MISTRAS Group: technology-focussed asset protection
MISTRAS Group has grown to become the go-to company for asset protection solutions, having developed industry-leading technology, solutions and skills that have been deployed across a number of key projects around the world. Supply Chain Digital speaks to Phil Cole, International Vice President about how the company can provide the assurance to clients from a range of sectors that their assets are safe, productive and compliant.
MISTRAS Group’s main offerings are heavily technology-focused, and enable a degree of asset protection that is not only world-leading and proactive, but is also adaptable to meet a diverse range of client needs including those coming from industrial sectors, energy companies, and those in charge of infrastructure assets.
Using acoustic emission, vibration analysis, advanced ultrasonics, and a portfolio of unique conventional and advanced NDT products and services, the company monitors mechanical integrity and can deliver both destructive and non-destructive testing. It can achieve all this while supplying customers customised wireless data analytics.
Phil Cole says: “We routinely inspect oil and gas Assets and civil structures such as bridges. Many of today’s offshore platforms that are operated in the UKCS are at their stage in life where life extension programmes are required and the skills and expertise of Mistras to perform RBI and NII is key to the success of these programmes to ensure operational and structural integrity safety.
“We are market leaders in technological advances in NDT with specialist systems for the inspection of areas of known concern in today’s environment such as CUI, trunnions, pipe supports, vessel saddles, and valves. Utilising technologies normally regarded as difficult to access or to interpret results from with our highly skilled personnel places Mistras in the position of being able to offer solutions which many others can’t.”
All told, MISTRAS Group is present in 100 locations across the globe giving it coverage of the UK, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Its ability to adapt to the nuanced requirements of the industries in providing its services is impressive, whether this be oil and gas, nuclear, petrochemical maritime, paper manufacturing, automotive, or buildings.
Renewables Manager Nicola Mcglynn says: “MISTRAS Renewables Services offer a full and complete suite of inspection, repair and monitoring services. These range from structural monitoring of composite blades where our expertise was born from our extensive experience in the aerospace sector, condition monitoring of Nacelle and Monopile structures, to visual, photographic and video.
“Our experienced Renewables Team have worked alongside the world’s largest energy providers on some of the world’s largest projects such as the London Array, Gwynt y Mor, Whitelee, West of Duddon Sands, and Riffgrund.”
Cole adds: “Renewables is a great new area because people come to us with their problems, and we have provided solutions for them. For example, in the last couple of years we have invested heavily in advanced technologies, much of which is developed and manufactured in-house in our extensive R&D facility. We have also invested in excess of £1 million in our bespoke rope access training facilities ensuring that we have the capability and capacity to continue developing our skill set to service this growing area.”
The work that MISTRAS Group undertakes necessitates a well-educated, thoroughly trained workforce with industry-specific skillsets. With around 7,000 global employees on its books (1,500 of which are based in Europe) the resources and time that the company dedicates to training and employee development cannot be overstated.
Phil Cole highlights that investing in talent development does a lot more than simply ensuring a skilled workforce: “On some offshore projects, our employees might have had £20,000 to £30,000 spent on training in the previous 12 months to get them to the level at which they are required to operate.
“Most of the people who work for MISTRAS are very long term employees. We don't tend to have a high staff turnover in fact it is well below the industry norms. I've been here since 1979 and, similarly, there’s a large number of people who have been here for 20 plus years.”
The company has solidly invested in both practical and theoretical training. Its rope access capabilities are supported by a dedicated training centre certified by the Global Wind Organisation; MISTRAS Group also utilises a variety of online materials for both training testing purposes in line with its global presence.
“Within the Oil & Gas services division we believe strongly in training for in-service Inspection and regular trade testing to ensure that not only are the technicians formally certified but that they are also competent for the tasks that they will be undertaking,” adds Cole.
Cole is keen to stress that the technology-intensive solutions MISTRAS Group offers can save clients millions. He says: “If you look at the history of failures in process equipment, whether it’s power or oil and gas, there are far fewer catastrophic accidents today as a result of a more proactive approach to monitoring, inspection, and maintenance.
“Go back 20-30 years and it was not uncommon for boilers to blow up; that never happens now because you will know when you have a leak early enough to take action. It's the same if you're doing structural monitoring - the advanced notice allows you to plan what you do and to mitigate the occurrence of further damage.”
As a services-based company, Phil says, MISTRAS Group spares no expense when acquiring the latest technology in order to meet and exceed the evolving demands of the market but “if it doesn't exist but we know what's required” then the company’s engineers have the expertise and creativity to develop bespoke technological solutions.
He adds: “If you can perform an operation non-invasively using automation that of course saves countless millions for the client. On the Gabbard wind farm we ran substantial tests and trials on five turbines in the first year as a sort of trial demonstration, to make sure the technology was working properly. We then made the necessary changes and expanded it to close to half of the current wind farm in the following years.”
Having accrued nearly 40 years of experience, MISTRAS Group has grown to become a world leader in technology-driven asset protection solutions. The company’s expansion into the renewable energy sector – particularly offshore wind – has enabled it to weather the fluctuating oil price while strengthening its skills base and business offering.
Read the January 2017 issue of Energy Digital magazine
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere