Improvement of preventive fireplace safety at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of extremely flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive hearth safety is of major significance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is deliberate, contractors usually advocate extensive – and thus pricey – measures. A fire-protection resolution developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equal level of security can additionally be reached with a far more cost-effective resolution. A central position in damage limitation is played by early fireplace detection utilizing thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms all through Germany store petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum gasoline (LPG). In contact with air, these extremely flammable substances can type explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require particular measures in the field of preventive fire protection. If rehabilitation of fire-protection systems becomes needed at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures must be taken, not only by the use of precaution but additionally to exclude possible legal responsibility dangers. And yet not each measure that’s technologically possible is also needed in case of a rehabilitation, as can be seen from the instance of a tank farm in Bavaria, Germany.
The tank farm is located at a basin of a river port in Bavaria. The a half of the tank farm in want of rehabilitation covers 24 tanks with a storage volume of between 600 and 2,000 cubic metres. The tank farm is used for intermediate storage of extremely flammable fluids with flame points of < 21 levels Celsius, as outlined within the German hazardous substances legislation. In fireplace inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had identified major non-conformities in the fire-extinguishing system. To replace the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering agency submitted an intensive listing of measures. These measures totally satisfied all regulatory necessities but represented a really cost-intensive answer, requiring a full rehabilitation using traditional extinguishing techniques. For the tank-farm working company, the prices of implementing these measures would have added up to 1.7 million euros.
In hearth safety, the problem lies in connecting well-founded technological information and legal know-how. In apply this means harmonising cheap engineering companies and authorized purposes to acquire a cohesive, economically possible and simply applied fire-protection concept.
Alternative resolution developed by TÜV SÜD
At the working company’s request, TÜV SÜD’s third-party experts validated the individual measures and the cost-effectiveness of the rehabilitation plan submitted by the engineering agency. Owing to the massive variety of deficiencies identified in the tank farm, the specialists first prepared a listing of priorities with the measures essential to fulfil the protection necessities and obtain the safety goals. They arrived on the conclusion that not the entire proposed measures actually wanted to be carried out. Starting from this finding, they then drew up an alternate fire-protection idea that would ultimately scale back the projected prices by one third.
TÜV SÜD’s rehabilitation plan included the fire-protection infrastructure already in place on the tank farm, corresponding to a non-automatic foam extinguishing system with a total foaming-agent provide of 10,500 litres distributed across two tanks, two submerged pumps within the port basin with a pump capability of a hundred and eighty m3 per hour to make sure water supply for fire combating and sprinkling the shells and the roofs of the tanks, guide triggering of the shut-off valves and a transformer station powered by the regional power supplier. The feed-in of emergency energy was effected by the local skilled fire division.
Ensured engineering firm, against this, had planned to switch the entire fire-extinguishing system. They wished to install three cellular extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container kind for remote managed sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This resolution would have required the set up of new electrical, operational and control techniques as well as new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution techniques with the fire-fighting systems in the tank fields. Index for the three extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container type alone would have added as a lot as round 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fireplace combating situation with intact power supply and free access to the tank farm.
Implementation of three packages of measures
The different rehabilitation concept developed by TÜV SÜD, which additionally met the necessities of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), provided for three important packages of measures to achieve the protection and security objectives.
First, installation of a completely automatic infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to make sure early fire detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are put in on pan-tilt units. They detect adjustments in temperature at the surfaces of the tanks made of different materials and situated in the space monitored by the cameras, earlier than these changes in temperature may cause a fire. As the cameras can transfer, the areas to be monitored could be divided into sectors. The cameras then strategy these sectors cyclically in sequence. To shield the cameras towards external influences, they are housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). Monitoring focuses totally on the security gadgets of the tanks, pumps and motors and on the filling techniques on the tank-farm premises. The management room at the tank farm and the local skilled fireplace division are notified immediately as quickly as the temperature exceeds a certain limit. The measure bundle additionally includes remote triggering of the extinguishing-agent provide from the control centre and automation of the protection units.
Incipient fire fighting scenario with energy loss where entry to the tank farm is blocked by a cargo train.
In addition, it covers rehabilitation of the sprinkler and foam-extinguisher system. In this context, TÜV SÜD’s solution supplied for substitute of the leaking and corroded pipe sections with new pipes and for set up of three mounted foam-extinguishing systems in the form of foam displays to struggle incipient fires instantly. In addition, a cell foam monitor was planned as a backup.
A third focus area issues safeguarding the ability provide required for early fire detection and hearth fighting. According to the regional energy supplier, energy outages could have a period of at least 30 minutes. Given this, the tank-farm wanted an unbiased energy supply system that was in a position to ensure power supply for a minimum of 2 hours. The experts relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency energy unit to solve this downside.
Fire safety must guarantee achievement of the protection goals
Protection objectives and equal safety stage reached
The fire-protection answer introduced by TÜV SÜD was agreed with each the tank farm’s working company, the municipal authority and the skilled hearth division. The three measure packages additionally complied with the required protection aims and the safety ranges. And finally, they proved far cheaper than the answer initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early fireplace detection at the facet of improved fire-protection infrastructure has turn out to be a central part of damage limitation. Since the rehabilitation idea was applied, the tank-farm’s working company – working with the professional hearth department – has been in a place to successfully counteract all possible eventualities of incipient fireplace successfully and at an early stage, even in circumstances of energy loss or when entry to the tank farm is blocked (see Figures 2 and 3).
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Classification beneath the Bavarian Building Code (Bayerische Bauordnung, BayBo)
Tank farms are installations of a particular sort and use (special structures). Their operation includes the handling and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and security precautions thus not only fall inside the working company’s responsibility however are also a matter of public interest. Given this, the BayBO stipulates requirements including materials necessities which, as “General clauses of fire protection”, assist to assist the protection objectives defined in Article 12. However, in accordance with article three (1) deviations from the technical constructing rules are possible if an alternate answer is discovered that is equivalent in terms of fulfilling the final necessities in paragraph 1. In different phrases, the requirements laid down within the Building Code are deemed complied with if the generally recognised guidelines of architecture and expertise are fulfilled.

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