Range for petrochemical store

by Mark Rowe

At a new petrochemical storage and distribution facility in Ghana, fire detection and alarm equipment has been supplied by the life safety product company, Hochiki Europe.

Called the New Petroleum Products Storage and Distribution Terminal, the facility has eight buildings spread across an area of more than 113,000m2 in the port city of Tema. As Hochiki says, oil and gas facilities can be particularly challenging when it comes to specifying life safety systems. The presence of hazardous and potentially volatile materials, such as petrochemicals, besides higher than usual levels of smoke, dust and other particulates in the atmosphere can pose a challenge for fire detection – resulting in a need for highly intelligent detection devices.

Metron Energy Applications, a Greek-based provider of oil and gas industry construction products, led the development of Tema. The firm tasked fire safety product supplier, Formula Techniki, with delivering a detection system that met the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) National Fire Alarm and Signalling Code. Also known as NFPA 72, this internationally recognised United States standard includes requirements specific to the fire safety risks found in chemical facilities. Any products installed as part of the fire detection system had to be intelligent, and allow the facilities managers to identify hazards for them to take appropriate action to protect the building and its occupants.

Formula Techniki specified a number of products from Hochiki Europe’s Safety Integrity Level (SIL) range. SIL is a standard for the global oil and gas industry, and provides targets around the reliability and performance of the safety systems used to protect such hazardous environments. All of Hochiki’s SIL Approved range provides SIL Level 2 protection.

A total of 18 SIL approved wall sounders and 45 SIL approved photoelectric smoke sensors were installed across the storage site. These sensors feature variable sensitivity levels, allowing the facilities managers to increase or decrease the sensor threshold, depending on the surrounds. This improves the so-called “signal-to-noise” ratio, meaning the sensors can be set to ensure they are not triggered by the background “noise” caused by the constant presence of airborne material normally found in the vicinity, but only by the unique “signals” resulting from the release of extra particles generated by a fire. In doing so, it helps reduce the risk of a false alarm.

Some 19 SIL approved addressable weatherproof manual call points were also installed around the site. These allow building occupants to manually sound the alarm in the event of a fire or life safety incident, further safeguarding against a system failure. They have been designed and approved for use in some of the most demanding applications, including oil platforms and marine the product firm says. Featuring integral short-circuit isolators to ensure loop performance, they also offer response communications in case of false alarms.

Both the photoelectric sensors and the weatherproof manual call points installed at the facility are compatible with Hochiki Europe’s ESP open protocol, in line with Metron Energy Application’s need for a flexible and intelligent fire and life safety solution.

The life safety equipment at Tema has now been installed, and the construction of the new facility is now complete. Angelos Angelikas, Technical Manager at Formula Techniki, said: “In any hazardous environment, there is a whole raft of fire safety considerations that need to be taken into account. To match the increased risks faced by building occupants in these hazardous locations, we needed to use products globally-recognised for their high quality and enhanced performance. With a dedicated range of SIL products and approvals from the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), Hochiki Europe was the obvious choice.”

Daniel Bon, Regional Sales Manager at Hochiki Europe, added: “As a manufacturer that supplies products for use all over the world, it’s critical that we meet the highest standards when it comes to life safety accreditations and legislation. Our presence across Europe, the Middle East and Africa further compliments our commitment to manufacturing high-quality products, as we’re able to provide globally-recognised solutions in some of the most hazardous applications. This project is no exception, and I’m pleased we have been able to supply a fit-for-purpose solution for this challenging environment, helping to ensure optimum protection for the people that will one day be working across the site.”


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