The storage of oil products produce VOC emissions contributing to atmospheric pollution. In addition the oil products produce inflammable vapours associated with fires and explosions risks.
The EU has issued different guidelines and directives to restrain the atmospheric pollution and its negative effects for public health and the environment. The member states established national limits of air quality for several pollutants.
In floating roof tanks the VOC emissions mainly occur during four phases as follows:
- When the product is stationary, from the gasket of the roof depending on temperature and pressure variations and wind velocity (standing losses)
- During loading and unloading of the tank contents (withdrawal losses); particularly during loading the factors that contribute to VOC release are the high turbulence of the product and pumps cavitation along transfer pipelines
- During the drainage of the water from the bottom of the tank
- During tank degassing when under cleaning
Idrabel has developed a biotechnological solution for reducing VOC emissions using LECS (Emergency Liquid Spill Control). It contains surfactants, chelating agents, nutrients and specific microorganisms for treating hydrocarbons and solvents.
The treatment process is effective within a short period of time due to the combined and synergic action of the chemical
physical mechanism carried out by the surfactants and the chelating agents, followed by biological activity.
For emissions occurring during oil storage, an innovative technical solution, named VOC Control System, consists of a spray atomisation system installed around the tank with lines provided with nozzles and adjustable sprinklers. The spraying is carried out using a limited quantity of fire-water containing the biotechnological product through an adjustable batching plant.
Recently Idrabel has realized an integrated system for emissions prevention in an important oil terminal.
The terminal provides the services of storage and movement of crude oil and fuel oil and it has a large storage capacity. The site is the first to be completely equipped with the automated VOC Control System to prevent hazardous emissions and foul odours and the consequent complaints from the neighbourhood.
The VOC Control System starts operating either automatically, depending on the level of VOC, H2S and other parameters, or manually when loading / unloading operations are required.
The parameters are measured using a wireless radio frequency multigas monitor system combined with a weather stations system. The information can be visualized in a personal computer for remote control.
The integrated system has also been approved by the local authorities, which involved a test carried out on site.