A novel method to design water spray cooling system to protect floating roof atmospheric storage tanks against fires

Iraj Alimohammadi, Farshad Nouri, Amir Masoud Ghasemi


Hydrocarbon bulk storage tank fires are not very common, but their protection is essential due to severe consequences of such fires. Water spray cooling system is one of the most effective ways to reduce damages to a tank from a fire. Many codes and standards set requirements and recommendations to maximize the efficiency of water spray cooling systems, but these are widely different and still various interpretations and methods are employed to design such systems. This article provides a brief introduction to some possible design methods of cooling systems for protection of storage tanks against external non-contacting fires and introduces a new method namely “Linear Density Method” and compares the results from this method to the “Average Method” which is currently in common practice. The average Method determines the flow rate for each spray nozzle by dividing the total water demand by the number of spray nozzles while the Linear Density Method determines the nozzle flow rate based on the actual flow over the surface to be protected. The configuration of the system includes a one million barrel crude oil floating roof tank to be protected and which is placed one half tank diameter from a similar adjacent tank with a full surface fire. Thermal radiation and hydraulics are modeled using DNV PHAST Version 6.53 and Sunrise PIPENET Version software respectively. Spray nozzles used in design are manufactured by Angus Fire and PNR Nozzles companies. Schedule 40 carbon steel pipe is used for piping. The results show that the cooling system using the Linear Density Method consumes 3.55% more water than the design using the average method assuming a uniform application rate of 4.1 liters per minute. Despite higher water consumption the design based on Linear Density Method alleviates the problems associated with the Average Method and provides better protection.


Storage Tank, Cooling System, Fire Protection, Spray System, Spray System Design, Tank Fire

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