Rembe says its bursting discs can be more effective in refineries than safety valves
25 April 2012
Safety valves are used in refinery processes to guard against hazardous overpressures. Safety valves provide numerous advantages, opening when pressure becomes too high and automatically closing after venting. However, a drawback is that safety valves are very maintenance-intensive, and cannot always ensure liquid containment.
Stefan Penno, Managing Director of Rembe GmbH Safety & Control, the German process safety specialist, says: “Incessant material wastage weakens the value-added chain, pollutes the environment and demands increased maintenance efforts, which is costly.”
A study conducted by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) substantiates this conclusion: 22-27% of all leakages and liquid release events are from flange connections. This results in an annual loss of gases and liquids of approximately 106 tonnes, while leakage losses from shaft seals add an additional 388 tonnes, worth an estimated 268 million euros in the Netherlands alone.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 40,000 tonnes of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) alone are emitted in the USA every year.
Rembe, which has specialised in process safety and explosion protection for nearly forty years, recommends that refinery operators revise their solutions to this problem.
Penno says: “The installation of safety valves in every possible situation doesn’t make sense. There are certain sensitive process areas where one is better advised to install robust bursting discs.”
Rembe has developed a unique two-layered reverse-acting buckling-pin bursting disc, BT-KUB, which is based on the buckling-pin principle first discovered by Leonard Euler. As opposed to other bursting disc manufacturers, Rembe does not use mechanical scoring due to the fact that response pressures are accurately defined by Euler’s buckling-pins, which are positioned by state-of-the-art laser technology.
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