New and Innovative 3D Mapping Technology to Enable Rehabilitation of Natural Gas Pipe Infrastructure

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Newton, Massachusetts
Project Term:
12/15/2020 - 12/14/2023

Critical Need:

Legacy pipe malfunctions create operating risk and legal liability for utilities, negatively impact system owners’ financial performance, and are costly to gas consumers. Today, repairing legacy pipes involves excavating and replacing them, typically with high-density polyethylene pipe. Replacement costs range from $1-10 million per mile, depending on the pipe’s location (rural vs. urban), complexity of the excavation, and costs for restoring roads. Utilities also incur costs whenever gas service is disrupted for repairs. REPAIR seeks to eliminate the highest cost components, excavation and restoration, by rehabilitating pipes without their removal—in essence, by automatically constructing a new pipe within the old.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The team led by White River Technologies will deliver an improved capability to reliably detect, locate, and position natural gas distribution mains and associated utilities in pipe corridors. The proposed solution connects elements of positioning and information management and (1) advances core electromagnetic (EM) and data management technologies, (2) establishes a physics-based process for large standoff EM for pipe detection and robot location, and (3) employs mixed-reality visualization. Additionally, the project includes a comprehensive, inclusive, and robust REPAIR data management and visualization system to provide an integrated and interactive data delivery system.

Potential Impact:

REPAIR seeks to eliminate the highest pipe rehabilitation cost components, excavation and restoration, by repairing pipes without their removal.


REPAIR projects should improve the sustainability of domestic natural gas distribution by economically rehabilitating legacy pipes.


REPAIR will produce 3D maps and data management/visualization tools that integrate geospatial data for leak testing, integrity/inspection data, coating deposition data, and locations of pipes and adjacent underground infrastructure.


REPAIR program innovations will accelerate legacy pipeline replacement while reducing cost to utilities and gas customers.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Jack Lewnard
Project Contact:
Dr. Gregory Schultz
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Dartmouth College
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory

Related Projects

Release Date: