Improvement of preventive hearth protection at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of extremely flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive fire protection is of main importance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is planned, contractors usually advocate in depth – and thus expensive – measures. A fire-protection answer developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equal degree of security may also be reached with a far more cost-effective resolution. A central function in damage limitation is played by early fire detection using thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms all through Germany store petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum fuel (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 systems becomes necessary at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures should be taken, not solely by means of precaution but additionally to exclude possible liability dangers. And but not every measure that’s technologically possible can be needed in case of a rehabilitation, as can be seen from the example of a tank farm in Bavaria, Germany.
The tank farm is located at a basin of a river port in Bavaria. The a part of the tank farm in want of rehabilitation covers 24 tanks with a storage volume of between 600 and a couple 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 hearth inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had identified major non-conformities in the fire-extinguishing system. To exchange the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering firm submitted an extensive listing of measures. These measures absolutely happy all regulatory requirements however represented a very cost-intensive resolution, requiring a full rehabilitation using conventional extinguishing techniques. For the tank-farm working firm, 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 knowledge and authorized know-how. In follow this implies harmonising reasonable engineering providers and legal applications to obtain a cohesive, economically feasible and simply carried out fire-protection concept.
Alternative answer developed by TÜV SÜD
At the working 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 agency. Owing to the massive number of deficiencies recognized in the tank farm, the experts first prepared a listing of priorities with the measures essential to fulfil the protection necessities and obtain the safety aims. They arrived at the conclusion that not all of the proposed measures truly wanted to be carried out. Starting from this discovering, they then drew up another fire-protection idea that may 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, 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 one hundred eighty m3 per hour to ensure water provide for fire fighting 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 vitality supplier. The feed-in of emergency power was effected by the native skilled fireplace division.
The engineering firm, in contrast, had planned to switch the entire fire-extinguishing system. They wished to put in three cellular extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container kind for remote controlled 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 systems with the fire-fighting methods within the tank fields. The prices for the three extinguishing-agent distribution methods in container type alone would have added as a lot as round 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fire preventing situation with intact power supply and free entry to the tank farm.
Professional of three packages of measures
The different rehabilitation concept developed by TÜV SÜD, which also met the requirements of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), supplied for 3 essential packages of measures to achieve the protection and safety aims.
First, set up of a fully automatic 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 units. They detect modifications in temperature on the surfaces of the tanks made of various supplies and located within the area monitored by the cameras, before these changes in temperature may cause a fire. As the cameras can transfer, the areas to be monitored may be divided into sectors. The cameras then approach these sectors cyclically in sequence. To defend the cameras towards exterior influences, they are housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). Monitoring focuses totally on the protection gadgets of the tanks, pumps and motors and on the filling systems on the tank-farm premises. The control room on the tank farm and the local skilled fireplace department are notified instantly as soon because the temperature exceeds a sure limit. The measure bundle also consists of remote triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the control centre and automation of the safety devices.
Incipient fire combating scenario with power loss the place 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 solution supplied for alternative of the leaking and corroded pipe sections with new pipes and for installation of three fastened foam-extinguishing techniques in the type of foam screens to struggle incipient fires directly. In addition, a cellular foam monitor was deliberate as a backup.
A third focus area issues safeguarding the power supply required for early fire detection and fire combating. According to the regional power supplier, power outages might have a period of a minimum of half-hour. Given this, the tank-farm needed an unbiased energy supply system that was able to ensure energy supply for at least 2 hours. The specialists relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency power unit to solve this drawback.
Fire safety should ensure achievement of the safety goals
Protection objectives and equal safety degree reached
The fire-protection answer introduced by TÜV SÜD was agreed with each the tank farm’s working firm, the municipal authority and the skilled hearth department. The three measure packages additionally complied with the required protection objectives and the safety levels. And ultimately, they proved far more cost-effective than the solution initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early fire detection along side improved fire-protection infrastructure has become a central part of damage limitation. Since the rehabilitation idea was applied, the tank-farm’s operating company – working with the professional fireplace division – has been able to successfully counteract all attainable eventualities of incipient fire effectively and at an early stage, even in instances of power 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 special type and use (special structures). Their operation entails the dealing with and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and security precautions thus not only fall inside the working company’s accountability however are additionally a matter of public curiosity. Given this, the BayBO stipulates necessities including material necessities which, as “General clauses of fireplace protection”, help to support the protection objectives defined in Article 12. However, according to article 3 (1) deviations from the technical constructing laws are attainable if an alternate solution is discovered that’s equivalent in phrases of fulfilling the overall requirements in paragraph 1. In different phrases, the requirements laid down in the Building Code are deemed complied with if the generally recognised rules of structure and technology are fulfilled.

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