CenterPoint Energy’s Cool New Machine at Work on Winnetka Avenue Pipeline Project
CenterPoint Energy is replacing more than 60 miles of pipeline that’s at the end of its life. They are working on Winnetka Avenue this summer and using a new machine that’s better for the environment and safer too.
“What’s going on on Winnetka Avenue this summer is we are replacing old large diameter pipeline. They date to the 1950’s, and we’re replacing it with new modern materials. This is part of our metro Belt Line project that’s been going on for several years. We’ve been replacing more than 60 miles of large diameter, high pressure pipeline that’s really reached the end of its life,” said Ross Corson, Senior Communications Specialist for CenterPoint Energy.
This pipeline project has been going on for about 8 years. But new this year, CenterPoint Energy has deployed two new machines that help them do the process a lot safer.
The ZEVAC is an acronym for zero emissions vacuum and compressor.
Before working on the pipeline, the gas is turned off at a valve upstream.
“What we are doing is isolating a section of pipeline. We still have that gas that is in that isolated section,” said Brad Steber, Technical Field Operations Manager for CenterPoint Energy.
The ZEVAC solves that problem.
“We are able to hook up to these units and literally pull that gas out and push it to the place we need it to go,” said Steber.
The ZEVAC machines are beneficial in two ways.
“Historically, when we would have that isolated section we would lower that pressure to whatever we could get it to. There’s always been that little pocket of gas that we had no way of getting rid of. We would vent that, naturally, through the atmosphere,” said Steber. “This equipment allows us to safely pull that gas and keep it in the system.”
CenterPointe Energy now has two ZEVAC units at work around the metro. Think of a giant vacuum cleaner, or bicycle pump sucking gas out of one section and blowing it, around a valve, into another.
“Very minimal emissions. We were very concerned about the greenhouse gas emissions that were previously being released. We’re able to keep that in the ground. Keep it in the system and push it up to peoples houses,” said Steber.
The project on Winnetka Avenue should be finished by this fall.