Published 7th June 2023

The award was made for our dedicated teamwork inventing, designing, patenting and bringing to market APIApipe™, a unique ‘pipe in a pipe’, fully bunded pipework system that eradicates fire and environmental risks associated with pumping fuel in sensitive, live situations.

How it all started

The catalyst for the company’s development of the APIApipe™ system was an approach in 2015 to quote for a fuel pipework system at a site opposite St Paul’s Cathedral run by one of the UK’s largest banks. It was needed to feed a standby generator. Due to the fire and environmental risks associated with pumping fuel the project consultant requested steel pipe in pipe (bunded pipe) for the installation.

The only option available at the time was onsite fabrication (hot welding). The pipe had to take fuel up 11 floors. Hot works meant the existing system would have to be drained of all fuel, de-gassed, temporary tanks installed and all works done out of hours due to the noise and fume disruption.

Developing an alternative approach

Our Technical team knew that a cold compression system had been available for single skin pipework for a number of years. This system works by crimping the joints together using powerful hand tools to form a seal, as opposed to hot welding them together.

We approached the manufacturers and, with some technical guidance from them, significant technical issues were eventually overcome. We were helped considerably by the fact that the pipe we chose as a base product has a global business.

The APIApipe™ system was developed so that the majority of an installation could be done with standard, off the shelf, items but the terminations, T’s and elbows were made by us. The manufacturers of the pipe endorsed the solution that we proposed and our first installation of APIApipe™ went ahead at the St. Paul’s site.

The Initial estimates for the hot welded option at the client site were £600,000. We actually completed the work for a fraction of that estimate at just £80,000. We recognised the potential for this solution and started the process of trademarking the product.

APIApipe™ was used to complete the full install. No hot works were necessary and all pipework was then on 24/7 leak detection which would immediately notify the client if there were a leak on the inner or outer pipe through their BMS system

To complement the APIApipe™ system we later developed bottom outlet, tank isolation valves that are fully bunded.  This means that the whole system can be bunded and put on 24/7 leak detection.

The crimp system is simple to modify allowing for future expansion. At a fraction of the cost of traditional welded steel the cost savings are there to be seen, the potential hazard of hot works is completely eradicated and fire risk is removed by the exclusion of plastic pipe.

APIApipe installation

APIApipe™ for full reliability and assurance

This ‘fit and forget’ pipework system ensures 100% uptime and is typically only 40% of the cost of traditional welded pipework due to the simple assembly system. With no hot works involved, special measures (that would potentially be needed during installation) are completely avoided. The corrosion-proof stainless-steel pipework requires no additional surface protection which reduces costs further.

  • Unique patented engineering solution that keeps sites supplied with fuel in emergencies.
  • An exciting new innovation using Geberit Mapress Pipe
  • Bunded (Pipe in Pipe) 316 Stainless Steel pipework
  • Bunded quarter turn isolation valve
  • 10 year warranty includes on-site fixes from FSS proficient maintenance teams
  • Capable of being under 24/7 leak detection for both inner and outer pipes
  • Leak detection connects to BMS to alert instantly, can shut down the line in the event of a leak so only the lines contents are lost
  • Approved for use with over 3,000 liquids and gases
  • Designed for Critical Sites & applications that cannot have a line fail
  • No hot works during fast installation

APIApipe logo

Researching the potential market for APIApipe™

 An integral part of our development process was to ensure that we were fully aware of the market opportunities in the UK. Any business that stores or uses fuels, liquids or gases and needs them to be transported through a pipeline, is a potential customer; as well as those using products that cannot be allowed to escape into the environment or where the supply is critical and cannot fail.

The fuel market in the UK for road bound vehicles will gradually reduce to meet environmental targets but emergency back up power will be needed for years to come. Year on year standby generator sales have seen an increase for the last five years across all power bands. With The National Grid running at almost near capacity reliable fuel stores will become ever more important. STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve) sites are being constructed across the UK. These are quite simply a field full of diesel generators that will kick in and put power into the grid when brownouts (when electricity supply can’t cope with demand) and blackouts (when grid fails) occur. Our APIApipe™ system is ideal for these unmanned remote installations.

APIApipe™ and storage tank installation

 APIApipe™ is recognised with The Kings’s Award for Enterprise – Innovation

Taking the decision to enter, what were then, The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, we knew that a huge amount of effort and time would be needed to present our case. We committed to this with many man hours dedicated to the Award.

As a small specialist engineering company the development of APIApipe™, at times, strained our resources. There were constant design challenges during the development and early installation of the pipework. However, our size offers us a flexibility that a new fitting or solution to a problem can be designed and fabricated in shorter time scales time. The test rigs at our HQ allow us to pressure test new fittings and ensure that they will remain tight and leak free even under the harshest conditions.

Our confidence in the APIApipe™ has paid off now that we have been recognised with the King’s Award for Enterprise – Innovation.

Fuel Storage Solutions Managing Director Jonathan Barnett said: “We’re delighted to be honoured with this award. It’s a tremendous achievement for our team, who’ve worked tirelessly to make APIApipe™ successful. APIApipe™ is the safest, most robust, and cost-effective system available on today’s market, being suitable for use by any business that stores fuels, liquids or gases that are transported through pipework. We’re proud to put Bradford on the map for innovation excellence.”

APIApipe during installation

Could you benefit from APIApipe™?

Since its design and development we have installed over 50K metres of APIApipe™ for 30 different clients across a range of businesses and industries:

  • Facilities Management companies
  • All High Street Banks Data Centres bar one
  • Private & NHS Hospitals
  • Centrica
  • Telecommunications Data Storage Centres
  • Unmanned remote installations

APIApipe™ feeding from pumps

APIApipe™ is approved for use by Government agencies and Consultant Engineers are increasingly specifying APIApipe™ for new installations after reviewing all products available in the market.

Want to know more? Fuel Storage Solution’s Vince McCarry, Operations Director, is the expert. Call him on 01274 813 003.

Read more here

APIApipe installation 2Bunded Isolation Valve