Case Study: Safety Assessment of Plant Layout between Ethylene Storage Tanks and Process Equipment According to Capacity and Weather Conditions

Jae Young Choi, Sang Hoon Byeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In a chemical plant, even if an explosion occurs in a storage tank that handles flammable materials, the minimum separation distance is applied in a way to prevent chain explosion. This is because when an explosion occurs in a storage tank, thermal radiation affects nearby process equipment and causes a chain explosion. The separation distance between storage tanks and process equipment in a chemical plant depends on the global engineering guidelines PIP (Process Industry Practice) PNE00003 and GAPS (Global Asset Protection Services) GAP.2.5.2. However, there is a limitation in the global engineering guidelines that provide only a consistent separation distance according to the item types without considering the storage capacity and climatic conditions around the storage tank. This study analyzed the distance of thermal radiation (up to 37.5 kW/m2) according to the capacity of ethylene storage tank and climatic conditions by utilizing the Phast (DNV GL), which is widely used as a tool for quantitative risk analysis. The accident scenario was applied using the U.S. EPA (Environment Protection Agency)'s worst leakage accident scenario, considering climate variables, air temperature, wind speed, and atmospheric stability. In the simulation, atmospheric stability did not affect the radius of thermal radiation. Moreover, the thermal radiation tended to increase with increase in wind speed in the ambient condition and winter, but not in summer. Because both PIP PNE00003 and GAP.2.5.2 yield consistent separation distances without considering storage capacity and weather conditions, quantitative risk analysis of the results of thermal radiation is necessary to ensure safety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 21


  • ethylene
  • QRA
  • safety distance
  • thermal radiation
  • weather variable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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