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Above Ground Petroleum Product Storage Tank Fires: A Numerical Analysis of Thermal Radiation for Developing Fire Prevention Strategy

[+] Author Affiliations
Wenxing Feng, Shuxin Li, Xiaodong Long

Changqing Branch of PetroChina Pipeline Company, Yinchuan, Ningxia, China

Chaopeng Wu

University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China

Jingjun Xi

PetroChina Pipeline Company, Langfang, Hebei, China

Paper No. IPC2014-33029, pp. V004T05A002; 5 pages
  • 2014 10th International Pipeline Conference
  • Volume 4: Production Pipelines and Flowlines; Project Management; Facilities Integrity Management; Operations and Maintenance; Pipelining in Northern and Offshore Environments; Strain-Based Design; Standards and Regulations
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 29–October 3, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4613-1
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Above ground petroleum product storage tanks are tanks or other containers that are above ground, partially buried, bunkered, or in a subterranean vault. These are built to store petroleum product for pipeline system, oilfield and refinery.

Tank fires are one of the most terrible accidents in oil pipeline transportation stations. Tank fires pose a significant hazard to people, buildings, process piping, the environment and other facilities as a result of thermal radiation exposure. It is necessary and meaningful to study the distribution of the thermal radiation of a tank fire for emergency response, prevention and reducing loss.

To analyze potential tank fire incidents at a pipeline station, a three-dimensional station model was built using a computational fluid dynamics (Abbreviated as CFD, is a branch of fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows) software package to evaluate the thermal radiation distribution under different conditions. Numerical simulations were carried out for a total of six simulation scenarios to analyze 3 types of potential fires for 2 different liquid products (gasoline and diesel). The three kinds of fires that were modeled included: 1) disk pool fire on top of the tank; 2) ring pool fire on the top of a tank; and 3) pool fire in a dike. The simulation evaluates the effect of the thermal radiation on facilities and people.

The simulation results show that the water cooling system is effective at decreasing the magnitude of thermal radiation exposure and as a result is effective at protecting nearby tanks and facilities. Without water protection, the disk fire or ring fire can destroy or damage nearby structures significantly. The results of the simulation also show that the dike pool fire can have a catastrophic consequence to nearby facilities. Further the analysis showed that environmental wind does not change the thermal radiation distribution significantly. The results of the simulation point out countermeasure activities to enhance fire prevention at oil pipeline transportation stations in a scientific way.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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