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Chevron and AIR partner for new technology for in-service tank inspection

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Picture of Meenal Datar

Meenal Datar

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Multinational energy corporation, Chevron is contributing to a joint collaborative development project for robotic solution company, Applied Impact Robotics (AIR) technology. This novel robot solution enables remote, in-service inspection of crude oil above ground storage tanks (ASTs). The current inspection processes result in major cost, safety, and environmental concerns, prompting the need for this advanced technology.

AIR’s novel robot technology makes remote, in-service tank inspections possible. Using a tethered robot, the technology combines vibration and fluid injection to modify the sludge environment. Once the robot has reduced sludge viscosity, it can use phased array ultrasonic (PAU) sensors to inspect the tank floor and send high-resolution imagery to operators to assess the tank’s condition. The solution provides real-time data, so operators can produce more accurate maintenance schedules.

This approach extends the asset’s life, reduces lost revenue due to maintenance outages, and eliminates unnecessary maintenance costs. Additionally, it allows operators to meet regulatory requirements while mitigating risks such as human safety, environmental impact, and costs associated with tanks being out-of-service during inspection.

The joint collaboration with AIR and Chevron seeks to validate the technology’s effectiveness through testing phases. Having access to Chevron’s storage tank assets will allow AIR to validate the effectiveness of the robot and the PAU technology with different sludge profiles. Combining this validation with demonstrating the liquefaction and robot propulsion techniques and the tethering reliability, AIR will be closer to providing industry operators with a more cost-effective and safe solution for tank inspections.

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