Improvement of preventive hearth safety at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of extremely flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive fire safety is of main importance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is deliberate, contractors usually advocate in depth – and thus costly – measures. A fire-protection resolution developed by TÜV SÜD demonstrates that an equivalent stage of safety can be reached with a much more cost-effective solution. A central position in injury limitation is performed by early hearth detection utilizing thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms throughout Germany retailer petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum fuel (LPG). In contact with air, these extremely flammable substances can kind explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require special measures within the field of preventive fire safety. If rehabilitation of fire-protection techniques becomes essential at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures ought to be taken, not solely by method of precaution but additionally to exclude possible legal responsibility dangers. And but not every measure that is technologically possible can also 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 situated at a basin of a river port in Bavaria. The a half of the tank farm in need 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 points of < 21 degrees Celsius, as outlined within the German hazardous substances legislation. In fireplace inspections and on-site inspections after incidents, the inspectors had recognized main non-conformities within the fire-extinguishing system. To replace the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering firm submitted an intensive record of measures. These measures totally happy all regulatory requirements however represented a very cost-intensive resolution, requiring a full rehabilitation utilizing conventional extinguishing techniques. For the tank-farm operating firm, the costs of implementing these measures would have added up to 1.7 million euros.
In fire protection, the problem lies in connecting well-founded technological knowledge and legal know-how. In follow this implies harmonising cheap engineering companies and authorized purposes to obtain a cohesive, economically feasible and easily carried out fire-protection idea.
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 firm. Owing to the big variety of deficiencies recognized within the tank farm, the experts first prepared a list of priorities with the measures necessary to fulfil the safety requirements and achieve the protection aims. They arrived on the conclusion that not the entire proposed measures actually needed to be implemented. Starting from this finding, they then drew up another fire-protection concept that might finally scale back the projected costs 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 across two tanks, two submerged pumps in the port basin with a pump capability of one hundred eighty m3 per hour to ensure water provide for hearth 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 provider. The feed-in of emergency power was effected by the native professional hearth division.
The engineering agency, by contrast, had deliberate to replace the complete fire-extinguishing system. They wanted to put in three mobile extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container form for distant managed sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This solution would have required the set up of new electrical, operational and management systems as nicely as new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution systems with the fire-fighting systems in the tank fields. The prices for the three extinguishing-agent distribution systems in container form alone would have added up to around 1.2 million euros.
Incipient fire combating state of affairs with intact power provide and free entry to the tank farm.
Implementation of three packages of measures

The alternative rehabilitation concept developed by TÜV SÜD, which additionally met the requirements of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), offered for three essential packages of measures to attain the protection and security aims.
First, set up of a totally automatic infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to ensure early hearth detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are put in on pan-tilt units. They detect changes in temperature at the surfaces of the tanks made of different materials and located within the space monitored by the cameras, earlier than these adjustments in temperature may cause a hearth. As the cameras can move, the areas to be monitored may be divided into sectors. The cameras then method 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 safety 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 native skilled hearth department are notified immediately as soon as the temperature exceeds a sure limit. The measure package also contains distant triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the management centre and automation of the safety gadgets.
Incipient fire fighting scenario with energy 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 solution supplied for alternative of the leaking and corroded pipe sections with new pipes and for set up of three fixed foam-extinguishing methods within the type of foam displays to fight incipient fires immediately. In addition, a mobile foam monitor was deliberate as a backup.
A third focus area considerations safeguarding the ability provide required for early fireplace detection and hearth fighting. According to the regional power supplier, energy outages could have a length of at least 30 minutes. Given pressure gauge , the tank-farm wanted an unbiased power supply system that was ready to make sure power supply for at least 2 hours. The specialists relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency power unit to solve this drawback.
Fire protection must ensure achievement of the safety objectives

Protection goals and equivalent safety stage reached

The fire-protection resolution introduced by TÜV SÜD was agreed with each the tank farm’s working company, the municipal authority and the skilled fire division. The three measure packages additionally complied with the required protection aims and the protection levels. And ultimately, they proved far more cost-effective than the solution initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early hearth detection along side improved fire-protection infrastructure has turn out to be a central a part of harm limitation. Since the rehabilitation concept was applied, the tank-farm’s operating company – working with the skilled fireplace division – has been in a position to successfully counteract all possible situations of incipient fireplace 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 particular kind and use (special structures). Their operation involves the handling and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and safety precautions thus not solely fall throughout the operating company’s accountability but are also a matter of public curiosity. Given this, the BayBO stipulates necessities including materials necessities which, as “General clauses of fireside protection”, assist to support the protection objectives defined in Article 12. However, in accordance with article 3 (1) deviations from the technical building rules are potential if an alternative resolution is discovered that is equal when it comes to fulfilling the final necessities in paragraph 1. In other phrases, the requirements laid down in the Building Code are deemed complied with if the generally recognised rules of structure and expertise are fulfilled.

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