Continuous combustible and toxic gas monitoring is a critical facet of refineries. There are many processes and special production units in a refinery that pose specific safety hazards. These include:
Crude Desalting - The potential exists for a fire due to a leak or release of crude from heaters in the crude desalting unit. Low boiling point components of crude may also be released if a leak exists. These are closed processes, however, heaters and exchangers in the atmospheric and vacuum distillation units could provide a source of ignition, and the potential for a fire exists should a leak occur.
Thermal cracking, coking, and catalytic cracking - These are some other closed process with the potential for fire coming from the leakage of liquids, gases, or vapors that come into contact with an ignition source.
Catalytic dust - Explosive concentrations of catalyst dust can accumulate during its recharge or disposal. The handling of coked catalyst creates the possibility for iron sulfide fires, which can occur when iron sulfide ignites spontaneously in air.
Hydrogen generation - Hydrogen generation is required to provide for a continuous supply. This creates a hazard in the event of a leak or release of product or hydrogen gas.
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) - The hydrogen sulfide content of the feedstock must be continuously monitored to prevent personnel exposure to toxic concentrations, reduce corrosion, and prevent environmental pollution.
Isomerization - Isomerization processes convert n-butane, n-pentane and n-hexane into their respective isoparaffins of substantially higher octane number. This is another closed process with hazardous implications in the form of leaks coming into contact with an ignition source.
Sweetening - Air or oxygen is used in sweetening processes. If too much oxygen enters these processes, it is possible for a fire to ignite in the settler due to the generation of static electricity.
||Leaks from crude desalting, thermal cracking, coking, catalytic cracking, hydrogen generation, isomerization, and sweetening. Catalytic dust
||MLP-SC1100 (Catalytic Bead),
|Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) (Toxic)
||Leaks from feedstock
Gas Shield Junior or Senior
||Combustible leaks coming into contact with ignition sources
||Phoenix IR3 (multi-spectral infrared) detector,
Smart UV/IR detector,
Smart UVS detector
Combustible and toxic materials found at processing plants are extremely hazardous to the facility and its personnel, especially in highly congested production areas that contain reactors, turbines, valves, and high pressure distribution pipelines.
Some of these materials include:
- Hydrogen feedstock fuel
- LNG and LPG - used as feedstock, or as energy sources for various distillation processes
- Organic monomers and polymers produced in the Plastics industry (Ethylene and Polyethylene, PFE- Perfluoroethylene, PVC - Poly Vinyl Chloride, Urethane and Polyurethane
Continuous monitoring of storage-tanks for leaks and fugitive emissions is a must for the safety of equipment and personnel, and is mandatory in most countries.
Petrochemical storage farms require the monitoring of Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) close to pipes and valves around leakage points, and also require monitoring of heavy combustible hydrocarbon gas leaks that stay close to the ground.
Whether used as refined fuels, raw materials for processing, or feedstock for other
industries, petrochemicals have to be shipped from a processing plant or storage farm.
They have to be offloaded at loading stations in either gas, liquid or compressed form - all of which are highly combustible and a major hazard to any equipment or people working in or living close to these areas.
Railway loading platforms and Truck filling stations require combustible gas and flame monitoring capable of detecting fugitive emissions and alerting in case of explosive concentrations or the incidence of fires.