PEER Awarded $4.9 million to Develop Seismic Risk Assessment Tool for Natural Gas Storage and Transmission Systems

May 17, 2019

The California Energy Commission awarded a $4.9 million grant to PEER on May 15 to improve the seismic risk assessment of natural gas storage and pipeline infrastructure.

During the 2.5-year project, PEER will develop open-source software to better assess risks to natural gas storage and pipeline systems from seismic activity. The tool will improve the safety and integrity of natural gas storage, piping, and infrastructure systems by helping regulators and owners direct seismic mitigation efforts to the most vulnerable components.

“In the event of an earthquake, natural gas pipeline and storage facilities could experience significant damage,” said Professor Jonathan Bray, principal investigator of the project.  “It is not hard to imagine the impact that damage of our natural gas system could have on everything from response to recovery efforts.”

The tool will be developed by researchers and experts from UC BerkeleyLawrence Berkeley National LaboratorySlate Geotechnical ConsultantsUC San Diego, and the University of Nevada, Reno, with support from the NHERI Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (SimCenter).  Cooperating utilities are Southern California Gas Company and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

“This collaborative project combines researchers from three PEER core institutions, a National Lab, industry member, and the NHERI SimCenter,” said Professor Khalid Mosalam, Director of PEER.  “Through PEER’s use of the new open-source software, we expect this innovative project to have long lasting impact on the state of practice. PEER is excited to be providing support to this project at many levels including experiments, software maintenance, and outreach activities.”

Research Team:

Principal Investigator (PI): Jonathan D. Bray, UC Berkeley

Project Manager: Jennie Watson-Lamprey, Slate Geotechnical Consultants

Team: Norm Abrahamson, UC Berkeley; Jens Birkholzer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; John Diehl, GEOVision; John Eidinger, G&E Engineering Systems; Tara Hutchinson, UC San Diego; Grace Kang, PEER; Amarnath Kasalanati, PEER; Scott Lindvall, Lettis Consultants International; David McCallen, University of Nevada Reno; Thomas O'Rourke; Floriana Petrone, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Jonny Rutqvist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Kenichi Soga, UC Berkeley; Stephen Thompson, Lettis Consultants International; and Jeff Unruh, Lettis Consultants International.