by: Pete Neil
Many Canadian fuel site operators are familiar with this painful truth: temperature has a profound effect on fueling operations, often causing retailers fuel inventory management headaches. Thankfully, manufacturers are beginning to develop tank gauging solutions specifically designed to limit these headaches. Advancements in line leak detection and phase separation detection are two such examples.
Line Leak Detection
Some areas of Canada are beginning to require line leak detectors (LLDs) at fuel dispensing facilities. Regardless of regional regulatory nuances, Canadian fuel site operators need to take line leak detection seriously. Here’s why: according to the Petroleum Equipment Institute, more than half the leaks that occur in underground fuel storage systems happen in piping.
There are three basic types of leak detectors: mechanical line leak detectors (MLLDs), pressurized line leak detectors (PLLDs) and volumetric line leak detectors (VLLDs).
Mechanical line leak detectors (MLLD) monitor pressure when the pump is turned on, allowing a small amount of product to flow and create pressure in the pipe. If the MLLD detects a lack of pressure (a sign of a leak), it restricts the flow of fuel to the dispenser. MLLDs only detect catastrophic leaks of 11.4 or more liters per hour.
Pressurized line leak detectors (PLLDs) use algorithms to equate pressure decay into a volume loss to determine if a line is tight. Volumetric line leak detectors (VLLDs) maintain a constant line pressure during testing by continuously running the pump to measure flow rates. Both PLLDs and VLLDs are considered electronic line leak detectors (ELLD), which operate in conjunction with an automatic tank gauge to detect large leaks (11.4 lph or higher) as well as much smaller leaks (.76 lph and .38 lph).
Unfortunately, MLLDs and PLLDs are both vulnerable to thermal conditions. If the temperature of the product decreases as it moves from the tank into the piping, the volume of the product decreases. This causes a loss of pressure in the line. MLLD and PLLD systems are susceptible to false alarms due to thermal contraction. MLLDs will slow flow, while automatic tank gauging systems with PLLDs will issue an alarm, shutting the pump down.
Phase Separation Detection
When enough water mixes with ethanol-blended fuel, the ethanol absorbs the water molecules. The water-saturated alcohol molecules become too heavy to remain suspended in the gasoline solution. They drop to the bottom of the tank, creating layers of different mixtures of product, including an equipment-damaging alcohol and water (aqueous ethanol) layer. This process is known as phase separation.
Phase separation detection is another aspect of fuel monitoring that is vulnerable to false alarms that are predicated by temperature swings. There are two primary types of phase separation monitoring devices: a phase separation float, which is weighted to a specific density of the aqueous fluid, and a phase separation sensor, which continuously monitors for fluctuations in product density.
Both devices monitor water heights (the primary contributing factor to phase separation) and prompt ATGs to issue alarms. However, float-based phase separation detection devices are unable to account for thermal changes inside a UST. For instance, fuel inside a tanker heats up on warm days. When that warm fuel is added to the cooler fuel in the UST, this temperature change causes the density of the product to fluctuate. Float-based phase separation devices are unable to account for the thermal change and subsequent density fluctuation, which results in false phase separation alarms.
Fuel site operators frustrated by false line leak or phase separation alarms have been known to override the system settings to prevent the pump from shutting down. This stop-gap measure should be avoided at all costs, as it puts the site at risk of failing to detect an authentic (and costly) problem in a timely manner.
New volumetric line leak detectors measure actual leak rates to provide more accurate measurements than pressure-decay methods. In addition, new VLLDs can perform gross/catastrophic line leak tests even if the STP motor is in a continuous run state while no dispensing is taking place (some PLLDs perform tests only after the pump has stopped running). Further, ATGs equipped with VLLDs require pressure equalization between the line and the motor before the test starts. Because pressure equalization is established before testing, the likelihood of false alarms caused by thermal contraction is eliminated.
New aqueous ethanol float-sensor solutions utilize a sensor to continuously monitor fuel quality to provide real-time, thermal-corrected density readings that accurately account for temperature changes in the UST. In addition, compatible tank gauges can be programmed at specific density thresholds to issue a warning, and then if conditions continue to deteriorate the system will trigger an alarm to shut the pump down.
By eliminating false alarms, new line leak detection and phase separation monitoring solutions help fuel retailers keep product flowing, ensure their fuel quality is on point and help prevent catastrophic compliance incidents. A full-featured tank gauging system supported by advanced monitoring components such as aqueous ethanol sensors and VLLDs will help streamline operations overall to ensure fuel retailers can focus on growing their bottom line.
Pete Neil is the global product manager at OPW Fuel Management Systems, based in Hodgkins, IL. Neil has considerable expertise in tank monitoring equipment solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com. For more information about OPW, please visit www.OPWGlobal.com.
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> Armor All’s Essential Blends oil-infused air fresheners
CINCINNATI, OH – June 11, 2018 – DeanHouston, Inc., a leading full-service, business-to-business, integrated marketing communications firm, will celebrate its 30th anniversary as an agency this year.
Since launching in the summer of 1988, DeanHouston has undergone a significant transformation mirroring that of the rapidly evolving business landscapes in which it operates. With co-founders Dale Dean, Greg Houston and Pam Houston at the helm – and also as the only staff members – their small technical products-focused boutique agency quickly developed into a fully integrated organization that today employs more than 70 talented marketing professionals operating from the company’s offices located in Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Chicago and Shanghai.
The company boasts a full range of integrated marketing services, beginning with strategic marketing followed by traditional and digital marketing strategies, brand development, graphic design, web design and development, media and publicity, video production, and 3D animation. DeanHouston is also at the forefront of virtual and augmented reality, which is rapidly being embraced in the technical products service industries.
TORONTO, Ont. - We have turned the corner on harsh winter weather, and spring is here.
Spring is a time of renewal and refreshment as nature comes back to life, giving friends and family the opportunity to spend more time outdoors. As we trade icicles for flowers and snow angels for pool loungers, the warmer weather brings sights and smells that brighten up our day. Smells of lavender, vanilla, citrus and eucalyptus are just a few of the familiar and inviting scents gifted to us by spring.
Even though scents of nature fill the springtime air, some people may have too much on their to-do lists to truly relax and enjoy the outdoors. Armor All is now bringing the natural scents of spring directly into your car. The new Essential Blends air fresheners are infused with essential oil blends of lemon bergamot, eucalyptus mint, pink grapefruit, citrus pomegranate and vanilla lavender, giving you the scents of spring wherever you go.
"The inspiration behind Essential Blends came from looking at the average person's daily to-do list and thinking of how we could make those little in-between moments relaxing," says Megan Currie, Spectrum Brands director of marketing for Armor All. "A lot of people are in their cars for a good portion of their day, whether they are commuting to work or doing errands. We wanted to transform that daily routine into a comforting experience."
Essential oils are known for their refreshing and restorative properties. Helping to relieve headaches, relax the mind or even energize the body, the benefits from essential oils are endless.
Tanknology largest company in the world devoted to compliance solutions for petroleum systems. If you operate an underground or an aboveground petroleum fueling system, you are no doubt governed by multiple environmental regulations. In our blog, we discuss topics of interest to our industry community; whether it be a regulatory development, our take on breaking industry news, news from our company, or anything else we believe may be of interest the tank compliance community. We hope you will join us in the conversation.
With 30 years of technological advances and the strongest end-to-end support network in the world, PDQ is the undeniable partner for car wash solutions and success.
Founded in 1969, Belanger, Inc. is a full-line car wash equipment manufacturer whose offerings maximize wash bay Profit-Per-Foot™.