Tank Storage Magazine v02 i04


Volume: 2
Issue: 4
Date Published: December 1, 2006




North America saw one of its worst petrochemical fires earlier this year when a lightning strike ignited a tank at a major fuel depot operated by US-based Explorer Pipeline Company in the small town of Glenpool. The spectacular fire and smoke plume which resulted from ignition of tank 373 raged for hours one day in June before a co-ordinated firefighting effort brought the incident under control and provided a textbook illustration of how to fight a tank farm fire. Like the UK Buncefield tank farm fire in December 2005, Glenpool brought a rapid response from emergency services; produced spectacular images of how fierce these incidents can be, and, for Glenpool Fire Department in Oklahoma, provided its biggest firefighting test for a century. Glenpool's fire department had responded to a previous tank fire in 2003 at an adjacent ConocoPhillips tank farm, where a blaze was ignited by static electricity so they were not unaccustomed to these big fires. Then in March this year Glenpool fire personnel toured Explorer's facility during the rehabilitation of another site tank, allowing fire officers to familiarise themselves with Explorer's facilities and firefighting capabilities, laying the foundations for successful emergency co-ordination later. Glenpool fire chief Paul Newton was in no doubt those visits and one-to-one meetings helped his firefighting 'platoons' in their response and damage limitation in June. He wrote: “This provided an excellent opportunity to review preplans. Each platoon visited the site over a three-day period to gain first-hand knowledge of the site and Explorer's emergency operation plans. These visits opened the door for discussions that ultimately increased the level of trust and confidence between the facility and responders. Everyone was on a first name basis at the time of the incident.” The fire began as a storm moved over Glenpool, on 12 June this year. Glenpool fire department received the first of many 911 emergency calls at 09.07am. fuel supply system stretching 1,400 miles from the US Gulf coast to the US Midwest and Glenpool is one of six major tankage and terminal sites along the route. Tank 373 at Glenpool was ignited by a lightning strike just after 9am. It was built in 1970 as a welded steel tank, with American Petroleum Institute specification number 650, with a cone roof, Newton noted. Later in 1977, an aluminium floating deck had been installed. Just minutes before it ignited, the tank with a diameter of 140 ft (42.68m), had been filled near to capacity, to a height of 48 ft (14.63 m) with 117,000 barrels (4.914 million US gallons) of blended gasoline (petrol). Newton said Explorer staff were well versed in their emergency plans, and within four minutes of ignition, fire pumps were started and fixed monitors positioned, while key Explorer personnel were informed of the event. Eleven fire appliances were used during the response, from Glenpool, and neighbouring districts in Jenks, Sapulpa and Tulsa and Bixby. Initially the fire department's response was aimed at cooling neighbouring tanks to ensure they were not ignited, and to minimize the environmental impact of unburned combustion products in the atmosphere and to prevent what Newton called a “catastrophic” release of hydrocarbons to the ground if the tank walls failed. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


There is probably a fable somewhere in the Far East about a gentle Dove and a mighty Tiger. The two might not sound like easy bedfellows but, for Singaporeheadquartered Dovechem Group, the roar of the booming Asian economy has seen the company evolve in the past four decades from a simple importer of raw materials and industrial chemical solvents, to one of the region's leading names in the chemical products sector and a key provider of third party tank storage services. Established in 1960 and remaining fully owned by the Ng family, originally from Muar in Malaysia, the Dovechem Group started as a paint retailer and is now one of the leading chemical solvent distributors in the Asia Pacific region, with representative companies in seven countries. Its business is run through four holding companies in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and China/Hong Kong. These vehicles are responsible for the company's four core businesses - chemical distribution, manufacturing, bulk liquid terminals and integrated logistics - in their respective countries, the first three of which see Dovechem operating tank storage capacity. Ng Koong Sinn heads the Group's Terminal and Manufacturing division: “Since its inception as a typical family managed business, Dovechem has continually morphed, in keeping with the changing business environment,” he says. “Having an extended family helped to fill up the manpower requirements in the early days but as the business grew and the landscape changed, a younger generation of Ng siblings, better educated and trained, emerged to see the Group into the new millennium. “At the helm of this new dynamism is Dato' Andrew Ng, the group managing director and chief executive officer. Under his leadership and guidance, there is now a transformation from a familyowned and run business to a regional power house staffed by dedicated professionals.” To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


The exhibition is already attracting attention with companies signing up in order to ensure they can share in the region's burgeoning growth and potential. StocExpo's managing director Peter Patterson says 'we are very excited to be spreading the StocExpo brand to the Asia region, which is undoubtedly the world's fastest growing area in terms of tank storage projects. Already feedback has been positive with a number of companies saying that an event of this type has been long overdue.' StocExpo's rapid rise to being the world's number one organiser of events for the bulk liquid storage sector shows no signs of abating. The upcoming Europe show is almost sold out and that is including the organiser's 20% increase in floorspace over the previous year. Supported by the Port of Antwerp, StocExpo Europe promises to be the largest of the shows to date, and will be held from 20-22 March at the Antwerp Expo. The Port of Antwerp will be hosting a welcome reception at the city hall on the first evening of the show and will also be providing a tour of the harbour for the delegates to the conference. Further developments to next year's show include the addition of PetroChem Logistics, which will be held concurrently to StocExpo. There will be a two day conference to run alongside StocExpo covering a range of topics within the petroleum & chemical logistics supply chains. Peter Patterson states 'we see a strong link between the terminalling business and that of the logistics sector. It is for this reason that we have decided to enhance our offering to visitors and delegates with the addition of PetroChem Logistics. Although there are a number of logistics shows taking place already, we feel that they are far too general to really provide exhibitors with the audience they deserve. Since PetroChem Logistics is being timed to run alongside StocExpo, exhibitors will be able to benefit from both events.' Delegates may register now for the conference by going to the website www.stocexpo.com. The organisers have also recommended that any companies interested in exhibiting need to reserve their space immediately since only a select number of spaces remain available. StocExpo's third and final show for 2007 will take place in Abu Dhabi from 26-28 November (dates provisional). Details will be announced shortly. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s is a distant memory, for industry at least. Last year's deregulation of the petroleum sector in Indonesia, the recent World Trade Organisation (WTO) entry by Vietnam and the blooming of the biofuels market across the region are all contributing to a healthy outlook. Underpinned by strong economic growth and demand for products in China and throughout the region, particularly for transportation in the case of fuels and general industrial demand for petrochemicals, the future for storage and transhipment looks rosy. Despite the region's apparently insatiable thirst for feedstock and fuels - by 2010, the petrochemical consumption of China alone is forecast to be one-third of the world total - caution remains the watchword and new investors should be wary of charging in like the proverbial bull. The influential BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows that Asia Pacific demand for refined products increased from 18.1 million barrels a day in 1995 to 23.96m b/d in 2005, and Asian demand growth has accounted for nearly half of the increase in total global demand in the last four years. At the same time, petrochemicals demand is growing faster in Asia than in any other region. With these trends set to continue, storage capacity needs and opportunities will increase in the coming years in China, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea. Certain Asian ports are among the busiest in the world. Singapore, for example, is one of the world's top five bulk liquids ports in volume terms, and is expanding its already substantial independent oil storage capacity in order to strengthen its position as Asia's leading oil refining, trading and blending centre. A number of major terminal projects are nearing completion, including a first phase of 1.5 million cubic metres (cu m) of underground storage capacity to be built on the oilpetrochemical hub of Jurong Island by 2010. Recent capacity additions by overseas independents Vopak, Oiltanking and Emirates National Oil Company-subsidiary Horizon Terminals have together added more than 1.5m cu m in new tank capacity in Singapore, and this will be further augmented in 2007, when a new 2.3m cu m terminal is brought on stream by local trading giant Hin Leong. The Korean port of Ulsan, the country's largest in bulk liquid terms, is also becoming increasingly important as a transhipment hub for China. The demand side might be healthy, but there are still hurdles. Tightly controlled national markets are every foreign industrialist's worst nightmare, with such controls meaning a huge knot of impenetrable red tape, a barrage of government officials with a seemingly endless stack of documents to be reviewed and stamped, and profit-limiting operating restrictions that can reduce the commerciality of a deal so much that it becomes only the symbolic first step of entry. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


Business was brisk at the first StocExpo Middle East conference and exhibition, which was held from September 11th to 12th at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. With a packed conference programme and 50 companies showcasing their products and services in the exhibition hall, the event attracted close to 1,000 visitors from the Middle East region and beyond. The wide range of exhibitors represented the best in terminal related equipment from around the globe. They included such well-known names as Emco Wheaton, International Paint, Saab Rosemount Tank Gauging, Endress + Hauser, Motherwell Bridge, Enraf and HMT. Many exhibitors commented on the quality of visitors coming through the doors, with more than one exhibitor telling Tank Storage that “We're seeing the right people. These are the decision makers.” Several companies have already stated their intention to exhibit at future StocExpo shows. “In StocExpo Middle East, the Outokumpu stand, manned by company experts, attracted conference attendees from the whole Middle East region, many Asian countries with growing storage industries including India, Malaysia and Taiwan, and a number of European countries,” said the company. “Outokumpu will be exhibiting the benefits of its products in future StocExpo's as well: Antwerp and Singapore in 2007.” Critical conference issues The StocExpo Middle East conference, which took place in a quiet auditorium above the exhibition space, covered critical issues that are relevant to terminal operators worldwide, but with a special focus on the Middle East. After a welcome from Peter Patterson, Managing Director of StocExpo, the first session kicked off with an overview of storage trends and opportunities in the Middle East, delivered by Victor Shum, Senior Principal at Purvin and Gertz. Increasingly stringent environmental controls is a key issue for the Middle East, with oil companies and terminal operators implementing new policies and procedures, and investing in new technology to reduce their environmental impact and meet new standards. Presentations around this theme included a detailed report on the EHS Management System in place at Horizon Terminals Ltd, by Horizon's EHSQ Director Waddah Ghanem, and a talk on environmental protection initiatives underway at Saudi Aramco, by Mostafa Al-Shami. Also on the menu were two sessions on environmental emissions and vapour control. The first was a presentation by K.V. Jayaraman, Manager - Engineering Operations at Emarat, who talked about the control of hydrocarbon emissions in the Middle East, compared to western countries, and the efforts being made by Emarat and other companies to reach the same level of control. There was also a technical paper by Ties Mulder of VOC specialists Carbovac, about the specific problems surrounding vapour control that are faced by Middle East operators, due to the region's extreme climate. “High temperatures mean that vapours can be generated in the recovery columns [of the vapour recovery unit] and up to half the capacity of the unit can be lost,” said Mulder, who went on to outline some solutions to the challenges faced by regional operators. This was followed by a panel discussion on the subject of emissions and vapour recovery. Other subjects discussed during the 2-day conference included the role of independent terminal operators in the Middle East. This was presented by Ian Chochrane and Max Hamidah at Vopak, who pointed out that although independent terminally developed in the Middle East from specialist services such as bunkering, outsourcing the independents is becoming more prevalent in the Middle East as oil companies see the benefits. A lively debate followed the very popular session on renewable fuels, which was presented by Phil Armstrong, International Sales Director at Enraf Fluid Technology. He talked about the rapid growth of biofuels and global trends, as well as opportunities for tank storage operators. “Independents are the key players here because of their flexibility and because the major oil companies don't have an immediate incentive to do it,” he said. However, a delegate representing a major Middle East oil company pointed out in the Q&A session that since the oil will eventually run out in the Middle East, “even the oil majors are looking at this”. A variety of technical papers were also given at the conference, including sessions on the latest developments in tank design and construction, fire safety considerations for storage terminals, the risk of lightning strike, tank overfilling and managing the risk, secondary containment, sludge removal, roof replacement, roof seals, NDT techniques, multiple product handling on jetties, and terminal automation. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


Baltic Tank has taken this route on several occasions, making small relocations in order to effect repairs - such as moving a 3000 cu m tank some 20 metres in order to recondition the tank bottom, and then returning it to its original position. Baltic Tank has also carried out long-haul relocations. The largest operation took place in the autumn of 2004, when the company moved a number of tanks over land and sea across some 700 nautical miles, from Kemi and Kokkola in Finland to Kunda in Estonia. The move involved two 8000 cu m tanks, plus a 400 tonne, 11000 cu m tank with a diameter of 36.5m. There were also two smaller tanks of 1500 and 2000 cu m. The steel tanks were mainly for oils storage, though one stored caustic soda. After an in-house planning stage, the operation began with the use of ten 30-80 tonne hydraulic jacks to lift the tanks. This was in conjunction with heavy lift trucks alongside platform trailers in order to move the tanks onto the tug and barge that would carry them overseas. Four Baltic Tank staff managed the operation, co-ordinating with the heavy lift trucking company and tugmaster. Getting the tanks from their original position to the water's edge presented one of the biggest challenges. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


Leaking tank bottoms, spillage and pollution are serious hazards for tank farm operators and the environment. Strict regulations and high incident costs impel tank farm owners to have tank bottoms and foundations inspected, maintained and repaired (or even replaced) on a regular basis, in order to prevent leaks and pollution. They may also opt for the installation of a secondary containment device beneath the tanks, such as membranes or liners. But before any of these measures can be taken, the tank must be lifted in order to provide access to its bottom and foundation, and choosing the right equipment for the job will ensure the project runs smoothly and safely. Hydraulic step jacks Using high-pressure hydraulic step jacks in serial connection, simultaneously operated by one large pump, storage tanks can be gradually lifted while maintaining their balance. The step jacks are installed 'upside down', which means that the plunger moves downward while the tank is pushed in an upward direction. This movement creates space under the so called step plate, at both sides of the plunger, where wooden beams - as part of a much larger construction - are placed to support the load. After that, the plunger is retracted in an upwards direction to make room for another set of beams in the centre, against which the jack can push itself off during its next lifting step. The second layer of wooden beams is position on the first layer at a 90° angle, so as to build a firm support structure (see Figure 1). The procedure described is repeated several times, until there is enough room between the tank bottom and foundation to carry out repairs and maintenance, or to install a secondary containment device. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


In tank construction there are several ways to erect a tank. The most traditional method is to start with the tank bottom and, after that, place the first course and any next course on top of the previous one. This method has proven itself in the past and is still being used on many sites. There are a few disadvantages with this construction method, of which 'working at height' and 'instability during construction' are the major ones. Working at height requires extensive scaffolding and involves the difficulties of working with rather heavy equipment at this high level. Instability can be caused by wind during construction, because at certain stages of the construction process the wind girders/gangway or roof structure, which normally act as stiffeners on a completed tank, are not yet in place. Strong winds can result in extreme damage to the tank shell if the correct (and expensive) precautions are not taken. Another potential difficulty is that with small settlements it can be difficult to place the final courses. The use of jacking systems during construction can avoid the problems mentioned above. As each course is installed at ground level both inside and outside welding works can be executed with scaffolding only reaching about two meters high. The automatic welding machines that are frequently used in tank construction are easily installed at this low level. In terms of safety, speed and quality this is a big advantage. The jacking itself is a setby- step procedure where the top shell courses are lifted in consecutive steps of 100 mm each. When the shell is at the level of the shell course height (2000-3000 mm), the new plates are put in place. As the lifting process is a matter of 2-3 hours (depending on the tank-size) the new plates are installed and temporarily connected the same day. This to avoid the possibility that changing weather conditions will affect the lifted tank. The easy use of fully automatic machine-welding at low level is one of the biggest advantages of this method, as a welding quality of almost 100 % can be achieved. This reduces the time lost for repairs. Also, automatic welding reduces large temperature differences in the tank shell and therefore reduces the 'buckling' effect. If the roof is already in place, the roof acts as a stiffener to secure the roundness of the tank shell. Alternatively, with floating roof tanks, the wind girder which is placed immediately on the first (top) course guarantees the roundness of the shell. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


France was late in planning the expansion, and it was not until November 2005, that the industry minister, Francois Loos, together with Dominique Bussereau,minister for agriculture discussed a doubling of production with the biofuel companies. As a start towards meeting the target, an additional quota of 380,000 tonnes of ethanol was allocated amongst 11 producers, and at the end of February 2006, the Tereos Group, one of the largest producers in Europe, was awarded the licence for an additional 110,000 tonnes production. In 2004, Tereos acquired ownership of Société d’éthanol de Synthèse (SODES), a producer of synthetic alcohol, located on the Seine Basin, at Lillebonne (Seine-Maritime) in Normandy. Armed with this new production allocation, the decision was made to construct a wheat-processing ethanol factory on the SODES site, where a combination of the Group's existing production, plus the government allocation of 2.5 million hectolitres, will give the plant an annual output of over three million hectolitres of ethanol, and a by-product of 300,000 tonnes of distillers' grain. Plans for the plant allow production to grow to 5.5 million hectolitres of ethanol some time after 2010. About 840,000 tonnes of wheat will be imported to the plant each year, and the process of conversion from grain to ethanol is by fermentation, followed by distillation. The wheat is milled in order to release its starch, and the resulting powder diluted in water to adjust the level of sugar in the mash. Cooking the mash with enzymes or mineral acid dissolves the water-soluble starches, converting them to sugar. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


Europe has two major calibration facilities for liquid flow meters. Both are in France: one in the north of the country, the other in the south. Each is part of a pipeline transmission system, and although their main purpose is to maintain the accuracy of the systems' flow meters, they also offer calibration to meter manufacturers, system integrators, and pipeline operators. Flow meters are supplied with a calibration certificate that in most cases is unit specific. The standard calibration is usually based at three points along a 10 to 100 per cent flow range to prove linearity, with each point checked three times to show repeatability. These are increased to 10 and five respectively, for meters destined for fiscal or custody transfer service. In many cases, however, even this higher level of testing is unacceptable to the fiscal authority. Manufacturers calibrate their meters on a single product, and as Charles Griffiths, a specialist engineer with design consultant AC Flow Systems, explained, 'The use of a single fluid such as water or Stoddards fluid for meter performance evaluation is acceptable for the verification of positive displacement (PD) meters; but not for inferential types of meter.' The PD meter was the original workhorse of the petroleum industry; but it has been supplanted by turbine, multipath ultrasonic, and Coriolis meters, for the fiscal volumetric measurement of crude oil and refined products. 'With the exception of the PD and Coriolis meters, the other types are inferential.' Griffith stated, 'These do not measure flow directly; but infer it from other related physical variables, and then determine the flow by computation or use of a calibration constant established from a reference standard. As a consequence, performance verification must be undertaken by reference to a known volumetric standard under similar flowing product conditions in which it is to operate. 'Turbine meters respond to flow by rotating to maintain a torque equilibrium in the face of a complex array of fluid forces and mechanical friction. As a result, there is inherent in the technology a non-linearity of K-Factor, which is primarily Reynolds number dependant. 'Similarly', he continued, 'the same is true for multipath ultrasonic meters which measure the time difference between pairs of ultrasound pulses directed downstream with the flow, and those directed upstream against the flow. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


Flowmeter manufacturers are sometimes asked by tank operators why there is a difference in the cumulative measurements from the flowmeters, compared to the inventory measurements from the level gauges in the tank. This article is based on a study carried out for a customer using a KROHNE custody transfer metering system alongside a tank inventory system. It outlines some of the issues, gives a listing of where errors can occur and can accumulate. Which system do I choose? Ultrasonic flow, turbine flow, or level gauge inventory? When installed flowmeters are directly compared to shore tank volumes a significant amount of uncertainties has to be considered. Are we comparing a singe batch going into the tank, or a single batch exiting the tank? In this case, multibeam ultrasonic meters are the measurement of choice. They do not drift, they are repeatable, and offer a high custody transfer accuracy of 0.15%, which is virtually impossible with any tank inventory system currently installed. Factors affecting the accuracy of a tank inventory system The uncertainties most commonly faced when bulk liquids are being measured can be divided into three categories: 1. Spurious Error 2. Systematic error or bias 3. Random error When a certain uncertainty has been defined, the source of the error has to be investigated and its significance or weighting determined. Sources of error The first obvious source of error is the product to be measured. Many influences can be taken into consideration for determining the actual volume of liquid. Generally the higher the viscosity the higher the uncertainty in the measurement. The second common source of error is the uncertainty of the individual instruments required for the measurement. The third potential source of error is the influence of the instrument operator. The fourth source of error is caused by environmental influences on the instruments. There are basically four important parameters to be considered in shore tank measurement: accuracy/uncertainty of the applied strapping tables accuracy/uncertainty of the applied level measurement procedure accuracy/uncertainty of the applied temperature measurement accuracy/uncertainty of the applied API tables Accuracy of the applied strapping tables The following aspects of the tank have to be accurately measured: the exact dimensions of the tank shell; the contours of the tank floor; the size and location of “dead wood”, eg. struts, agitators and other mechanical obstructions; the weight (volume) of the floating roof. Accuracy of the applied level measurement procedure To compensate for any human errors it is preferable to use automatic level gauges. Mechanical gauges have to be calibrated prior to instalment and have to be checked periodically using a certified measurement tape. The influence of the uncertainty of level measurement in shore tank operations has frequently been over-estimated; it is common practice to measure a single batch and try to compensate for the delay in start/stop of the level gauge. An accuracy of level measurement of +/- 2 mm is in most applications the best achievable figure. It is obvious that the influence of the uncertainty of the level gauge depends on the transferred volume, on a batch of 1 meter the influence will reach 0.4 % while for an 8 meters batch it can drop to 0.05 %. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


Pyeroy case study SigmaKalon's developing technology New company, new products: PPG Industries.


Crude oil is usually stored in floating roof tanks with a capacity of around 5,000 m2 to 100,000 m2. Over time, a layer of paraffin, sand, rust and heavy metals (inorganic components of crude oil) builds up on the bottom of the tank through sedimentation, along with organic components of the crude oil (this is referred to as the formation of “sludge”). In some countries, statutory regulations require the operators of tanks for storing flammable liquids to have leak tests performed every five years (every 10 years for double bottom tanks). However, the tanks need to be completely emptied and cleaned before they can be inspected, which also involves removing the sludge. In a tank with a volume of 100,000 m2 and a diameter of about 100m, the area of the tank bottom that needs cleaning is around 7,500 m2 - equivalent to the size of a football field. BTS tank cleaning For over ten years, the German company Buchen has been using the innovative BTS tank cleaning system for cleaning crude oil storage tanks. This is an automated process suitable for cleaning all types of tanks (both fixed roof and floating roof tanks with a diameter of up to 100m) without using personnel. The main drawback of traditional manual procedures is that emission levels are too high and safety standards too low. Costs are also steeper, since manual cleaning requires more personnel and takes longer. These negative factors can be avoided using the automated BTS system where the tank is closed during cleaning and emissions are minimised. As well as ensuring the environmentally friendly removal of residues, it allows valuable crude oil (paraffin) to be recovered To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details

Biofuels Supplement

Brazil’s Tecbio to build two more new biodiesel plants Ethanol use charter signed in France Signing dynamics Biodiesel company announces expansion Chevron, DOE to study renewable fuels American Farm Bureau supports alternative fuel tank incentives Wireless monitoring available for alternative fuels Malaysian palm oil entities to merge Chevron Energy Solutions to prepare proposal to develophigh-efficiency ethanol plants for Ethanex Energy Biofuels – At What Cost? Biopetrol goes on sale in Wales


Biofuels - ethanol, sugar cane In 2005, Brazil produced 16.5 billion litres of fuel ethanol (45.2 per cent of the world's total) with the United States a close second at 16.2 billion litres, or 44.5 per cent of the total. Ethanol provides roughly 40 per cent of Brazil's nondiesel fuel and 2-3 per cent of U.S. non-diesel fuel. Sugar cane is the most important crop for producing biofuels today and the feedstock for more than 40 per cent of all fuel ethanol. Corn ranks a close second: the primary source for biofuel production in the U.S., it supplies nearly the same share of world fuel ethanol as sugar cane. Biodiesel, produced mainly from rapeseed or sunflower seed, comprises 80 per cent of Europe's total biofuel production. The EU accounted for nearly 89 per cent of all biodiesel production worldwide in 2005. Germany produced 1.9 billion litres, or more than half the world total. Global ethanol production more than doubled between 2000 and 2005, while production of biodiesel, starting from a much smaller base, expanded nearly fourfold. In contrast, oil production increased by only 7 per cent over this period. In 2005, ethanol comprised about 1.2 per cent of the world's gasoline supply by volume and about 0.8 per cent by transport distance traveled (due to its lower energy content). World oil demand From 2002-04, world oil demand increased by 5.3 per cent. China's consumption alone increased by 26.4 per cent, while consumption in the United States rose by 4.9 per cent; Canada 10.2 per cent; and the United Kingdom 6.3 per cent. Demand in Germany and Japan, meanwhile, dropped by 1 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively. Of the world's 47 poorest countries, 38 are net oil importers, and 25 of these import all of their oil. Yet many of these countries have substantial agricultural bases and are well-positioned to grow highly productive energy crops. Roughly 80 per cent of the world's conventional oil reserves are under state control and off limits to private investment. Biofuel industry and the environment To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


The EU has seen rapid, and ongoing, expansion in biodiesel production to meet increased demand, as national governments put in place measures to meet biofuel usage targets set out in EU law (2% by end 2005 rising to 5.75% in 2010, all measured by energy content). In the UK the Government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation requires oil companies to supply 2.5% of their fuel as biofuel by 2008/2009, 3.75% by 2009/2010 and 5% by 2010/2011. The result is rapid expansion in biodiesel production capacity leading to an increasingly competitive marketplace, where location and plant/tankage configurations become paramount. Production for the EU as a whole has already risen from 1.9 million tonnes in 2004 to 3.2 million tonnes in 2005, with a further significant increase to over 6 million tonnes by the end of 2006 (according to the European Biodiesel Board). As demand continues to increase, the location and flexibility of production assets will be ever more important commercially in what will become an increasingly competitive market. Greenergy has established itself as a major player within the biodiesel sector. It is: one of the largest independent oil companies and the largest independent biodiesel producer in Europe; the largest supplier of biofuel in the UK - currently with a 50% market share of the UK market; a major blender of biodiesel with dedicated tankage at Vopak, Rotterdam for biodiesel blending, with capacity reaching 16,000 cubic metres by March 2007; the most active biodiesel trading company in the world. As a result Greenergy has been at the forefront of investment in the modification of existing storage capacity and investment in new production facilities. Greenergy's first biodiesel plant, at Immingham on the east coast of England, is now nearing completion. The plant will have an initial capacity of 100,000 tonnes, with a second phase to double capacity to 200,000 tonnes. The first phase will come on line in January 2007 and the second phase in August 2007. The Immingham site, in Simon Storage's West Terminal, gives Greenergy three key logistical and commercial advantages: European and UK Access The site is a sea-fed location on the Humber estuary with deep-water jetties, enabling effective trading with major European market hubs and the wider world, including an ability to transport finished product by sea either to mainland Europe or elsewhere in the UK. Supply Chain Integration The site is situated in one of the UK's major oil refining regions, giving Greenergy convenient access to the fuel supply chain. New pipeline links provided through Simon Storage will enable efficient movement of product between the Greenergy plant and nearby petroleum oil refineries, with which Simon Storage already has a high level of integration. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


The proliferation of biofuel blending requirements over recent years has driven forward the need for ever more sophisticated solutions for petroleum terminal and distribution operations. As seen with many fuel recipe solutions over the years, the transition from experimental to mainstream is a rapid one, and requires proactive development of systems to be able to exceed the demands of operators. The drive towards increased operational flexibility has led to an exodus of blending equipment from the tank farm to the loading rack, as operators demand multi-arm, multi-ratio capability. The Enraf MicroBlender™ has played a key part in the evolutionary cycle of ethanol and bio-diesel blending. Instigating revolutionary techniques such as 'Side Stream Blending' to take advantage of the variable endothermic and exothermic growth phenomenon experienced during ethanol blending, and utilising dedicated hydraulic power systems to stabilise control of actuator valves, facilitating smooth linear control across the blend range. Likewise, the development of the new MicroBlender V2, sees the introduction of yet more innovation and enhancements, in search of 'The Perfect Blend'. The accuracy and control of bio-fuel blend systems are of paramount importance, and has created some of the toughest challenges, in the form of profiling the handling characteristics of the plethora of new products being introduced into the petroleum distribution network. As has been said many times, “all bio-fuels are not made equal”. Although standards for ethanol and bio-diesel are set out by standards such as ASTM D4806 (ethanol) and ASTM D6751 (bio-diesel), the multitude of base feed-stocks used in producing these products, creates numerous product characteristic and compatibility traits. To assuage some of the problems this has created, the actuator for the slotted V ball control valve on the MicroBlender V2 has been further developed. The new actuator now incorporates just a single piston and is fitted with PTFE dynamic and static seals. This has radically reduced the number of seals in the actuator and enhanced further its reliability and performance. The addition of PTFE seals allows for a common specification across both ethanol and bio-diesel blend applications, thus simplifying maintenance and spares procedures. An added benefit of the unique actuator porting arrangement is the balanced pressurising conditions it generates across the piston, negating the previous issues of fluctuating control pressure from the loading arm. This eliminates the requirement for separate closed loop hydraulic control pressure, and therefore eliminates the requirement for a hydraulic power-pak, previously required on a Multi- Stream Blender. With the slotted V ball valve sized to create a precisely calculated pressure drop across the valve, the system generates its own motive power to control the actuator. Furthermore the actuator now also incorporates a valve positional indicator site glass and multiple bleed points. These small but often overlooked features facilitate both improved system commissioning and simpler maintenance procedures. To further improve this aspect of the MicroBlender V2 system, Enraf has utilised integrated manifold technology, previously developed so successfully for their family of additive injection systems. This has been used to condense the actuator control pipe-work and control solenoid assemblies into one compact manifold block which is mounted directly onto the actuator. This again introduces multiple design benefits. Most obviously, it reduces the size of this section of the system, by eliminating much of the previously extensive control pipe-work which is seen on most load rack control valves. Removal of this pipe-work also drastically reduces the number of possible leak paths, cutting them down the number of original fittings from the 27 to merely 5. It is also acknowledged that the higher cold flow properties of bio-diesel presents operators with the challenge of ensuring that the bio-diesel temperatures are maintained above the manufacturers specified operating limits. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details


The chemical nature of biodiesel allows it to be blended with any kind of distillate or diesel fuel. This includes light fuels such as Jet fuel, Kerosene, No. 1 diesel or military fuel (JP8, JP 5), normal diesel fuel such as No. 2 diesel, ULSD (Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel) for diesel engines or gas turbines, and heating oil for boilers or home heating. Once biodiesel is blended thoroughly with diesel fuel, it stays together as one fuel and does not separate over time (assuming the fuel is maintained at temperatures above its cloud point). Once blended, B20 and lower blends should be treated exactly like conventional petroleum. It is best to store the base product biodiesel (B100) as B20 or some kind of blend as soon as possible regardless of the season. B100 does not store as well as blends and there are always cold weather factors to consider. Storage issues B100 will degrade, soften or seep through some hoses, gaskets, seals/elastomers and attack glues and plastics with prolonged exposure. Common diesel and Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel products use Nitril rubber compounds - but these are not suitable for biodiesel. Polypropylene, Polyvinyl and Tygon materials are also particularly vulnerable to B100 problems. Brass, bronze, copper, lead, tin and zinc may accelerate the oxidation of diesel and biodiesel fuels and potentially create fuel insolubles (sediments) or gels and salts when reacted with some fuel components. All lead solders and zinc linings should be avoided, as should copper pipes, brass regulators and copper fittings, typically used in older water systems. Recommended equipment should be made of stainless steel, carbon steel or aluminium. Deterring growth Like standard petroleum diesel, biodiesel appears to have a growth that creates a black scum and sludge. Small amounts of biocide may be added to deter microbial growth. An additive injector system directly into the biodiesel tank on receipt will provide accurate measurement of the biodiesel and the quantity of additive from the injector. RS485 communications and electronics ensure inventory control accounting and could provide a record by batch of all components. If your process is delivering into a tank, you have the option of installing a noncustody in line ultrasonic stainless steel tube flowmeter (no moving parts). This signals the delivered volume of B-100 to the biocide additive injector electronics to pace in the desired volume per gallon. Another option found in the Krohne Ultrasonic Meter is the capability to provide batch control, temperature and compensation outputs for your system and inventory control monitoring. Identify your biodiesel Since all basic materials are called B100 it is important to discern exactly what the biodiesel you are working with is processed from. Typically we are seeing soy, canola, lard, tallow, palm, coconut, rape seed and other oils as the bases for biodiesel fuel. Biofuel cloud point and pour point properties are severe at 32°F and a homogenous blend of biodiesel is key to quality. At this time B100 is being blended into fuel at 1% - 5%, 10% - 20 % with future 30, 40, 50 and 100% blends. To read this article in full you will need to subscribe to Tank Storage Magazine or buy the back-issue. Click here for further details