Conference Papers

PDF icon"Selection of Cases for Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling"

Authors: Thuc Ngo, P.E., Zubin Kumana, P.E., John Burgess, P.E.
Date: 2017

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In many industrial facilities, toxic and/or flammable substances are discharged directly to the atmosphere. To ensure safe operation and compliance with health, safety and environment regulations, it is important to determine the potential consequences to the public and to personnel working in the facilities. Atmospheric dispersion modeling is a useful tool to provide plant owners with the information to make decisions in such cases. However, given the numerous potential releases from multiple scenarios, it can be impractical to perform modeling for all cases. Typical industrial standards do not provide sufficient guidance for...”

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PDF icon"Scaling Up Safely: Making Smarter Decisions about Rate Dependency"

Authors: Zubin Kumana, P.E., Venkata Badam, P.E., Achilles Arnaez, P.E.
Date: 2016

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“Over the lifetime of a facility, it is almost a certainty that the throughput of a process will be increased, often repeatedly.  Rate-dependency is frequently used as a way to identify pressure relief system sizing that would be affected by the scaling up of process throughput.   This paper will define rate-dependency as it relates to pressure relief systems and describe the various ways in which rate-dependent classifications may be affected by...”

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PDF icon"Improving Prevention and Mitigation Efforts Related to Accidental Releases of LNG"

Authors: Jesse Brumbaugh, P.E., John Burges, P.E., Keith Farrell, MS ChE
Date: 2016

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“Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is a rapidly growing industry, both in terms of the increase in export terminals, as well as the growing number of regasification plants required to put natural gas back into pipelines. In the selection of a location or design of new facilities, the potential impact of an accidental release must be evaluated. Some of the protective and mitigative measures required by...”

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PDF icon“How Maintaining Current Heat & Material Balances Commits to Process Safety”

Authors: Dustin Smith, P.E.
Date: 2015

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“A Heat & Material Balance (H&MB) is a valuable component of Process Safety Management (PSM) because it helps to follow the four pillars of risk-based process safety. It is important to ensure H&MBs are updated on a regular basis to accurately represent how the process is running. An H&MB is a valuable source of information for many aspects of PSM such as; Relief Systems Analysis, Process Hazard Analysis (PHA), and Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA). If the information is not accurate and current, the analysis may lead to inaccuracies and inconsistencies that could result in: increased expense (rework), increased exposure (citations), and greater potential for incidents. This paper will look at some of the possible consequences of not having up-to-date H&MB in regards to a Relief System Analysis, PHA, or a LOPA.”

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PDF icon“Changes Between API STD 521 6th Ed and 5th Ed Cataloged”

Authors: Dustin Smith, P.E., & John Burgess, P.E.
Date: 2015

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“API STD 521, Pressure-relieving and Depressuring Systems, is perhaps the most thorough published guideline on how to size relief devices and flare systems. This paper reviews the differences between the 6th Edition of API STD 521 (Published in 2014) and the 5th edition (Published in 2007). The authors will review changes and highlight several new requirements that are deemed critical to relief systems design. The paper is based on a comprehensive review of the two editions and is a valuable resource for any engineer or process designer who needs to be knowledgeable of the latest relief systems recommendations.”

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PDF icon“Changes Between API STD 520 – Part II 6th Ed and 5th Ed Cataloged”

Authors: Dustin Smith, P.E.
Date: 2015

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“A pressure relief system designer must make some assumptions when looking at a relief systems analysis. Some assumptions may result in costly modifications of the system, so knowing when to apply certain assumptions is paramount with the ability to accurately size a relief valve. When looking at systems, industry standards should be consulted before taking certain credits based on the given scenario. For example, the designer may be able to reduce the relief load by looking at a reduced reboiler duty and a temperature pinch during an overpressure event. When evaluating an inlet control valve failure, some credits may…”

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PDF icon“Making Relief Load Estimates Match Reality”

Authors: Nicholas Cristea & Dustin Smith, P.E.
Date: 2013

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“A pressure relief system designer must make some assumptions when looking at a relief systems analysis. Some assumptions may result in costly modifications of the system, so knowing when to apply certain assumptions is paramount with the ability to accurately size a relief valve. When looking at systems, industry standards should be consulted before taking certain credits based on the given scenario. For example, the designer may be able to reduce the relief load by looking at a reduced reboiler duty and a temperature pinch during an overpressure event. When evaluating an inlet control valve failure, some credits may be taken for the minimum turndown for the outflow. However, when looking at…”

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PDF icon“Effects of Process Variables on Peak Relief Rates Estimated by Dynamic Simulation for a Multiple Distillation Column System”

Authors: Dustin Smith, P.E. & John Wilkins
Date: 2013

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“Process engineers and designers have recently turned to using dynamic analysis as a more realistic method for sizing relief systems. The primary goal of using dynamic analysis is to ensure that modifications are truly required instead of making unnecessary and costly upgrades of relief systems based on overly conservative calculations. In work previously presented by the authors, it has been shown that, for certain overpressure scenarios, the dynamic relief rates predicted by dynamic simulation are significantly affected by certain operating conditions. This paper shows the effects of process variables on the relief loads estimated by dynamic simulation for multiple columns. This paper will also show how these effects would impact the flare load for a unit with multiple columns. The multiple column system is based on…”

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PDF icon“Snares to LOPA: Action Items”

Authors: Glenn Rozmus, PhD, P.E., Dustin Smith, P.E., & Dick Baum
Date: 2013

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“Greater numbers of action items are being generated from the LOPA process as it becomes increasingly utilized as a method for risk evaluation. The quantity and type of action items result from the combination of initiating events, conditional modifiers, and prescribed guidelines. The quality of the inputs determines whether the action items will actually provide any additional safety benefit. This paper is not a procedure for performing a LOPA analysis, but presents issues to be aware of when generating a list of initiating events, evaluation of the initiating event severities, and the influence of conditional modifiers.”

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PDF icon“An Engineering Method to Mitigate the Impact of Regulatory Focus on Relief System Installations by Prioritizing Risk”

Authors: Dustin Smith, P.E.
Date: 2013

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“Since around 2005, regulators in the United States have put greater emphasis on relief device installations meeting the 3% rule. Spending large amounts of money to "fix" relief device installations that pose no safety risk decreases the plant's overall safety. To date, more incidents have occurred during facility construction / modifications than due to relief device chatter. This paper presents a method to assist engineers in determining if relief devices are susceptible to chatter. The methodology in this paper provides an engineering study to determine if existing installations are safe, which are allowed in the relevant engineering standards (API STD 520), and shows the research data by…”

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PDF icon“Process Safety as a Career Foundation”

Authors: Andrew Stein & Jason White, P.E.
Date: 2013

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“The foundation of one’s profession can have an exponential effect on the lifelong development of their careers. There may be no stronger launching point than the lessons learned as a young engineer specializing in process safety. A young engineer building a foundation on process safety may have the opportunity to work on and visit a magnitude of different processes and environments. One may also see similar processes operated in different manners. However, a vast range of exposure is not the only valuable material in the development of a career. In a relatively short period of time, one specializing in process safety can learn to understand how safety can sometimes become an afterthought for many process engineers. This can ultimately lead to costly…”

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PDF icon“Heat Integration and Relief Systems Design”

Publication: Process Safety Progress
Authors: Jason White, P.E., & Jason Spearow, P.E.
Date: 2013

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“Heat integration is commonly skipped when evaluating a process’ relief systems design. Failing to evaluate the heat integration (or energy balance) for a process can result in overly conservative results and possibly lead to costly expenditures. Evaluating the effects of heat integration in relief systems design is a process that evaluates the physical limitations of the system and does not require taking credit for control system response. It is important to understand the effects that heat integration has on both individual relief devices, and in some cases, the significant affect it can have on flare system design. This becomes even more imperative in cases where relief devices that once discharged to the atmosphere are modified to discharge into a closed flare system. This paper covers two examples where…”

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PDF icon“Things Plant Engineers Should Know about Reviewing Relief Valve & Flare Action Items”

Authors: Dustin Smith, P.E., & John Burgess, P.E.
Date: 2012

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“This paper serves as a resource for Plant Engineers who are in the process of understanding and reviewing relief and flare system action items and the task of complying with regulatory compliance. Throughout the process of implementing and maintaining a PSM Program, action items are created. The methodology instructs the Plant Engineer on the basics of how to review these action items, what kind of action items to expect, how to quickly verify if the action items are correct and if corrective action is warranted.”

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