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Prevent Product Release with Pressure Protection Systems

By Erik Mathiason and Afton Coleman |

Closing off pressure upstream can minimize the need for pressure-relief systems to open, avoiding product waste and possible environmental damage Any system within a chemical process industries (CPI) manufacturing plant that is pressurized, or could experience pressure during an upset or malfunction, must have a pressure-relief mechanism. This helps alleviate a situation where pressure capable of bursting vessels or piping develops. The first approach for protection is a mechanical device designed to open at a specific pressure to release the contents. Typical examples are pressure-relief valves (PRVs) or rupture disks. These open and allow the contents to escape to the atmosphere, a flare manifold or a collection system. The problem with this approach is the amount of product lost, along with the potential for an environmental incident if the contents are not fully captured and treated appropriately. For example, a plant’s flare system must have the capacity to handle large releases, which could require a more robust system than is needed on a routine basis. In other words, an overpressure incident involving product release through a mechanical pressure-relief system is expensive not only in lost product and potential environmental…
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