Improvement of preventive fireplace protection at a tank farm

Tank farms are used for the storage of highly flammable and explosive substances; Consequently, preventive fireplace safety is of major significance. When rehabilitation of such a tank farm is planned, contractors usually suggest in depth – and thus pricey – 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 resolution. A central position in injury limitation is played by early hearth detection using thermographic cameras.
Numerous tank farms all through Germany store petrol, diesel, kerosene or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In contact with air, these extremely flammable substances can form explosive mixtures. Given this, tank farms require particular measures in the field of preventive hearth protection. If rehabilitation of fire-protection methods turns into needed at an older tank farm, far-reaching measures must be taken, not only by means of precaution but also to exclude potential liability dangers. And yet not every measure that’s technologically possible can additionally be necessary 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 2,000 cubic metres. The tank farm is used for intermediate storage of extremely 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 To substitute the outdated and non-conforming system, an engineering agency submitted an intensive listing of measures. These measures totally happy all regulatory necessities but represented a very cost-intensive resolution, requiring a full rehabilitation utilizing conventional extinguishing techniques. For the tank-farm operating company, the costs of implementing these measures would have added up to 1.7 million euros.
In fire safety, the challenge lies in connecting well-founded technological knowledge and legal know-how. In follow this implies harmonising reasonable engineering services and authorized applications to acquire a cohesive, economically possible and simply implemented fire-protection concept.
Alternative solution developed by TÜV SÜD

At the working company’s request, TÜV SÜD’s third-party experts validated the person measures and the cost-effectiveness of the rehabilitation plan submitted by the engineering agency. Owing to the massive variety of deficiencies identified in the tank farm, the consultants first prepared a listing of priorities with the measures necessary to fulfil the security requirements and obtain the protection aims. They arrived on the conclusion that not the entire proposed measures truly wanted to be implemented. Starting from this discovering, they then drew up an alternate fire-protection concept that might in the end reduce the projected prices by one third.
TÜV SÜD’s rehabilitation plan included the fire-protection infrastructure already in place at the tank farm, similar 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 a hundred and 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 energy supplier. The feed-in of emergency power was effected by the local professional fireplace department.
The engineering agency, against this, had deliberate to exchange the whole fire-extinguishing system. They needed to install three mobile extinguishing-agent distribution techniques in container kind for distant managed sprinkling and foaming of the tanks. This answer would have required the set up of recent electrical, operational and control techniques as nicely as new pipe routes connecting the extinguishing-agent distribution methods with the fire-fighting methods in 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 fire fighting scenario 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 also met the necessities of the Bavarian Building Code (BayBo [1]), provided for three important packages of measures to attain the safety and security aims.
First, set up of a completely computerized infrared measuring system made by DIAS Infrared to ensure early fireplace detection. The system’s seven thermographic cameras are put in on pan-tilt units. They detect modifications in temperature at the surfaces of the tanks made of various supplies and situated in the area monitored by the cameras, earlier than these adjustments in temperature may cause a hearth. As the cameras can transfer, the areas to be monitored could be divided into sectors. The cameras then approach these sectors cyclically in sequence. To defend the cameras towards external influences, they’re housed in ventilated and heated weatherproof enclosures (Fig. 1). Monitoring focuses primarily on the safety gadgets of the tanks, pumps and motors and on the filling techniques on the tank-farm premises. The management room at the tank farm and the local professional fire department are notified immediately as quickly because the temperature exceeds a sure restrict. The measure package also consists of remote triggering of the extinguishing-agent supply from the management centre and automation of the security units.
Incipient fireplace preventing scenario 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 fixed foam-extinguishing techniques in the type of foam monitors to fight incipient fires directly. In addition, a cellular foam monitor was planned as a backup.
diaphragm seal concerns safeguarding the power provide required for early hearth detection and hearth combating. According to the regional power provider, energy outages may have a period of at least half-hour. Given this, the tank-farm needed an unbiased energy provide system that was in a position to ensure power provide for a minimal of 2 hours. The experts relied on battery buffering and a diesel operated emergency energy unit to unravel this drawback.
Fire safety should ensure achievement of the protection goals

Protection goals and equivalent safety stage reached

The fire-protection answer 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 protection goals and the safety levels. And in the end, they proved far more cost-effective than the answer initially proposed. Since rehabilitation of the tank farm, early fire detection along side improved fire-protection infrastructure has turn into a central a half of damage limitation. Since the rehabilitation idea was implemented, the tank-farm’s operating firm – working with the professional hearth department – has been capable of successfully counteract all attainable scenarios of incipient fireplace successfully and at an early stage, even in cases of energy 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 type and use (special structures). Their operation involves the handling and storing of highly explosive or flammable substances. Protection measures and safety precautions thus not only fall inside the operating company’s accountability but are additionally a matter of public curiosity. Given this, the BayBO stipulates necessities including materials requirements which, as “General clauses of fireplace protection”, help to support the safety goals outlined in Article 12. However, according to article three (1) deviations from the technical building regulations are possible if another answer is found that is equivalent by way of fulfilling the final requirements in paragraph 1. In different phrases, the necessities 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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