Case Study

Inline Inspection Tool Successfully Identifies Leaks On Vacuum-Insulated Hot Water Pipeline

Wroclaw Poland_web size.jpg

Fortum’s core business in Poland is high-efficiency combined heat and power production and heat distribution. The company aims to develop sustainable solutions for cleaner cities, meeting the needs of local communities.

District heating pipelines make sense from an environmental perspective. Throughout Europe, many municipalities operate closed-loop systems of vacuum-insulated pipelines that circulate hot water for heating businesses, homes, roads, sidewalks, and more. A central heat source, commonly a power plant, heats the water. Insulated supply pipelines transport this outbound hot water to customers. Without water ever leaving the system, inbound cool water is recirculated through a return line. This efficient method of heating structures boasts a 98 percent heat retention rate during transmission.

Fortum wanted to understand the true condition of a suspect section of its district heating pipeline in Wroclaw, a historic city of 630,000. District heating pipelines typically consist of an outer jacket pipe, a heat insulation layer, and an inner pipe. Fortum suspected a section of its return pipeline had a leak, as water was observed in the annular space between the jacket and the inner pipe.

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