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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

Tank Emissions: True Vapor Pressure and EH&S Data Management

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.

Most businesses that store or blend liquids on site in tanks will eventually find themselves missing chemical component and chemical property data, leaving you guessing exactly what is in your tanks and what types of emissions you should expect.

In many cases, clever EH&S managers can compensate for this missing data using industry standardized variables and factors, but this is not always the case. When it comes to True Vapor Pressure (TVP) the calculations are more complex and require variables you may not have readily available – you’ll need Antoine and Riedel factors if your suppliers didn’t give you the TVP data for your materials.

Tank emissions are directly affected by the TVP of each individual chemical stored or blended in the tank. True Vapor Pressure calculations aren’t something you can turn a blind eye to.

That’s why True Vapor Pressure and any emissions calculations that depend on it are often sticking points for even experienced EH&S managers. Even if they are shorthanded on TVP data, they are still responsible for accurately reporting emissions.

Does your EH&S team struggle with TVP data and calculations?

If so, download your free copy of "The Science of Storage Tanks Emissions", an ebook that will help explain and simplify the tank emissions tracking process. Click here to get your copy.

The challenges of True Vapor Pressure and tank emissions point to a common factor - the benefits of prioritizing EH&S data management:

  • Missing just a little information about a material’s chemical composition could add much more time to your emissions calculating workload.
  • One refinery might need to use several different tools and strategies to calculate TVP for a mixture, depending on type (i.e. crude oil, pure mixtures, non-ideal mixtures, asphalt, etc.).
  • The alternate calculations for TVP require a different set of Reid Vapor Pressure constants, creating more complex work for your EH&S team.
  • When you have complete or nearly complete chemical speciation, TVP calculations can be straightforward – the effort to get better chemical composition data has a high ROI.

TVP calculations don’t have to be a burden on your EH&S tank emissions tracking, but if you haven’t prioritized getting reliable chemical data from your suppliers then TVP calculations could be costing you unnecessary time and money.

Best Practice Solutions

If any of the above points sound familiar to you, here’s three steps you can take to improve your reporting:

1. Obtain a copy of the Material Composition Claim for all mixtures being supplied to your refinery. This in itself can be an enormous challenge.

ERA has had great success in getting more accurate chemical composition data for our clients by creating secure, online data sharing systems between manufacturers and their supply chains. This way, suppliers are more able to supply sensitive information to your business with just a few clicks of a button, and you’ll only have to manage the data that you need.

2. Build a database, or find an Environmental Management System (EMS) that includes a database, of industry-standard constants you can use when data is missing from supplier documents or you’re dealing with challenging materials (for example, crude oil).

Documents from the American Petroleum Institute (API) provide accepted constants you can use for TVP and emission calculations. By building yourself an internal database (that you keep up to date) you’ll streamline your workload.

3. Stop using spreadsheets to track tank variables or calculate tank emissions.

Spreadsheets might seem like a good EH&S tool, but they don’t make the cut when it comes to tank emission calculations. There’s an entire list of reasons why we don’t recommend relying on spreadsheets – in short, they don’t offer your suppliers the security they’ll need to share more comprehensive data you deserve, and they tend to become unwieldy when you start tracking multiple tanks or materials.

Instead, it helps to implement a centralized, web-enabled database specifically designed for tank emissions tracking. Depending on the types of materials and tanks you use, there could be several options available to you. It’s recommended to find one that meets the needs of all your types of tanks and operating scenarios to avoid having to implement several different tools at once.

True Vapor Pressure is just one of many tank variables you need to track, but it can have a significant impact on your entire emissions report. By improving the way you collect and handle your tank materials data TVP calculations and general tank emissions reporting will be simplified and more efficient.

Master the Science of Tanks

Download your complimentary copy of "The Science of Storage Tanks Emissions Calculations" - an ebook written specifically for you, the busy EH&S professional looking for better and simpler tank emissions reporting, by clicking the button below or by clicking here.

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Image used with permission from Joe Loong

Topics: Oil & Gas