Kiasma: Decarbonisation and energy reduction through pipeline efficiency

Finding the balance between protecting coastline structures and conserving the environment is an important task. Nowadays, extreme climate events such as coastal erosion, droughts and flooding are occurring at an increasingly alarming rate worldwide. Also, sediments and floating debris collect on structures during floods, clogging waterways and thus creating dangerous situations.

One of the companies deeply involved in finding solutions and bringing new products for a better marine environment to the dredging and coastal protection markets is Kiasma.

A couple of days ago, Dredging Today took an opportunity to talk about creating sustainable solutions for many of the above mentioned issues with Martina Crotti, Kiasma CEO, and Monica Crotti, Marketing Director Kiasma.

Q: As an introduction for some of our readers who are not familiar with your company’s background, what can you tell us about your business, its beginnings and where Kiasma is today?

Kiasma: Our company, with more than 30 years of experience, operates in ‘capital’ dredging, and ‘maintenance’ for the mining and oil industry.

In the early years, it was formed by supplying pipelines for the transport of both gravity and pressure fluids, maritime and lagoon wastewater treatment plants, serving the local Italian national market in the major infrastructure sector (roads, highways, lagoons and ports).

Rapidly evolving since 2008, introducing thermoplastic polymer products processed in the form of HDPE & MDPE pipelines worldwide, and with the use of technologies inherent to fluodynamics, it has expanded its presence in international geographic areas, achieving a 6% market share position in the dredging industry inherent to excavation and sediment transport lines in 2019, replacing the obsolete steel and rubber pipeline market, which has been present since the early ’60.

Kiasma transformed into E.P.S. (Engineering – Procurement – Service), believing it important to increase its worldwide presence in the supply of high-performance and hightech discharge lines.

Kiasma photo

Researching and testing compounds suitable for transporting geologically diverse sediments, with lines applicable to hopper dredges or CSDs for maintenance, reclamation, etc… up to large sizes (DN1000) and for operating pressures up to 25-30 Bar ( 400 PSI), it is convinced that by 2024 the technology will enable it to achieve a 10-12% global market share with pipelines and monitoring systems for the dredging industry that are capable of aiming at NetZero objectives.

Q: The years 2020, 2021 and 2022 were globally challenging in many respects, how did your company deal with this period?

Kiasma: We have invested and directed all our forces and skills in the constant research and development of state-of-the-art technological solutions.

Values such as environmental, social and economic sustainability have marked the start for Kiasma, since 2018, of a project whose technologies must be compliant with climate, hydrological, geological, energy changes, suitable for the reduction of CO2 and microplastics in the marine environment in line with IPCC and COP27.

Kiasma photo

Q: What is in the works at the moment and what are you and your Kiasma team working on? Do you believe that the dredging industry can make a difference in improving the quality of the environment and what is your opinion on this?

Kiasma: Recognising that traditional HDPE lacks the mechanical properties of abrasion resistance resilience, tearing and pressure, Kiasma thus created composite materials of the dual layer TP-E family, with very high abrasion resistance and very low microplastic fragmentation values, which can decrease their dispersion in the maritime ecosystem.

We have intervened in the change of motion of the mixtures within the pipelines by applying the KFC System, in which the mixture changes from traditional laminar motion to axial and circumferential directional turbulent motion, producing a number of positive factors, first and foremost a decrease in pressure drops and consequently, a lower energy demand with a reduction in fuel costs in the order of 7-10%, but above all a lower release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Kiasma photo

For the continuous monitoring of the passage of the mixtures inside the pipelines, Kiasma with the KPM System – every 250 metres – sends to the dredger, or to the managing authority of the project, parameters such as quantity of the dredged, internal pressure (location of solid plugs and consequent opening of vent valves), constant control of the abrasion, control of the internal and external temperature.

Our KPM system can be compared to the DQM U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), with the difference that our data concerns the behaviour of the discharge lines and not the functionality of the dredge.

Kiasma plans to site test a technology that will reduce internal pipeline friction losses by 20-40%, resulting in further CO2 reduction.

Q: Sustainability comes in many forms and, as a company involved in dredging projects, you have the knowledge, data and expertise to make a difference. What are your priorities when it comes to creating sustainable dredging solutions?

Kiasma: We are surprised that in all these decades, dredging works have been working on the efficiency of the dredger, with technologies concerning the energy optimisation of the engines, without having assessed that the energy of the engines is totally dissipated by friction in the pipelines.

Kiasma is the only company in the world that is taking this on with the noble mission of reducing environmental carbonisation in dredging works, through technology applied to discharge lines.

Defending our planet is a duty to the people, to all the countries of the world, and the lives that inhabit them, both present and future.

We are aware that our sustainability goals, related to dredging and mining operations, must grow by adapting more and more to environmental requirements, in all the projects we undertake.

What we have already introduced to the market tends inextricably towards achieving this goal.

Photo: Kiasma