Improvement of preventive hearth safety at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of highly flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive fire protection is of main importance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is planned, contractors usually suggest in depth – and thus costly – measures. A fire-protection answer developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equal stage of safety may additionally be reached with a much more cost-effective answer. A central position in damage limitation is performed by early hearth detection using thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms all through Germany retailer petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In contact with air, these highly flammable substances can form explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require special measures within the area of preventive fire protection. If pressure gauge octa of fire-protection methods turns into needed at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures ought to be taken, not only by means of precaution but additionally to exclude potential liability risks. And but not each measure that is technologically possible can be essential 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 part of the tank farm in need of rehabilitation covers 24 tanks with a storage quantity of between 600 and a couple of,000 cubic metres. The tank farm is used for intermediate storage of extremely flammable fluids with flame factors of < 21 levels Celsius, as outlined in the German hazardous substances legislation. In fire inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had recognized main non-conformities within the fire-extinguishing system. To exchange the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering agency submitted an intensive listing of measures. These measures totally glad all regulatory requirements but represented a really cost-intensive answer, requiring a full rehabilitation utilizing traditional extinguishing methods. For the tank-farm operating firm, the prices of implementing these measures would have added up to 1.7 million euros.
In fire protection, the problem lies in connecting well-founded technological information and legal know-how. In practice this means harmonising affordable engineering services and authorized functions to acquire a cohesive, economically possible and simply implemented fire-protection concept.
Alternative answer developed by TÜV SÜD

At the working company’s request, TÜV SÜD’s third-party consultants validated the individual measures and the cost-effectiveness of the rehabilitation plan submitted by the engineering agency. Owing to the massive variety of deficiencies recognized in the tank farm, the specialists first ready an inventory of priorities with the measures essential to fulfil the protection requirements and achieve the safety aims. They arrived on the conclusion that not the entire proposed measures actually needed to be applied. Starting from this discovering, they then drew up another fire-protection concept that would finally scale back the projected prices by one third.
TÜV SÜD’s rehabilitation plan included the fire-protection infrastructure already in place at the tank farm, such as a non-automatic foam extinguishing system with a complete foaming-agent supply 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 ensure water provide for fireplace preventing 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 energy provider. The feed-in of emergency power was effected by the local skilled hearth division.
The engineering firm, in contrast, had planned to switch the whole fire-extinguishing system. They wanted to install three cellular extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container form for distant managed sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This resolution would have required the set up of latest electrical, operational and control methods in addition to new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution systems with the fire-fighting methods within the tank fields. The costs for the three extinguishing-agent distribution techniques in container kind alone would have added up to around 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fireplace fighting state of affairs with intact energy provide and free entry to the tank farm.
Implementation of three packages of measures

The alternative rehabilitation concept developed by TÜV SÜD, which also met the necessities of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), supplied for three essential packages of measures to realize the safety 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 modifications in temperature at the surfaces of the tanks made of different supplies and positioned within the space monitored by the cameras, before these changes in temperature may cause a hearth. As the cameras can move, the areas to be monitored could be divided into sectors. The cameras then strategy these sectors cyclically in sequence. To defend the cameras against external influences, they’re housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). Monitoring focuses primarily on the safety 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 native skilled fire department are notified immediately as soon as the temperature exceeds a sure limit. The measure package deal additionally contains distant triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the management centre and automation of the security units.
Incipient fire preventing state of affairs with power loss where 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 alternative of the leaking and corroded pipe sections with new pipes and for installation of three fixed foam-extinguishing techniques in the form of foam displays to battle incipient fires immediately. In addition, a cell foam monitor was deliberate as a backup.
A third focus space considerations safeguarding the power provide required for early fire detection and fireplace combating. According to the regional power supplier, energy outages could have a length of at least 30 minutes. Given this, the tank-farm wanted an unbiased power supply system that was able to ensure energy supply for no much less than 2 hours. The specialists relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency energy unit to solve this downside.
Fire safety must guarantee achievement of the safety objectives

Protection objectives and equivalent security level reached

The fire-protection solution presented by TÜV SÜD was agreed with both the tank farm’s working company, the municipal authority and the professional fire department. The three measure packages additionally complied with the required safety aims and the safety ranges. And in the end, they proved far more cost-effective than the solution initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early fire detection at the facet of improved fire-protection infrastructure has turn into a central part of damage limitation. Since the rehabilitation idea was applied, the tank-farm’s operating company – working with the professional hearth department – has been in a position to successfully counteract all possible situations of incipient fire effectively and at an early stage, even in instances of power 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 type and use (special structures). Their operation involves the dealing with and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and security precautions thus not solely fall inside the working company’s responsibility but are also a matter of public interest. Given this, the BayBO stipulates necessities together with materials necessities which, as “General clauses of fireside protection”, help to help the safety objectives defined in Article 12. However, in accordance with article 3 (1) deviations from the technical constructing laws are potential if another resolution is discovered that’s equivalent when it comes to fulfilling the overall necessities in paragraph 1. In other phrases, the necessities laid down in the Building Code are deemed complied with if the commonly recognised guidelines of architecture and know-how are fulfilled.

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