February 12, 2011

Hydrogen gas detection in refineries

I chanced upon a good article written by Gassonic on hydrogen gas detection in refineries. The article mentions the following:
"There are several hazards associated with hydrogen, ranging from respiratory ailment, component failure, ignition, and burning. Although a combination of hazards occurs in most instances, the primary hazard with hydrogen is the production of a flammable mixture, which can lead to a fire or explosion. Because its minimum ignition energy in air at atmospheric pressure is about 0.2 mJ, hydrogen is easily ignited. In oil refineries, the first step in the escalation of fire and detonation is loss of containment of the gas. Hydrogen leaks are typically caused by defective seals or gaskets, valve misalignment, or failures of flanges or other equipment. Once released, hydrogen diffuses rapidly. If the leak takes place outdoors, the dispersion of the cloud is affected by wind speed and direction and can be influenced by atmospheric turbulence and nearby structures. With the gas dispersed in a plume, a detonation can occur if the hydrogen and air mixture is within its explosion range and an appropriate ignition source is available. Such flammable mixture can form at a considerable distance from the leak source.
In order to address the hazards posed by hydrogen, manufacturers of fire and gas detection systems work within the construct of layers of protection to reduce the incidence of hazard propagation. Under such a model, each layer acts as a safeguard, preventing the hazard from becoming more severe.The detection layers themselves encompass different detection techniques that either improve scenario coverage or increase the likelihood that a specific type of hazard is detected. Such fire and gas detection layers can consist of catalytic sensors, ultrasonic gas leak monitors, and fire detectors. Ultrasonic gas leak detectors can respond to high pressure releases of hydrogen, such as those that may occur in hydrocracking reactors or hydrogen separators. In turn, continuous hydrogen monitors like catalytic detectors can contribute to detecting small leaks, for example, due to a flange slowly deformed by use or failure of a vessel maintained at close to atmospheric pressure. To further protect a plant against fires, hydrogen-specific flame detectors can supervise entire process areas. Such wide coverage is necessary: Because of hydrogen cloud movement, a fire may be ignited at a considerable distance from the leak source".

Read the article in this link (pdf file -be patient)

Disclaimer: The reader is recommended to to do a survey before purchasing detectors.

No comments:

Post a Comment