CCPS Technical Steering Committee’s Europe Regional Meeting Wrap-Up

On March 6 and 7, the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) held the Technical Steering Committee’s Europe Regional Meeting in Leverkusen, Germany. The meeting was well attended by many European and multinational companies and there were many lively discussions about various aspects of process safety, including events, the state of the art and the state of practice. The meeting was sponsored by Covestro. Representatives from P&G, Dekra, Essenscia, MOL, Syngenta, Sabic, ADM, Repsol, Arkema, Berkshire Hathaway, AIG, and WorldSteel were in attendance. 

The meeting was held at the hotel adjacent to the major soccer stadium, but there was no soccer match going on. Just a lot of very interesting, animated, and highly technical exchanges of ideas. For most attendees, English was not their first language, but that did not deter anyone from speaking up or contributing. The entire meeting was conducted in English and everyone was able express their thoughts and present with minimal issues, if any.

Suppressing fire fronts

The presentations included a novel new way of suppressing vapor cloud explosion, by the representative of TOTAL. By studying the microdynamics of combustion kinetics, the research presented insight into the chemical reactions during a fire. The injection of an inhibitor was proposed, to suppress or control the spread of the fire front. Several videos were presented demonstrating the experiments. The technology is being deployed in an active petrochemical facility and the presenters are open to sharing the applications at other facilities.

Water hammer and other incidents

Did you know that a water hammer does not require any water? We heard about a water hammer incident in a pipe carrying hydrocarbons. New ways of reporting and tracking process safety incidents consistently, in a multi-national, multi-cultural company, were presented. When RAGAGEP exceeds minimum regulatory requirements, how does one tackle the challenge of doing the right thing? We discussed some examples of this. We also saw a potential use of virtual reality systems to enhance process safety.

Attendee feedback

Overall feedback from the attendees to the meeting was excellent. Everyone took away something useful and was glad to be in attendance. CCPS was seen as a global brand instead of being limited to the U.S. There was a strong desire expressed to have more CCPS events in Europe. In general, there were two types of reactions at the meeting wrap-up. 1. Wow! CCPS is doing a lot more than we were aware of.  2. We need to contact our U.S. colleagues to get more information so that we, too, can benefit from being a CCPS member.