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CEED Project Abstracts 2009-2010

School of Civil & Resource Engineering

  • Modelling of seabed shear stresses around subsea pipelines
  • Regional road life model Albany Highway - An 80 year case study

School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering

  • Effect of pressure fluctuations on water main failure rates
  • Modelling of atmospheric LNG Vaporisers
  • Identifying and improving the levels of service provided by WALGA's "Local Goverment road & assest Expenditure Report"
  • Development of a condition monitoring framework for Water Corporation assets
  • Opportunities for energy generation from renewable energy sources within the water industry
  • Alternatives technologies to wet gas flow meters
  • Risk based hydrate management for offshore Oil & Gas developments
  • Truck shop simulation
  • Augmented reality and augmented telepresence visualization for industrial automation
  • Gas to liquids: Economic Study
  • Effect of vibratory compaction equipment on cement-mortor lines steel water pipes
  • Impact of inflow and infiltration on wastewater assets

UWA Business School

  • Evaluation of social optimum for landfill levy in WA
  • How can a "Lessons Learned" strategy be successfully designed and implemented within a technical engineering environment
  • Is this correct ? Understanding the motivation for manually acquiring data


Evaluation of the social optimum for the landfill levy in Western Australia

Paul Schollum
UWA Business School
WA Waste Authority

The key purpose of the Landfill Levy in Western Australia is to set the price of landfill so that alternatives such as recycling are more cost competitive. Ideally, the value of the Landfill Levy should be equal to the environmental costs of landfill (otherwise known as landfill externalities). This dissertation has estimated the value of landfill externalities in the Perth Metropolitan Region. These were calculated using a technique known as ‘benefits transfer’, which was used to convert externality values from previous studies to estimates for the Perth Metropolitan Region. The externality valuation and policy analysis suggested a current Landfill Levy of approximately $32 per tonne should apply across all waste streams. This levy should increase over time to account for inflation and projected growth in the externality costs. A number of complementary policy measures that would enhance the application of the levy were also discussed, including encouraging landfill electricity generation with subsidies, applying the levy to regional landfills and greater use of pricing systems that provide an incentive for households to recycle more.

Regional road life model of Albany Highway - An 80 year case study

Bevan Harris
School of Civil & Resource Engineering
Main Roads WA
Roads are designed to endure physical deterioration over time but the cross-section and alignment is frozen in situ at the time of construction, inevitably leading to premature obsolescence. Recent research has now revealed that in many cases structurally sound roads make way for safer and more efficient road alignments. The Albany Highway, Western Australia’s oldest arterial two-lane highway has existed since the 1860’s and was constructed using modern techniques during the 1930’s. The object of this project is to investigate why roads fail and to develop a new approach for the design life of roads as a function of functional longevity. An assembly of resources encompassing  archives, annual reports, maps, manifests, journal articles ,interviews, texts,  reconstruction, road inventory and traffic databases were used to develop a research database. Candidate measures relating to road age, location, seal width, traffic and alignments were used in the development of a logistic regression model. The model developed using SPSS software enabled the determination of the relationship between the road characteristics and failure conditions. The findings in the model suggest that curved roads designed with a high geometric standard should incorporate a maximum design life, while curved roads with low geometric standards should be designed in anticipation of early disposal.

Identifying and improving the levels of service provided by WALGA's "Report on Local Government Road Assets and Expenditure"

Mukul Soul
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Western Australian Local Governments Association
This paper describes a stakeholder consultation process that took place to review a specific technical report produced annually by WALGA. The aim was to clarify and improve the levels of service (LOS) provided by the Report. Despite its rather dry title, the “Report on Local Government Road Assets and Expenditure”, the contents influence decisions and perceptions of Councils in a myriad of ways. Each year, WALGA invest $95,000 and 0.1FTE to create this Report for its Local Government members. WALGA collates and evaluates road asset and expenditure data received from Western Australia’s 139 Councils to provide technical and cost information. This study identifies how the Report is used, what it does well and opportunities for improvement. The process adapts the concept of LOS from the asset management domain to define LOS for the Report. Findings are relevant to all involved in technical report writing for government stakeholder groups.

Truck Shop Simulation

Chris Vernon
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Rio Tinto Iron Ore

Many of the mine production models used in industry today do not simulate maintenance operations that take place in the “Truck Shop”. These maintenance operations are relatively expensive, time consuming and important to the long term health of the equipment. There is therefore great opportunity to improve mine performance by identifying and evaluating important maintenance and reliability operations. Insights backed by data on the relative importance of truck shop operations will act to improve the effectiveness of current operations. Greater understandings of the operations that are undertaken in a truck shop will ensure future work can build towards answering more advanced questions.

Augmented reality and augmented telepresence visualization for industrial automation

Tyson Stolarski
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Sentient Computing

A major aspect of industrial automation software is to clearly and effectively relay important information of the industrial process to the operator in a timely manner. Traditionally this has been done via two dimensional diagram based User Interfaces (UIs) with a high amount of context specific symbols and shapes that only have meaning to the engineers and operators familiar with the graphical standard. A new visualization approach utilizes the live camera feeds of modern industrial processes, augmented with the large amount of operational data available, to provide effective operations monitoring and control. This project produced a prototype augmented reality system for this very purpose, combining video feeds from a wide array of supported IP cameras, and overlaying data from a multitude of possible data sources.

Modelling of atmospheric LNG Vaporisers

Geoff Goodwin
School of Mechnical & Chemical Engineering
Wesfarmers Kleenheat Gas

The objective of this project has been to develop a program that models the performance of an ambient LNG vaporiser for KHG. The vaporisers are not operating as required by design specifications. The pressure drop across the vaporisers is greater than the design parameters for a given flow rate. In the winter months the vaporisers frost over, reducing their capacity.

This program has been written in MATLAB. The model will consider conduction, free convection, frost formation, fin shapes, internal flow, and boiling. The theories, laws and equations of thermodynamics/heat transfer are well established; therefore the project has involved researching the previous topics in a literature review. As all properties are transient, the model uses an iterative process to perform calculations. Results achieved to date are as expected and will later be validated by measurements taken from site.

The program will be a tool for KHG to increase their understanding of the vaporiser performance. It may be used to alert them to conditions that will reduce the desired flow rate and allow them to make informed design decisions.

Modelling of seabed shear stresses around subsea pipelines

Mengmeng Xu
School of Civil & Resource Engineering
JP Kenny

Conventional pipeline stability design methods usually consider a pipeline resting on a stationary seabed which fails to take into consideration the potential instability of the seabed profile, with significant implications for the pipeline’s resistance to lateral movement. As a major forcing mechanism for sediment transport, seabed shear stresses may dominate the deformation of the bed. This paper describes a numerical model designed to calculate the seabed shear stresses at all locations near the pipe with planar and non-planar seabed topography and steady current and wave conditions. The seabed shear stresses distributions along the flow direction are identical for comparable seabed topography and flow conditions and can be well described by mathematical formulations.

How can a "Lessons Learned" strategy be successfully designed and implemented within a technical engineering environment

Sam Rowe
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Woodside Energy Ltd

The most common expression of knowledge management is the sharing of lessons learned (Earl-Carnes & Breslau 2002). Many organisations are attempting to implement a lessons learned process, however are unsatisfied with the effectiveness of the system. This project explores the difficulties of designing and implementing a successful Lessons Learned (LL) strategy within a technical environment. Action research was conducted to analyse this issue employing interviews, surveys and observational analysis. The fundamental findings of the project include several key factors influencing the success of the strategy, namely the importance of the human element, the organisational culture, the support required from management, the integration of the process into standard business proceedings and lessons must result in actionable items.

Alternative technologies to wet gas flow meters

Steven Ponting
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Woodside Energy Ltd

Hydrate inhibitors are often injected into deep subsea pipelines to reduce the chances of water forming hydrates which can block and damage equipment. Wet Gas Metering is now being used to optimise hydrate inhibitor injections. The accuracy of these types of metering systems are crucial to minimise injection over-dosage. This paper looks at the accuracies of wet gas meters for such a purpose, and an alternative, the Weatherford Red-Eye, which measures directly the concentration of water in aqueous and may reduce some of the over-dosage requirements in chemical injections. Additionally another technique is suggested which would involve using infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance and may be less susceptible to undesirable flow conditions which affect the Weatherford Red-Eye.

Risk-based hysrate management for offshore oil & gas developments

Alicia Park
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Woodside Energy Ltd

Natural gas hydrate formation can cause significant operational problems, resulting in production losses in the order of multi-million dollars and major safety risks. As the oil and gas industry expands to deeper water developments, the risk of hydrate formation and consequent impacts has increased. Traditionally, a risk avoidance strategy has been adopted for management of hydrates. Due to the increasing complexity and costs associated with the avoidance strategies, however, there has been a desire within the industry towards acceptance of a more risk- based hydrate management, through better understanding of various factors influencing hydrate blockage.

Risk-based hydrate management evaluates potential causes and consequences of hydrate plug formation. Adequately employed, it can reduce CAPEX and OPEX without imposing significantly increased risks. Investigation of different hydrate management methods including chemical inhibitors can assist in identifying their limitations and potentials to reduce hydrate risks. This project aims to investigate hydrate inhibition technologies available and develop a risk-based methodology for selection of hydrate management strategies for offshore oil and gas developments.

Gas to liquids: Economic Study

Thomas Longo
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Woodside Energy Ltd

This project examines the prospect of Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology in the Australian market as an alternative means to monetising Australia’s vast gas reserves. It sets out to understand whether GTL technology is an economically viable alternative for monetising natural gas resources in an Australian context, and if not, what economic, political and regulatory conditions are required to ensure the success of an Australian GTL industry. The key objectives of this study include: (1) to understand the economics of the GTL process based on a range of variables including feedstock gas price, capital and operating costs and the market and price of the end products; (2) understand how GTL technologies are linked to the economics of the process; (3) develop an understanding of how GTL compares to alternative gas monetisation options; (4) develop a rationale for pursuing a GTL strategy within different regulatory frameworks and market scenarios; and (5) understand the markets and marketing challenges for GTL products. The approach taken has been to develop an economic model of potential GTL scenarios and use this as the basis for discussion. Results to date indicate that medium scale GTL in Australia is not economically viable based on conservative assumptions. However, under certain economic conditions GTL is feasible.

Is this correct? Understanding the motivation for manually acquiring data

Roger Molina
UWA Business School
Water Corporation

This project seeks to understand the motivational factors that contribute to the quality of data being collected by operators. The importance of knowing the motivational drivers for data collection is that organisations will be able to strategically direct their intervention efforts into improving data collection activities, and hence reduce the need for resource depleting data cleansing. The project does this by focusing on goal hierarchy theory and how goals both at the abstract level and concrete level can affect an individual’s performance and intention to collect data accurately. It assesses the individual operators from a water utilities company, focusing on identifying their goals and intentions. This was done with the use of semi-structured interviews and will be further investigated using surveys with field operators within the water services function of the company.

Phase 1 of the study has found that there is a positive relationship between mastery approach and motivation to collect data, that there is a positive relationship between managerial pressure and motivation to collect data which is influenced by the contractor identity and further that there is a positive relationship between motivation and collecting high quality data influenced by familiarity with technology, work pressures  and peer pressure.

Development of a condition monitoring framework for Water Corporation assets

Aoife Breathnach
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Water Corporation

This paper looks at the development of a condition monitoring framework for Water Corporation assets, using wastewater pump stations as a case study. Condition Monitoring is one of several maintenance strategies and has the potential to reduce maintenance costs and increase reliability when applied in a suitable environment. The project looks at the various areas requiring consideration in the framework development and applies them to the case study, assessing its suitability for condition monitoring. It is hoped that the approach presented can then be applied to other business areas within the Water Corporation, in an effort to ensure that the most suitable maintenance strategies are employed. The study shows that unplanned maintenance accounts for the majority of maintenance conducted on major site assets. The quality of the maintenance data was low, and the consensus and support towards applying the maintenance strategy is lacking. Further work to improve data quality and understanding of condition monitoring is needed.

Effect of pressure fluctuations on pressure main failure rates

Felix Rhode
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Water Corporation

The Water Corporation installs pressure reducing valves (PRV) on water mains to ensure that the maximum working head is managed to an acceptable level. These valves can fail and cause the pressure to equalise across the valve – effectively increasing the internal fluid pressure in the downstream pipe sections. The objective of the project is to investigate the effect of PRV failures on the lifetime of the legacy pipelines.

The objective of this project is to allow the Water Corporation to effectively manage its pipeline replacement strategy by replacing legacy pipelines before their failure rate becomes uneconomic. A reliability evaluation strategy will be used to evaluate existing PRV and water mains failure data produced by the Water Corporation. The data is to be grouped into PRV affected pipe networks called “Zones” and materials datasets. Both the PRV and water mains data will be plotted and fitted to a probability distribution such as the Weibull distribution, and then correlated to explore the effect of PRV failure on the water mains distribution.

Oportunities for energy generation from renewable energy sources within the water industry

Matthew Graham
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Water Corporation

The Water Corporation strives to become a leader in sustainability. Faced with growing electricity needs, the Water Corporation is considering where renewable energy could be used to reduce its carbon footprint. Since Photovoltaic (PV) technology is yet to reach grid parity, the most sustainable option is not always the most cost effective option. In recognition of these tradeoffs, this paper seeks to incorporate future electricity price appreciations and the intangible benefits associated with renewable energy into a single financial model. By encapsulating external cost savings and intangible benefits, the true value of renewable energy can be realised. Upon developing the community model, this paper uses the East Rockingham Waste Water Treatment Plant (ERWWTP) as a case study to investigate the feasibility of various PV systems. It has been found that Community Models yield consistently higher capital returns, ranging from 8-39%, (in excess of a purely economic analysis).

Effect of vibratory compaction equipment on cement-mortar lines steel water pipe

Shruti Gupta
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Water Corporation

Vibratory rollers are widely used on construction sites for their efficiency and effectiveness when compacting soil. However, according to Australian Standard AS2566, rollers are prohibited from being used near buried cement-mortar lined (CML) steel water pipes because it is believed that they may cause harm to the lining, when close by. This necessitates the use of non-vibratory compaction methods, increasing construction costs and time. The aim of this project is to study attenuation of vibration through ground due to vibratory rollers and its effect on lining of steel pipes, and determine a particular safe distance in terms of depth of the pipe and proximity of the roller. A field experiment was undertaken in Kwinana to measure the vibration levels on buried lined pipes, with varying pipe embedment depth. Through crack mapping of the lining, it was found that none of the existing cracks grew larger than the allowable crack size of 2mm. Also, on average, the low amplitude setting on the roller reduces the vibration levels by ~31% (compared to high amplitude). According to German Standard, DIN4150: Structural Vibrations, 80mm/s of vibration is permitted on the cement lining and applying this recommendation, a bedding height of 900mm is suggested for the experimental soil quality and roller (at high amplitude). In this project, a model is under development to recommend minimum bedding height for varying roller frequency and amplitude.

Impact of inflow and infiltration on wastewater assets

Nicole Van Rooyen
School of Mechanical & Chemical Engineering
Water Corporation

Inflow and infiltration into the wastewater system results in increased costs to the Water Corporation from the need to handle increased volumes of wastewater. Extra pumping to transport the wastewater and increased volumes requiring treatment lead to increased operating and capital costs. This project was undertaken to investigate where the effects of inflow and infiltration could be occurring within selected areas in the Perth region and to identify possible causes for any observed inflow or infiltration. After completion of this investigation, recommendations for further research into more specific areas regarding inflow and infiltration will be provided to the Water Corporation in the deliverables. Inflow data for the Beenyup and Subiaco Wastewater Treatment Plants have been compared to daily rainfall information collected from the Bureau of Meteorology. The trends observed suggest the possibility of inflow due to high intensity short duration rainfall periods as the inflow data generally responds to the increase in rainfall. Specific sewerage pumping stations within the Beenyup and Subiaco treatment plant catchment areas are under investigation for further information regarding the existence of inflow and infiltration during wet periods. Physical information, such as the age and type of the pipe work and other  infrastructure, the surface geology of the catchment area, and land development density will be considered when compiling the final recommendations for the Water Corporation.

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