Theia takes on Dangerous Tank Vapors

Safety and Environmental Compliance through Innovation

A customer that is a leader in depot and transportation services for chemicals operates a terminal facility in NJ that offers cleaning, heating, inspection, repair, testing, modification, empty and loaded storage, and refurbishment of ISO tank containers.  One of these applications is for unloading tankers than contain a rather difficult chemical that is a both extremely flammable and a strong oxidant.

The customer needed to treat the air and gas generated during loading and unloading operations to reduce the risk for workers as well as eliminate and damage to the environment from the release of chemical during this operation.  Other measures they have in place in other facilities have not been efficient or effective in dealing with this chemical.

Theia was contacted based on its expertise in dealing with air treatment applications as well as their growing reputation for innovative solutions.  As we have many times in the past, Theia designed a system that addressed the customer’s specific requirements while keeping the design of the system such that it utilized readily available equipment and supplies.  Because of the service, all “wetted” or contact parts needed to be stainless steel.  The only plastic used on the service was Kalrez.

Challenge:  as stated above, the chemical in question is extremely unstable as well as being a strong oxidizing agent.  Additionally, the addition of moisture to this chemical greatly increases its reactivity.  The customer needed a treatment technology that did not use water.  Detailed research indicated that activated carbon could be effective in adsorbing the chemical without adding to its reactivity or danger.  However, as carbon is a consumable item, means had to be provided for replacing this media that would not re-volatile the chemical or present a danger to workers performing the service.

Theia provided a Vertical Bed media design which sends the air/gas horizontally through the bed as opposed to vertically like conventional beds.  This step allowed us to use our unique “Easy-Dump” system that allows the operator to empty the media bed by simply opening a specially designed bottom hatch.  This action allows the spent media to drop into a bulk bag or rolloff container.  This design removes the need for an outside contractor to service the vessels using a vacuum truck.

Challenge: tankers are under up to 40 PSIG of internal pressure.  This pressure is sufficient to allow the vapors to be evacuated very quickly which would require a very large vapor treatment system as well as one rated at high pressure.  A conventional system would have been very large to treat such a vapor stream. Considering the material requirements, the system would have been many times the cost of the system provided.   Theia designed a unique vapor “dosing system” that allowed the system to control the rate at which the vapors were evacuated from the tankers.  This designed allowed the use of smaller lower pressure vessels.

Theia not only provided a system that was more efficient or effective than anything the customer had previously used, we reduced the cost of the overall system by designing a better solution.  An idea is only a solution if the customer can afford it.