Oregon State University

To develop and deploy novel sensor technologies for improved Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fire resilience

  • Amount $1,486,403
  • City Corvallis, OR
  • Investigator Erica Fischer
  • Year 2019
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

This project tackles a particularly pressing challenge with respect to sensor development and deployment: the ability to quickly identify damage to energy infrastructure and water pipelines following wildfires and other natural disasters. Wildfires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters have the potential to damage, degrade, or destroy wires, pipelines, and other vital parts of AmericaХs energy and water infrastructure. Yet public and private utilities have very limited ability to detect when and where such damage has occurred. This grant funds a project led by Erica Fisher of Oregon State University to develop, construct, and test new sensor technology that could be used to detect environmental damage to energy and water infrastructure. Over the next three years, Fischer and her team aim to develop low-cost, low-powered sensors capable of withstanding the high temperatures common in wildfires. The team plans to test these sensors in the laboratory on a number of representative materials used in energy and water pipeline infrastructure and in simulated real-world conditions in a buried pipeline network located on the Oregon State campus. They will also conduct two case studies in locations that recently experienced devastating fires (Santa Rosa and Paradise, California) that will allow them to test and integrate data across multiple scalesСremote sensing data, in situКsensor data, and crowdsourced social media informationСto develop a tool that stakeholders can use to better monitor potential pipeline damage more quickly and efficiently.

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