ‘thinking’ network with enhanced network optimisation. We’re very much looking forward to working with Utonomy on this next project, which continues our exciting partnership in our joint quest to develop credible innovative solutions to ensure gas networks become greener, smarter, safer and more resilient as we progress through the energy transition and move towards a sustainable future.” 

For more information, visit https://utonomy.co.uk