There are notable, if unfortunate, major incidents where chemicals cause accidents, including explosions and loss of life.
Relief pressure valves are vital to storage tank safety, but they must be reliable and durable.
Modern valves can now be manufactured as bespoke fibreglass products. These are used primarily on installed above-ground storage tanks.
Storage Tank Disasters
In 1966, a propane storage sphere exploded in Feyzin, France. Due to an error in opening a cracked valve, a vapour cloud formed which then burst into flame. 90 minutes later the sphere erupted, killing several people nearby. The leakage from the first sphere led to the damage and further propane escaping from a second sphere.
In the end, the fire killed 18 and injure 81.
In Flixborough, in North Lincolnshire, there was a large explosion at the Nypro UK site, killing 28 workers and injuring 36 of them. The chemical Cyclohexane was later found to be leaking from one of the reactors on site, following the rupture of a bypass system.
The gas leak at Bhopal in India, in 1984, is still regarded as the worst tragedy in the history of the chemical industry. Here, at the Union Carbide plant, there was a reaction in one of the tanks containing 42 tons of MIC, or methyl isocyanate.
This resulted in the tank venting itself, releasing toxic gas which blew over Bhopal, carried on the north westerly wind.
Hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to it. The final death toll was around 25,000, with injuries at over 550,000.
At the BP Texas City oil refinery in 2005, a fire and explosion killed 15 workers and 170 were left with injuries. A unit known as a raffinate splitter overflowed, following over-pressurisation.
Following the accident, BP was forced to pay a fine of $21billion, and ultimately sold the refinery.
he accident at Texas City highlighted the need for the industry to enforce a stronger safety culture while increasing risk management.
Fibreglass Relief Valves
Where highly corrosive and toxic chemicals and substances are involved, fiberglass provides the ideal material for relief valves.
These valves protect tanks from damage when there is over-pressurising, or an excessive vacuum.
Fibreglass is incredibly strong, but also adaptable and versatile in a whole range of industrial applications, and it can play a vital role in on-site safety.
Discover more about the visionary, versatile benefits of bespoke fibreglass products and the many ways you can use GRP. Contact Fibreglass Solutions.