Evaporation losses and dispersion of volatile organic compounds from tank farms

Source of Publication

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment


© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. The present study is an application of a Gaussian dispersion model to evaluate volatilization losses from tank farms. It reports methodology to estimate evaporation losses of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from organic liquid in storage tanks. This study used fixed roof and floating roof equations for breathing and working losses. Total loss, the breathing loss, vapor pressure, molecular weight of the product, tank diameter, diurnal temperature, paint factor, tank capacity, and number of turnovers were considered and factored in the calculation. AERMOD and ALOHA softwares were used to simulate the dispersion of VOCs under normal and accidental scenarios. For the modeling purposes, meteorological data such as annual average ambient temperature, annual average atmospheric pressure, daily minimum ambient temperature, daily maximum ambient temperature, solar insulation factor, and average wind speed were included as input in the calculation and modeling activities. The study took place in Sharjah Emirate in United Arab Emirates, which borders Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north, and the three form a conurbation. The reported method was used to estimate evaporation losses for baseline and hypothetical leak scenarios. Results of this research show that liquid storage tanks in the study area emit a low concentration of VOC under the studied and assumed conditions, e.g., new tanks with high performance sealing as well as the noted earlier climatic conditions. The dispersion of those concentrations is controlled by the prevailing wind direction. The predicted VOCs concentrations were within the range of the measured VOCs values in air. The study found that the spatial distributions of the predicted concentration attenuate with time and distance. Under the reported accidental spill scenario, the Gaussian model indicates that the danger area starts within the zone of less than 10 m. The danger area is subjected to flame pockets, and the VOC concentrations in this area will exceed 19,800 ppm.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Fares M. Howari, Zayed University