Improvement of preventive fire protection at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of extremely flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive fireplace safety is of main significance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is planned, contractors typically advocate intensive – and thus pricey – measures. A fire-protection solution developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equal level of security may additionally be reached with a far more cost-effective solution. A central function in injury limitation is performed by early hearth 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 form explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require special measures in the field of preventive hearth safety. If rehabilitation of fire-protection systems becomes essential at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures ought to be taken, not solely by the use of precaution but in addition to exclude attainable liability risks. And yet not every measure that’s technologically possible is also necessary in case of a rehabilitation, as can 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 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 extremely flammable fluids with flame points of < 21 levels Celsius, as outlined within the German hazardous substances laws. In fire inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had recognized main non-conformities in the fire-extinguishing system. To replace the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering firm submitted an intensive record of measures. These measures totally glad all regulatory requirements but represented a really cost-intensive answer, requiring a full rehabilitation using conventional extinguishing techniques. For the tank-farm operating company, the costs of implementing these measures would have added as much as 1.7 million euros.
In hearth protection, the challenge lies in connecting well-founded technological data and legal know-how. In apply this means harmonising affordable engineering providers and authorized functions to obtain a cohesive, economically possible and easily implemented fire-protection idea.
Alternative answer developed by TÜV SÜD

At the operating company’s request, TÜV SÜD’s third-party consultants validated the person measures and the cost-effectiveness of the rehabilitation plan submitted by the engineering firm. Owing to the massive number of deficiencies identified in the tank farm, the specialists first ready a listing of priorities with the measures essential to fulfil the safety necessities and achieve the safety aims. They arrived at the conclusion that not the entire proposed measures really needed to be carried out. Starting from this discovering, they then drew up an alternative fire-protection concept that may finally cut back the projected prices by one third.
TÜV SÜD’s rehabilitation plan included the fire-protection infrastructure already in place at the tank farm, corresponding to a non-automatic foam extinguishing system with a complete foaming-agent provide of 10,500 litres distributed throughout two tanks, two submerged pumps in the port basin with a pump capacity of a hundred and eighty m3 per hour to ensure water supply for fireplace combating 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 energy was effected by the local professional hearth department.
The engineering agency, in contrast, had planned to exchange the entire fire-extinguishing system. They wished to put in three cell extinguishing-agent distribution methods in container type for distant managed sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This solution would have required the set up of new electrical, operational and management systems in addition to new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution techniques with the fire-fighting systems in the tank fields. The prices for the three extinguishing-agent distribution techniques in container form alone would have added up to around 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fire preventing situation with intact power supply and free access to the tank farm.
Implementation of three packages of measures

The various rehabilitation idea developed by TÜV SÜD, which also met the necessities of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), provided for 3 important packages of measures to achieve the protection and safety goals.
First, installation of a fully computerized infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to make sure early hearth detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are put in on pan-tilt models. They detect changes in temperature on the surfaces of the tanks made of different supplies and positioned within the area monitored by the cameras, earlier than these adjustments in temperature may cause a hearth. As the cameras can move, the areas to be monitored can be divided into sectors. pressure gauge octa in sequence. To protect 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 systems on the tank-farm premises. The control room at the tank farm and the local skilled fireplace division are notified instantly as quickly as the temperature exceeds a sure limit. The measure package also consists of distant triggering of the extinguishing-agent provide from the management 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 prepare.
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 mounted foam-extinguishing techniques within the type of foam screens to struggle incipient fires directly. In addition, a cellular foam monitor was planned as a backup.
A third focus area issues safeguarding the facility provide required for early fire detection and hearth combating. According to the regional energy provider, energy outages may have a length of at least 30 minutes. Given this, the tank-farm wanted an independent energy supply system that was able to make sure power supply for at least 2 hours. The experts relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency energy unit to resolve this problem.
Fire safety should ensure achievement of the safety aims

Protection aims and equal safety stage reached

The fire-protection answer presented by TÜV SÜD was agreed with both the tank farm’s operating firm, the municipal authority and the skilled hearth department. The three measure packages also complied with the required safety aims and the protection ranges. And in the end, they proved far less expensive than the solution initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early fireplace detection in conjunction with improved fire-protection infrastructure has turn into a central part of damage limitation. Since the rehabilitation concept was carried out, the tank-farm’s working firm – working with the professional fire division – has been able to effectively counteract all potential eventualities of incipient hearth successfully and at an early stage, even in instances of energy loss or when access 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 type and use (special structures). Their operation includes the dealing with and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and security precautions thus not only fall within the operating company’s accountability but are additionally a matter of public interest. Given this, the BayBO stipulates necessities including materials requirements which, as “General clauses of fire protection”, help to support the safety aims defined in Article 12. However, according to article three (1) deviations from the technical building rules are potential if another answer is discovered that’s equal by method of fulfilling the overall requirements in paragraph 1. In different words, the requirements laid down within the Building Code are deemed complied with if the generally recognised guidelines of structure and know-how are fulfilled.

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