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Comment PDF Environment, Health, Safety & Security

Optimizing Flare Operation Through Proper Design

By Hyunjin Yoon |

Flare problems are often caused by the seal systems that are designed to control air ingress. Follow these troubleshooting guidelines to improve design and ensure safe, reliable flare operation Flares are used to dispose of unwanted hydrocarbon gases. One common definition of a flare’s primary function is “to convert flammable, toxic or corrosive vapors to less objectionable compounds” (API 521, Paragraph 6.4.1) [ 1 ]. During operation, if the flow of offgas to the flare stack stops for some reason, there is a possibility of air ingress into the flare system. This can result in a potentially explosive mixture of air and hydrocarbons in the flare system, which can be catastrophic. To reduce this risk, many elevated flares are purged continuously with a proper amount of offgas in order to protect them against the possibility of flame flashback and explosion that could result from unwanted air ingress.   Seal systems In most flare systems, either a molecular seal (also called a buoyancy seal), or a velocity seal, is used at the base of the flare tip, to ensure a minimum continuous flow of purge gas (Figure 1). This helps to avoid air ingress to the flare, preventing the opportunity for a potentially explosive mixture to develop…
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