June 3, 2019
Tank Farm Explosions - Investigation with CFD and Lessons Learned
Scott Davis, President - Principal Engineer, Gexcon US
Overfills of hydrocarbon tanks are not “generally” considered for major explosions. All too often, it is assumed that there is insufficient congestion or confinement to be a significant explosion hazard. However, if spilled flammable materials get into confined spaces and congested areas, explosions can occur. Advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methodologies were used to investigate the 2005 Buncefield Explosion in UK and 2009 CAPECO Explosion in Puerto Rico. The CFD analyses revealed critical insights into what contributed to these explosions despite the apparent lack of congestion in both cases. Several lessons and inherent safety recommendations are presented based on the results of these analyses.