Propane Bulk Plant Design Trends
Propane marketers face numerous challenges when deciding when and where to locate their propane bulk storage plants. Regulatory limits on available locations, access to transportation routes, proximity to customers and flow volumes are but a few factors which determine the number and location of these facilities. Construction costs are also high which may give cause for companies to hold back on investing in large fixed permanent installations.
Recently Northridge Electric in conjunction with manufacturers of large storage tanks have developed a modular approach to solving the issues of high cost permanent installations. Propane tanks of 30-60K gallon capacity are mounted on a structural steel skid rail frame instead of traditional cast in place concrete piers. Site preparation consists of establishing a properly compacted gravel base to support the skid rail tank. The structural frame of the tank also supports the filling and offloading bulkheads as well as the pumps, valves and related piping. The frame of the tank provides support for control wiring and nitrogen lines. Purchasing a pre-built control system from Northridge gives the marketer a complete pre-fabricated control system which also attaches to the tank frame. These systems consist of explosionproof control stations to operate the bulkheads and pumps, nitrogen solenoids, pressure switch and related controls to operate the valves as well as a control panel (generally mounted remotely in a non-hazardous location) to operate all of the above. Additionally marketers can add emergency stop operators, gas detectors, meters, lighting and other features including remote monitoring of the facility if it is un-manned. On remote sites, without power, it is also possible to incorporate a packaged generator system to power the plant.
What are the costs of a Site Construction?
Site construction costs are greatly reduced; a flat site with proper grading and sub-base are all that’s required. Also much of the piping and electrical work being able to be done off-site reduces the need for bringing in specialized trades; especially on remote sites. The electrical site work is limited to running power and control connections between the control panel and the pump as well as a numbered explosion proof terminal box at the tank. Local electricians who may be unfamiliar with control work in hazardous locations or sophisticated controls can easily put the system together.
If extra storage is required, a second propane tank can be installed adjacent to the first and manifolded together
Should the propane bulk plant need to be relocated, the tank can be dismounted from the skid rail, and relocated to a new site. As most of the components are attached to the skid rail, they can be transported together. There is no concrete to demolish, and no significant amount of abandoned wiring or piping to walk away from and set up time is extremely minimal.
Northridge designs and builds propane control systems which are safer, more “user friendly” and easier to install than anything else on the market