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StocExpo FETSA Conference: Revisions to PGS-12 and what they mean for Ammonia Storage

Ammonia as a carrier of hydrogen will play a critical role in transitioning to net zero carbon emissions. But its storage comes with risks. At StocExpo’s FETSA conference, Martin Reuvers, Senior Engineer at Vopak, will talk us through the revisions to PGS-12, the Dutch standard for ammonia storage, and the reasons for the changes. Here’s a preview… 

 Vopak, along with OCI Nitrogen, Yara, Proton Ventures, the fire department, permitting authorities and the labour inspection, has worked with the Dutch Normalisation Institute over the last year to revise PGS-12. PGS-12 is a series of standards, or best available techniques, for the storage of ammonia.   

The reason for these revisions was due to the fact that no clear international standards exists specifically for large-scale storage of ammonia. With between 10 and 15 ammonia storage initiatives underway across the country, there was an obvious need to update the standard to ensure the lowest possible process risk at these soon-to-be-built facilities.  

There are generic standards for cryogenic storage, but these allow for a lot variability in terms of design options. Terminal designers face distinctive challenges with ammonia due to its markedly different properties in terms of flammability, corrosiveness, and toxicity when compared to fossil fuels.  

Therefore, design questions arise when selecting the optimal tank design and pump configuration. Although the existing international standards allow tank bottom and shell penetrations facilitating external pumps, the new PGS-12 prescribes the use of in-tank pumps only.  

Similarly, under the existing generic standards, you could choose a steel-steel option for inner and outer containment, which is common in the US and Middle East. But this leaves the tank vulnerable in case of flying projectiles as a result of explosions in the vicinity. PGS-12 requires a concrete outer tank or protective blast wall.  

We’re very conscious that PGS-12 is setting the standard internationally, and while we’ve regularly sought the input of the industry at large, we do expect lots of questions. We certainly have been strict in this new standard and we are convinced that this will result in the safest ammonia storage terminals that are technically feasible. At the FETSA Conference. I will be talking through the major revisions made to PGS-12 and their impact on ammonia storage, and together with other PGS workgroup members I will be taking questions directly from the audience. I look forward to seeing you there.  

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