LPG tanks play a crucial role in storing liquefied petroleum gas in a safe and efficient manner. Keep reading to find out what exactly is a LPG gas tank, why is such a structure necessary to store this substance and the requirements for a safe LP gas tank.
What is LPG or liquefied petroleum gas?
Liquefied petroleum gas (also known as LPG or LP gas) is a flammable substance made of a mixture of hydrocarbon gases, which tend to be mostly propane and butane and, in a smaller proportion, other substances such as ethylene or ethane.
LPG was first produced by Walter O. Snelling and has been used for more than a century now. As the number of applications liquefied petroleum gas can be used in has grown, so has the demand for this substance.
At the moment, it’s regarded as a cleaner, greener alternative to other fossil fuel energy sources, a view that will make its global market size grow at a CAGR of 4.4% from 2020 to 2027, according to Grand View Research.
This substance is obtained from fossil fuel sources, either through the process of refining petroleum or by extracting it from natural gas sources.
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How to store liquefied petroleum gas
LPG is liquefied in order to maximize its storing opportunities, as 1 liter of LPG has been proved to be as efficient as 270 litres of natural gas.
However, in order to liquify it, it must be subjected to specific cooling and pressure conditions, which must also be maintained during its storage (and potential transportation). The use of LPG tanks and other alternatives such as a LP gas cylinder, a LPG bulk tank, an underground LPG tank or a small LPG tank solves this issue.
Flat-bottom cryogenic tanks are one of the most efficient possibilities to store LPG, in a capacity range that goes from 1,000 to 30,000 m³.
There are a number of risks that must be taken into account when considering LPG tanks:
- There’s a risk of explosion
- LPG leaks may also cause a risk of asphyxiation
- It’s an extremely flammable substance
- In a liquefied state, contact with LPG can cause severe burns
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Uses of LPG tanks
Liquefied petroleum gas can be used in a number of applications, which include:
- Heating (particularly popular in off-grid homes).
- Cooking appliances
- Alternative fuel for cars and other vehicles
- Industrial uses
Thus, just like the storage and transportation of LNG, LPG tanks are the most efficient way to deliver LPG and provide easy access to it.
LPG tanks in industry
A number of industries use LPG as an energy carrier. It’s also used as feedstock for the chemical synthesis of substances such as butene, propylene, ethylene and acrylic acid. Again, LPG tanks serve the purpose of facilitating the different industries’ access to this substance.
Working with LPG tanks
The following safety measures are recommended when working with LPG tanks:
- It’s advisable to install a LPG bulk tank in a well-ventilated or outdoor area and at ground level. Mechanical ventilation systems should be considered in order to guarantee the provision of fresh air.
- LPG tanks must be protected against any source of ignition or heat and incorporate a fire-resistance rating. Combustible materials should also be put away from LPG tanks, as well as anything that may potentially generate static electricity.
- These installations should be located far away from incompatible substances and barrier systems should be considered (for instance, a screen wall made from non-combustible materials).
- Alarm systems and air-quality testing are recommended in order to monitor potential LPG leakages.
- Staff must wear adequate PPE when manipulating LPG tanks in order to avoid freezer burns and other hazards.
- Correct maintenance programs must be guaranteed to avoid tank bursts and other safety issues.
- Pressure-relief valves are common accessories for a LP gas cylinder. These can help release pressure in case a pressure build-up endangers the system.
- The engineering team in charge of designing and implementing LPG tanks must follow the required national and international legislation and quality protocols.
- LPG tanks must be stored in a vertical position and their valves closed. The use of appropriate restraining methods must also be considered, including chains or safety straps.
- These storage solutions must also keep all necessary documentation registering the safety measures that have been undertaken, as well as all documentation related to dangerous goods protocols.
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All in all, LPG tanks represent an efficient and safe method to store liquefied petroleum gas. In the case of industrial LPG use, these storing solutions should be part of an engineering process that takes into account this substance’s specific needs.
At Cryospain we help companies fulfill their cryogenic storage needs, delivering custom-made storage equipment that is safe and complies with all relevant requirements. Get in touch with us and see how we can help you.