Industrial accidents triggered by lightning: causes and consequences

Tripaldi, Pietro (2013) Industrial accidents triggered by lightning: causes and consequences. [Laurea magistrale], Università di Bologna, Corso di Studio in Ingegneria chimica e di processo [LM-DM270], Documento ad accesso riservato.
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Natural hazards affecting industrial installations could directly or indirectly cause an accident or series of accidents with serious consequences for the environment and for human health. Accidents initiated by a natural hazard or disaster which result in the release of hazardous materials are commonly referred to as Natech (Natural Hazard Triggering a Technological Disaster) accidents. The conditions brought about by these kinds of events are particularly problematic, the presence of the natural event increases the probability of exposition and causes consequences more serious than standard technological accidents. Despite a growing body of research and more stringent regulations for the design and operation of industrial activities, Natech accidents remain a threat. This is partly due to the absence of data and dedicated risk-assessment methodologies and tools. Even the Seveso Directives for the control of risks due to major accident hazards do not include any specific impositions regarding the management of Natech risks in the process industries. Among the few available tools there is the European Standard EN 62305, which addresses generic industrial sites, requiring to take into account the possibility of lightning and to select the appropriate protection measures. Since it is intended for generic industrial installations, this tool set the requirements for the design, the construction and the modification of structures, and is thus mainly oriented towards conventional civil building. A first purpose of this project is to study the effects and the consequences on industrial sites of lightning, which is the most common adverse natural phenomenon in Europe. Lightning is the cause of several industrial accidents initiated by natural causes. The industrial sectors most susceptible to accidents triggered by lightning is the petrochemical one, due to the presence of atmospheric tanks (especially floating roof tanks) containing flammable vapors which could be easily ignited by a lightning strike or by lightning secondary effects (as electrostatic and electromagnetic pulses or ground currents). A second purpose of this work is to implement the procedure proposed by the European Standard on a specific kind of industrial plant, i.e. on a chemical factory, in order to highlight the critical aspects of this implementation. A case-study plant handling flammable liquids was selected. The application of the European Standard allowed to estimate the incidence of lightning activity on the total value of the default release frequency suggested by guidelines for atmospheric storage tanks. Though it has become evident that the European Standard does not introduce any parameters explicitly pointing out the amount of dangerous substances which could be ignited or released. Furthermore the parameters that are proposed to describe the characteristics of the structures potentially subjected to lightning strikes are insufficient to take into account the specific features of different chemical equipment commonly present in chemical plants.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di laurea (Laurea magistrale)
Autore della tesi
Tripaldi, Pietro
Relatore della tesi
Corso di studio
Processi e materiali
Ordinamento Cds
Parole chiave
Nathec events, lightning, risk assessment, chemical plant
Data di discussione della Tesi
18 Dicembre 2013

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