Development of a Vapor Cloud Explosion Risk Analysis Tool Using Exceedance Methodology
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In development projects, designers should take into consideration the possibility of a vapor cloud explosion in the siting and design of a process plant from day one. The most important decisions pertinent to the location of different process areas, separation between different areas, location of occupied buildings and overall layout may be made at the conceptual stage of the project. During the detailed design engineering stage the final calculation of gas explosion loads is an important activity. However, decisions related to the layout and location of occupied buildings at this stage could be very costly. Therefore, at the conceptual phase of the development project for a hydrocarbon facility, it would be helpful to get a picture of possible vapor cloud explosion loads to be used in studying various options. This thesis presents the analytical parameters that are used in vapor cloud explosion risk analysis. It proposes a model structure for the analysis of vapor cloud explosion risks to buildings based on exceedance methodology. This methodology was developed in a computer program which is used to support this thesis. The proposed model considers all possible gas release scenarios through the use of the Monte Carlo simulation. The risk of vapor cloud explosions can be displayed using exceedance curves. The resulting model provides a predictive tool for vapor cloud explosion problems at the early stages of development projects, particularly in siting occupied buildings in onshore hydrocarbon facilities. It can also be used as a quick analytical tool for investigating various aspects of vapor cloud explosions. This model has been applied to a case study, a debutanizer process unit. The model was used to explore the different alternatives of locating a building near the facility. The results from the model were compared to the results of other existing software to determine the model validity. The results show that the model can effectively examine the risk of vapor cloud explosions.
Alghamdi, Salem (2011). Development of a Vapor Cloud Explosion Risk Analysis Tool Using Exceedance Methodology. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from