Improvement of preventive hearth safety at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of extremely flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive hearth protection is of main significance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is planned, contractors usually suggest in depth – and thus costly – measures. A fire-protection resolution developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equivalent degree of safety can be reached with a much more cost-effective resolution. A central role in injury limitation is played by early fireplace detection utilizing thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms all through Germany retailer petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In contact with air, these extremely flammable substances can type explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require special measures within the area of preventive fire protection. If rehabilitation of fire-protection methods becomes needed at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures ought to be taken, not only by the use of precaution but in addition to exclude possible legal responsibility dangers. And yet not every measure that’s technologically possible can be needed in case of a rehabilitation, as could be seen from the instance of a tank farm in Bavaria, Germany.
The tank farm is positioned at a basin of a river port in Bavaria. The a part of the tank farm in need of rehabilitation covers 24 tanks with a storage quantity of between 600 and a pair of,000 cubic metres. The tank farm is used for intermediate storage of highly flammable fluids with flame factors of < 21 levels Celsius, as outlined in the German hazardous substances laws. In hearth inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had identified major non-conformities in the fire-extinguishing system. To substitute the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering firm submitted an extensive record of measures. These measures fully satisfied all regulatory necessities but represented a really cost-intensive answer, requiring a full rehabilitation utilizing traditional extinguishing methods. For the tank-farm operating company, the costs of implementing these measures would have added up to 1.7 million euros.
In fireplace safety, the problem lies in connecting well-founded technological information and legal know-how. In apply this means harmonising cheap engineering companies and authorized functions to obtain 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 firm. Owing to the big variety of deficiencies recognized within the tank farm, the consultants first prepared a listing of priorities with the measures essential to fulfil the security requirements and achieve the protection objectives. They arrived on the conclusion that not the entire proposed measures truly needed to be applied. Starting from this discovering, they then drew up another fire-protection idea that would ultimately scale back the projected costs 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 complete foaming-agent supply of 10,500 litres distributed throughout two tanks, two submerged pumps within the port basin with a pump capacity of one hundred eighty m3 per hour to ensure water provide for hearth preventing and sprinkling the shells and the roofs of the tanks, manual triggering of the shut-off valves and a transformer station powered by the regional energy provider. The feed-in of emergency power was effected by the local professional hearth division.
The engineering agency, by contrast, had deliberate to exchange the entire fire-extinguishing system. They wished to put in three mobile extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container type for distant controlled sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This resolution would have required the installation of new electrical, operational and control systems as well as new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution systems with the fire-fighting systems in the tank fields. The costs for the three extinguishing-agent distribution techniques in container type alone would have added up to round 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fire combating state of affairs with intact energy supply and free access to the tank farm.
Implementation of three packages of measures
The different rehabilitation concept developed by TÜV SÜD, which also met the necessities of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), provided for 3 essential packages of measures to attain the protection and security aims.
First, installation of a fully automatic infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to ensure early hearth detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are installed on pan-tilt units. They detect changes in temperature at the surfaces of the tanks made of various supplies and positioned within the area monitored by the cameras, earlier than these modifications in temperature can cause a fireplace. As Mere can transfer, the areas to be monitored could be divided into sectors. The cameras then method these sectors cyclically in sequence. To protect the cameras towards exterior influences, they are housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). Monitoring focuses primarily on the security devices of the tanks, pumps and motors and on the filling methods on the tank-farm premises. The control room on the tank farm and the local skilled fire department are notified instantly as soon as the temperature exceeds a sure limit. The measure bundle additionally contains distant triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the management centre and automation of the protection devices.
Incipient hearth preventing scenario with energy loss the place entry to the tank farm is blocked by a cargo practice.
In addition, it covers rehabilitation of the sprinkler and foam-extinguisher system. In this context, TÜV SÜD’s resolution provided for replacement of the leaking and corroded pipe sections with new pipes and for set up of three fastened foam-extinguishing techniques in the type of foam monitors to fight incipient fires immediately. In addition, a cellular foam monitor was deliberate as a backup.
A third focus area considerations safeguarding the power provide required for early fire detection and fire fighting. According to the regional power provider, energy outages might have a period of at least 30 minutes. Given this, the tank-farm wanted an unbiased energy provide system that was able to make sure power supply for a minimal of 2 hours. The experts relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency power unit to unravel this problem.
Fire safety must ensure achievement of the protection aims
Protection objectives and equal safety stage reached
The fire-protection resolution presented by TÜV SÜD was agreed with both the tank farm’s working firm, the municipal authority and the professional hearth division. The three measure packages also complied with the required protection objectives and the protection levels. And ultimately, they proved far less expensive than the answer initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early hearth detection at the aspect of improved fire-protection infrastructure has become a central part of damage limitation. Since the rehabilitation concept was implemented, the tank-farm’s working firm – working with the professional fireplace division – has been able to successfully counteract all potential eventualities of incipient fire successfully and at an early stage, even in cases of energy loss or when access to the tank farm is blocked (see Figures 2 and 3).
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Classification underneath the Bavarian Building Code (Bayerische Bauordnung, BayBo)
Tank farms are installations of a special sort and use (special structures). Their operation entails the handling and storing of extremely explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and safety precautions thus not solely fall within the working company’s responsibility but are also a matter of public interest. Given this, the BayBO stipulates requirements together with material requirements which, as “General clauses of fireside protection”, help to assist the safety objectives defined in Article 12. However, according to article 3 (1) deviations from the technical building rules are potential if an alternative answer is discovered that’s equal in terms of fulfilling the final requirements in paragraph 1. In different words, the necessities laid down in the Building Code are deemed complied with if the widely recognised rules of structure and technology are fulfilled.

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