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 protection is of major importance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is deliberate, contractors often recommend intensive – and thus costly – measures. A fire-protection resolution developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equivalent level of safety can additionally be reached with a a lot more cost-effective resolution. A central role in harm limitation is played by early fire detection using thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms throughout 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 within the area of preventive fire protection. If rehabilitation of fire-protection methods turns into needed at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures should be taken, not solely by the use of precaution but also to exclude attainable liability dangers. And but not each measure that’s technologically possible can also be necessary in case of a rehabilitation, as may be seen from the example 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 volume of between 600 and a pair of,000 cubic metres. The tank farm is used for intermediate storage of highly flammable fluids with flame points of < 21 degrees Celsius, as outlined in the German hazardous substances laws. In hearth inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had identified main non-conformities in the fire-extinguishing system. To exchange the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering agency submitted an extensive listing of measures. These measures absolutely satisfied all regulatory requirements but represented a very cost-intensive answer, requiring a full rehabilitation utilizing conventional extinguishing methods. For the tank-farm operating firm, the prices of implementing these measures would have added as much as 1.7 million euros.
In hearth safety, the challenge lies in connecting well-founded technological knowledge and authorized know-how. In follow this means harmonising affordable engineering companies and legal purposes to obtain a cohesive, economically feasible and easily implemented fire-protection idea.
Alternative resolution developed by TÜV SÜD
At the operating company’s request, TÜV SÜD’s third-party specialists validated the person measures and the cost-effectiveness of the rehabilitation plan submitted by the engineering firm. Owing to the massive variety of deficiencies recognized within the tank farm, the experts first prepared a list of priorities with the measures essential to fulfil the protection necessities and achieve the safety aims. They arrived on the conclusion that not all the proposed measures truly needed to be carried out. Starting from this finding, they then drew up an alternate fire-protection concept that would in the end cut back the projected costs by one third.
TÜV SÜD’s rehabilitation plan included the fire-protection infrastructure already in place on the tank farm, such as a non-automatic foam extinguishing system with a total foaming-agent provide of 10,500 litres distributed across two tanks, two submerged pumps in the port basin with a pump capacity of a hundred and eighty m3 per hour to ensure water provide 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 fire department.
The engineering firm, against this, had deliberate to switch the whole fire-extinguishing system. Piece of cake wanted to put in three cellular extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container type for distant controlled sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This solution would have required the set up of recent electrical, operational and control methods as nicely as new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution methods with the fire-fighting techniques within the tank fields. The prices for the three extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container form alone would have added as a lot as around 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fire preventing situation with intact energy 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 requirements of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), offered for three important packages of measures to realize the protection and safety objectives.
First, installation of a fully automated infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to ensure early hearth detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are installed on pan-tilt models. They detect changes in temperature on the surfaces of the tanks made of different supplies and situated within the space monitored by the cameras, earlier than these adjustments in temperature may cause a hearth. As the cameras can transfer, the areas to be monitored may be divided into sectors. The cameras then strategy these sectors cyclically in sequence. To protect the cameras against exterior influences, they are housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). Monitoring focuses primarily on the security gadgets 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 professional hearth department are notified instantly as quickly because the temperature exceeds a certain restrict. The measure package additionally consists of remote triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the control centre and automation of the security devices.
Incipient fire combating state of affairs with power loss where access 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 answer offered for substitute 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 immediately. In addition, a mobile foam monitor was planned as a backup.
A third focus space issues safeguarding the ability provide required for early hearth detection and hearth combating. According to the regional vitality provider, energy outages may have a length of no much less than half-hour. Given this, the tank-farm wanted an unbiased energy supply system that was ready to make sure energy supply for at least 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 objectives
Protection objectives and equivalent safety degree reached
The fire-protection resolution introduced by TÜV SÜD was agreed with each the tank farm’s operating company, the municipal authority and the skilled fire division. The three measure packages also complied with the required safety objectives and the protection levels. And ultimately, they proved far less expensive than the solution initially proposed. Since Unlock of the tank farm, early fireplace detection at the aspect of improved fire-protection infrastructure has turn out to be a central part of injury limitation. Since the rehabilitation idea was applied, the tank-farm’s working firm – working with the professional fire division – has been in a position to effectively counteract all possible scenarios of incipient fireplace effectively and at an early stage, even in cases of power loss or when entry to the tank farm is blocked (see Figures 2 and 3).
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Classification under the Bavarian Building Code (Bayerische Bauordnung, BayBo)
Tank farms are installations of a special sort and use (special structures). Their operation includes the handling and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and safety precautions thus not solely fall within the working company’s responsibility but are additionally a matter of public curiosity. Given this, the BayBO stipulates requirements together with materials necessities which, as “General clauses of fire protection”, assist to assist the protection objectives defined in Article 12. However, according to article 3 (1) deviations from the technical building regulations are possible if an alternate solution is discovered that’s equivalent by method of fulfilling the final necessities in paragraph 1. In different words, the requirements laid down within the Building Code are deemed complied with if the generally recognised rules of architecture and technology are fulfilled.

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