Project Synopsis

Provide process engineering design assistance to select and design a VOC combustion system at a crude oil pipeline facility truck loading station.

Project Summary


The client, an engineering company, was asked by the ultimate client, a pipeline operating company, to design a flare and flare header system for a truck loading station at a sweet crude oil storage facility in the Western U.S.  The client, in turn, asked Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to facilitate their design effort by determining if a flare was the appropriate vapor combustion technology for this facility.  Specific tasks for this analysis included:

  • Establishing the design criteria for the vapor combustion technology, including the volumetric flow rate and composition of the vapor stream flowing from the truck loading station
  • Determining the destruction and removal efficiency (DRE) requirements of the state’s Air Quality Department for the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) emitted from the truck loading station
  • Identifying the various available vapor combustion technologies (e.g., flare, thermal oxidizer, etc.) to determine which one is best suited for this application.

PROCESS worked with the client to establish the maximum truck loading rate in order to determine the design flow of the vent stream from the trucks.  In addition, PROCESS utilized its licensed commercial computer process simulation software to help determine the composition of the vapor stream based on the composition of the sweet crude oil at the facility and the anticipated loading temperature and pressure.  PROCESS also conducted phone interviews with personnel in the state’s Air Quality Department to establish a required DRE of 98% for the facility.  Using this design information, PROCESS determined that an enclosed ground flare with assist gas was the most appropriate vapor combustion technology for this application given the up-and-down nature of the truck loading process.

After establishing the required vapor combustion technology, the client asked PROCESS to perform a hydraulic analysis of their preliminary flare header design to help ensure that the backpressure in the trucks during the loading process does not exceed 1.0 psig.  PROCESS used simulation software to perform the analysis.  The initial results from the analysis predicted very little backpressure in the tank trucks, therefore, PROCESS worked with the client to determine the smallest possible size of the individual truck vapor lines and the main flare header that would still prevent the backpressure in the trucks from approaching the 1.0 psig limit.

PROCESS provided a letter report to the client presenting the results of the vapor combustion technology evaluation and the flare header hydraulic analysis.  PROCESS also provided documentation of the full simulation results for the client’s records.

Industry Type

  • Oil Pipeline Operations

Utilized Skills

  • Thermal combustion alternatives evaluation
  • Truck loading systems hydraulic analysis

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