CEC awards $3 million to integrate advanced technologies for enhanced risk assessment

A UC Berkeley engineering research team, led by Professor Kenichi Soga, was recently granted
$3 million by the California Energy Commission to enhance the seismic risk assessment of
natural gas storage and pipeline infrastructure. Over a 3 year period, the team will employ a
novel blend of remote and embedded sensing technology alongside advanced data
management and analysis techniques for continuous monitoring of gas infrastructure. These
methods will be integrated into OpenSRA, an open-source software tool designed for monitoring
and risk assessment, enabling predictive modeling and data analytics even in uncertain
conditions. Effective utilization of this tool is expected to enhance the safety and resilience of
natural gas storage, piping, and infrastructure systems by enabling regulators and owners to
focus seismic mitigation efforts on the most vulnerable components.

“The project aims to showcase the practical utility of sensing and monitoring technologies,
especially when combined with the open-source seismic risk assessment software tool,”
explained Kenichi Soga. “By leveraging cutting-edge sensing and monitoring capabilities with
digital twin analyses, this integrated approach will empower utility owners with an enhanced
means to assess risks to their systems.”

The work will be conducted by researchers and experts from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Slate Geotechnical Consultants, and the NHERI Computational Modeling and Simulation Center (SimCenter). Cooperating utilities are Southern California Gas Company
and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Support is provided by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER).

Research Team
Principal Investigator (PI): Kenichi Soga, UC Berkeley.
Project Manager: Jennie Watson-Lamprey, Slate Geotechnical Consultants.
Team: Jonathan Bray, UC Berkeley; Dimitrios Zekkos, UC Berkeley; Matt DeJong, UC Berkeley;
Roland Bürgmann, UC Berkeley; Micaela Largent, Slate Geotechnical Consultants; Linqing Luo,
LBNL; Grace Kang, SimCenter; Frank McKenna, SimCenter; Thomas O’Rourke; Yuxin Wu,
LBNL; Barry Zheng, Slate Geotechnical Consultants.


Distributed fiber optic sensor installation on a new pipeline (Photo credit: Tianchen Xu / UC Berkeley)


Media Contacts:
Professor Kenichi Soga, soga@berkeley.edu
Grace Kang, g.kang@berkeley.edu