(Newsletter, May, 2024)

Welcome to our Monthly Newsletter! In this edition, we delve into the intricacies of CO2 truck and rail car loading and unloading. We will explore why industrial sites produce and utilize CO2, the essential equipment involved, and the design criteria and regulations necessary for handling CO2 safely and efficiently.

CO2 Truck and Railcar Loading and Unloading

Why Industrial Sites Make and Use CO2

Industrial sites produce and use CO2 for various reasons, including:

  • Food and Beverage Industry: CO2 is used for carbonation in drinks, food preservation, and as a cryogenic agent.
  • Oil Recovery: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) processes utilize CO2 to increase the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field.
  • Chemical Production: CO2 is a raw material in the production of chemicals like urea and methanol.
  • Fire Suppression: CO2 is used in fire extinguishing systems due to its non-flammable nature.
  • Refrigeration and Cooling: CO2 is used as a refrigerant in cooling systems.

Common Equipment for Loading, Unloading, and Storing CO2

CO2 Truck and Railcar Loading and Unloading

Loading and Unloading Equipment

  1. Loading Arms and Hoses: Specialized equipment designed to transfer CO2 from storage to transport vehicles. These must be compatible with CO2’s low temperatures and high pressures.
  2. Dry Disconnect Couplings: Ensure minimal loss and prevent air ingress during loading and unloading.
  3. Vapor Return Lines: Used to balance pressure during transfer and prevent over-pressurization.

Rail Car Loading Racks

Rail car loading racks are critical for safe and efficient CO2 transfer. These structures provide access to the top of rail cars for operators and equipment.

  • Construction: Typically made from steel, these racks must support the weight of equipment and personnel.
  • Access and Safety: Equipped with stairs, platforms, and safety cages to prevent falls and ensure operator safety.
  • Integration with Equipment: Designed to accommodate loading arms, hoses, and other transfer equipment.

Fall Protection Systems to meet OSHA 1910.26 regulations

Safety is paramount when working at heights, such as on rail car loading racks.

  • Access Gangways: Operators lower down to access the tops of the cars from the platform.
  • Safety Cages: Installed on gangways to prevent falls.

Metering for Custody Transfer

Accurate metering is essential for custody transfer to ensure both parties know the exact amount of CO2 being transferred.

  • Flow Meters: Measure the volume of CO2 passing through a point. Common types include Coriolis, mass flow, and differential pressure flow meters.
  • Temperature and Pressure Sensors: Used in conjunction with flow meters to provide accurate volume and mass readings by accounting for CO2’s variable properties.
  • Data Logging and Reporting Systems: Record transfer data for verification and billing purposes, ensuring transparency and accuracy.

Storage Equipment

  1. Cryogenic Storage Tanks: Insulated tanks that store CO2 at extremely low temperatures to keep it in liquid form.
  2. High-Pressure Cylinders: Used for storing CO2 under high pressure.
  3. Pressure Relief Devices: Safety devices that prevent over-pressurization in storage tanks and cylinders.
CO2 Truck and Railcar Loading and Unloading

Utilization of Pumps and Compressors

  • Pumps: Liquid CO2 pumps are crucial for transferring CO2 from storage tanks to transport vehicles. These pumps must handle low temperatures and high pressures.
  • Compressors: When transferring gaseous CO2, compressors are used to increase the pressure of CO2 gas for efficient loading/unloading into and from transport tanks.

Design Criteria for CO2 Loading and Unloading Facilities

  1. Safety and Compliance: Ensuring the design adheres to relevant safety standards and regulations.
  2. Efficiency: Optimizing the flow rates and minimizing transfer losses.
  3. Flexibility: Designing systems that can handle varying operational demands and different types of CO2 (liquid or gas).
  4. Environmental Considerations: Minimizing CO2 emissions and ensuring proper ventilation and leak detection systems are in place.
  5. Integration with Existing Infrastructure: Ensuring compatibility with existing storage and transfer systems.

Codes and Regulations

Design and operation of CO2 handling facilities must comply with:

  • ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code: Governs the design, fabrication, and inspection of boilers and pressure vessels.
  • NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Standards: Specifically NFPA 55 for the storage, use, and handling of compressed gases and cryogenic fluids.
  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration): Provides guidelines for worker safety and hazardous material handling.
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency): Regulations related to emissions and environmental impact.
  • DOT (Department of Transportation): Regulations for the transport of hazardous materials, including CO2.

Final Thoughts

The efficient and safe loading, unloading, and storage of CO2 are critical for many industrial applications. By adhering to the proper design criteria and regulatory standards, facilities can ensure seamless operations and safety for both workers and the environment.

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