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 typically suggest intensive – and thus expensive – measures. A fire-protection resolution developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equal stage of security can also be reached with a far more cost-effective answer. A central function in damage limitation is performed by early fireplace detection using thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms throughout Germany retailer petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum fuel (LPG). In contact with air, these highly flammable substances can form explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require particular measures within the area of preventive hearth protection. If rehabilitation of fire-protection systems turns into essential at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures should be taken, not only by means of precaution but also to exclude attainable liability risks. And yet not each measure that’s technologically possible can additionally be needed in case of a rehabilitation, as may be seen from the example of a tank farm in Bavaria, Germany.
The tank farm is situated at a basin of a river port in Bavaria. The part of the tank farm in want of rehabilitation covers 24 tanks with a storage quantity of between 600 and 2,000 cubic metres. The tank farm is used for intermediate storage of highly flammable fluids with flame factors of < 21 degrees Celsius, as outlined within the German hazardous substances laws. In hearth inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had recognized major non-conformities within the fire-extinguishing system. To exchange the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering agency submitted an intensive record of measures. These measures totally glad all regulatory necessities but represented a really cost-intensive solution, requiring a full rehabilitation utilizing traditional extinguishing techniques. For the tank-farm working company, the costs of implementing these measures would have added up to 1.7 million euros.
In fire protection, the challenge lies in connecting well-founded technological data and legal know-how. In practice this implies harmonising affordable engineering providers and authorized purposes to acquire a cohesive, economically feasible and simply applied fire-protection concept.
Alternative resolution developed by TÜV SÜD

At the working 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 agency. Owing to the large variety of deficiencies recognized within the tank farm, the specialists first ready a listing of priorities with the measures necessary to fulfil the protection requirements and achieve the protection objectives. They arrived at the conclusion that not all the proposed measures actually needed to be implemented. Starting from this finding, they then drew up another fire-protection concept that would finally reduce the projected prices 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 total foaming-agent supply of 10,500 litres distributed across two tanks, two submerged pumps in the port basin with a pump capability of 180 m3 per hour to make sure water supply for hearth combating 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 supplier. The feed-in of emergency power was effected by the local skilled hearth division.
The engineering firm, by contrast, had planned to switch the whole fire-extinguishing system. They needed to install three cellular extinguishing-agent distribution methods in container form for distant controlled sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This solution would have required the set up of latest electrical, operational and control techniques in addition to 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 much as around 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fireplace combating scenario with intact energy provide and free entry 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]), supplied for 3 important packages of measures to achieve the protection and security goals.
First, set up of a fully automatic infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to ensure early fireplace detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are installed on pan-tilt items. They detect adjustments in temperature on the surfaces of the tanks made of various supplies and located in the space monitored by the cameras, earlier than these modifications in temperature can cause a fire. As the cameras can move, the areas to be monitored may be divided into sectors. The cameras then strategy these sectors cyclically in sequence. To shield the cameras against external influences, they are housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). ไดอะแฟรม ซีล focuses primarily on the security devices of the tanks, pumps and motors and on the filling methods on the tank-farm premises. The management room on the tank farm and the native skilled fire department are notified immediately as soon as the temperature exceeds a certain limit. The measure package deal additionally contains remote triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the control centre and automation of the protection devices.
Incipient fireplace 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 provided for substitute of the leaking and corroded pipe sections with new pipes and for installation of three mounted foam-extinguishing systems within the type of foam displays to struggle incipient fires immediately. In addition, a mobile foam monitor was planned as a backup.
A third focus space concerns safeguarding the ability provide required for early fireplace detection and fireplace fighting. According to the regional energy supplier, energy outages could have a period of at least half-hour. Given this, the tank-farm needed an independent energy supply system that was in a position to ensure power supply for a minimal of 2 hours. The consultants relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency power unit to resolve this problem.
Fire safety should guarantee achievement of the safety objectives

Protection goals and equivalent security level reached

The fire-protection resolution presented by TÜV SÜD was agreed with both the tank farm’s working company, the municipal authority and the professional hearth division. The three measure packages also complied with the required safety goals and the safety ranges. And in the end, they proved far cheaper 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 a part of injury limitation. Since the rehabilitation concept was carried out, the tank-farm’s working company – working with the professional fire division – has been able to effectively counteract all potential situations of incipient fire successfully and at an early stage, even in instances of energy loss or when entry 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 particular sort and use (special structures). Their operation entails the dealing with and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and safety precautions thus not solely fall within the operating company’s accountability but are additionally a matter of public interest. Given this, the BayBO stipulates necessities together with materials necessities which, as “General clauses of fire protection”, assist to support the safety goals outlined in Article 12. However, based on article three (1) deviations from the technical constructing rules are possible if another solution is found that is equal in phrases of fulfilling the general requirements in paragraph 1. In other words, the necessities laid down in the Building Code are deemed complied with if the widely recognised rules of architecture and expertise are fulfilled.

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