Distribution mains replacement



The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) works in partnership with UK Electricity, Gas and Water Distribution Network Operators to help them identify solutions to specific issues & challenges. Over the next few months and following the publication of the Industry Gas Network Innovation Strategy in March 2018, the EIC will be highlighting priority innovation needs to Innovators.


DISCLAIMER: This is not a tendering exercise and as such does not guarantee either a project or product sales.  This is a market research exercise on behalf of the EIC’s distribution network operator partners seeking potential solutions/alternative products in which the networks may see benefit over existing methods.


Gas Network Innovation Strategy reference



Specific innovation need


The Gas Distribution Networks are seeking innovative approaches to support their Iron Mains Risk Reduction Programme (IMRRP) to replace old mains and associated services. They are also seeking methods to develop new network riser strategies; these methods should improve efficiency by reducing disruption and lowering costs.


Areas of interest are:


  • New materials other than PE for a complete mains and services solution
  • Alternatives to replacement
  • Use of robotics for in-pipe inspection and digitalisation of ageing asset data
  • Asset life extension


In addition to developing new technology, techniques and skills, the solutions should also provide a reduction to the size and number of excavations.


Desired outcome


  • Innovative pipe lining technologies which explore the potential of structural and semi structural applications for both mains and services.
  • Better coordination of data from robotic technology as an enabler to the deferral of the cost of mains replacement.
  • The ability to target higher-risk parts of the gas main with greater accuracy.


The network operators are open to ideas and approaches to solve this challenge.


Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with previous NIA and NIC projects and ensure that their proposal does not duplicate work previously carried out.


Process for submitting proposals


Focus period for this innovation need: 10 July 2018 – 17 August 2018

Deadline for responses: 17 August 2018

Notification of next steps (for applications made within focus period): 05 September 2018


Find out more here


To make a submission, please complete the following online form


  • A brief description of the proposed solution, including relevant technical details
  • A description of the proposed solution's features/properties that uniquely differentiates this solution
  • How do you envisage your proposal progressing e.g. a trial, an innovation project etc.?
    Please only select one option
  • Please see link below for definition of TRL
  • TRL Definition
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