Dr. Yougen Kong is Technical Support Manager at Gexcon US, a leading process safety company with expertise in flammable gas dispersion, fires and explosions. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and is experienced in process hazard analysis, handling of hazardous chemicals and chemical manufacturing processes.
Gexcon US provides laboratory, research and development, advanced engineering services, and develops the industry standard CFD software for predictive consequences in the O&G industry.
The recent disastrous fires and explosions at KMCO in Crosby and ITC in Deer Park once again remind us of the importance of not only understanding the risks associated with unintentional releases of flammable hydrocarbons, but also help find ways to mitigate the potential for escalation of such incidents.
A large vapor cloud explosion (VCE) followed by a fire is one of the most dangerous and high consequence events that can occur at petrochemical facilities, such as what occurred at KMCO. As the size and complexity of facilities increase, designs must consider the potential adverse effects associated with not only the dispersion of flammable vapors but also the potential vapor cloud explosions in large congested areas. In fact, if a vapor cloud forms within a congested region and it is large enough, the resulting flame or deflagration can continually accelerate within this region and ultimately reach the point where the deflagration can transition to a more devastating detonation or deflagration-todetonation transition (DDT). As the consequences of DDTs can be orders of magnitude larger than deflagrations, facilities that are at risk need to implement mitigation measures to prevent flames from continuously accelerating in these regions.
These types of flame acceleration phenomena also apply to storage tank depots. For example, the fire at the ITC facility in Deer park could have been much worse. Traditionally, chemical storage tank depots only consider single or multiple tank fires as the worst-case scenarios for their facilities, similar to that observed at the ITC facility. However, recent incidents have shown that massive explosions can in fact occur during storage tank overfills, whereby the product cascades down the tank wall and can form massive vapor clouds. If the vapor clouds migrate into confined spaces or congested areas, explosions can occur. Massive explosions that likely transitioned to DDT have occurred at chemical storage tank facilities and will be presented.
This presentation also shows how to use advanced computational fluid dynamic (CFD) methodologies to not only understand and predict the consequences of unintentional releases, such as the flammable vapor dispersion, fires and explosions, but also evaluate and apply mitigation measures to help manage such events.
For more information before the presentation, please review the below Youtube Videos:
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