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Above Ground Storage Tanks

New Construction Above Ground


Storage Tanks
OVERVIEW:

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This technical bulletin addresses the design and installation


of cathodic protection systems fornew construction above
ground storage tanks (ASTs). Cathodic protection (CP) is
typicallyapplied to all above ground storage tanks built on a
ring wall foundation to protect the externaltank bottom in
contact with the soil/sand foundation. Smaller tanks built on
concrete slabfoundations typically do not have cathodic
protection applied to them.
In many locations, cathodic protection is mandated by local
regulations for tanks storinghydrocarbons or hazardous
materials; however, even in the absence of such mandates,
goodengineering practice would generally dictate cathodic
protection.
Summary/Conclusion:
MATCOR typically recommends the use of linear anodes in a
concentric ring conguration asthe most reliable system
design for new construction above ground storage tanks,
combiningeconomy of material requirements with ease of
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installation.
Galvanic vs. Impressed Current
Historically, various congurations of galvanic anodes,
including discreet anodes and ribbontype anodes, have been
used to protect AST bottoms. Experience has shown that
these systemsdo not provide the uniform current distribution
necessary over the entire CP system design lifeand result in
premature failure as the galvanic anodes consume. ASTs
require signicantcurrent, which generally precludes the use
of galvanic anodes. Almost all AST CP systemstoday are
designed with impressed current systems to provide the
current required over a longperiod of time.
Design Information:
The following information is required to develop a CP design
for ASTs:
Tank Diameter
This is necessary to calculate the surface area to be
protected.
Tank Bottom Coating
Typically tank bottoms are bare plate steel, but in
some cases the plate steel may becoated on the bottom,
which reduces the current required for cathodic protection.
CP isstill recommended for tanks with coated bottoms.
Current Density Required
Typical design current density requirements of 1
mA/ft2 (10 mA/m2) are sufcient toachieve NACE criteria for
cathodic protection (see discussion on operating
temperature).
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Depth of Anode
The separation distance between the anode and the
tank bottom affects current spread andanode spacing.
Sand/Soil Resistivity
This information is necessary to estimate overall
system resistance necessary to properlysize the rectier
voltage. In many cases, it may make sense to install the
anode systemand test the actual circuit resistance using a
portable rectier or car battery beforecommitting to a
specic rectier size.
Tank Operating Temperature
Corrosion rates increase signicantly with elevated
temperature, necessitating morecurrent. MATCOR uses the
following temperature correction formula for its CP
designsfor heated tank bottoms: for every 10 C above 30 C
the current requirement increases25%.
Area Classication
Rectiers and junction boxes must be designed with
suitable enclosures for the areaclassication where they will
be installed. Often, these can be located in nonclassiedareas with minimal additional cost of cable while
saving signicantly on the cost of theenclosures and classied
components.
Secondary Containment Liners
If polyethylene or other such plastic liners are to be
placed underneath the tank, theseliners act as a barrier to the
ow of current and the anodes must be placed between
theliner and the tank bottom. If Claymax or other conductive
type liners are to be used, theanodes do not have to be
placed between the liner and the tank bottom.
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Design Life
Typical design life for new construction ASTs is 25 to
30 years. It is important to notethat the actual operating life
of ASTs often exceeds this value and depending on
thedesign of the tank, its location, and the selection of a
containment liner. Replacement ofthe CP system may be
difcult to impossible so some consideration should be given
tothe economic value of extending the design life. For
MATCORs SPL-FBR concentricring conguration, the
incremental anode cost to go from 30-year design life to 50yeardesign life is approximately 25% additional anode cost,
with no increase in installationcosts, making this a very
attractive alternative.
CP Congurations for New Construction ASTs
Shallow Distributed Anodes around Tank Periphery:
One common design approach to AST bottom CP is to install
a shallow distributed pointanode system around the
periphery of the tank (Figure 1). These are typically augured
into depths of 5-10 feet. This design approach only works
when there is no electricallyisolating secondary containment
liner under the tank.
For these designs, the critical issue is assuring that sufcient
current reaches the center ofthe tank. Above ground storage
tank bottoms are large bare surfaces requiring a lot ofcurrent.
To assure that current distributes properly, the anode depth
and distance fromthe tank are critical. Shallow peripheral
anodes are not able to throw current to the centerof all but
the smallest of ASTs.
MATCOR generally does not recommend shallow
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peripherally distributed anodes forASTs with tank diameters


exceeding 20 ft (6 m) due to the quantity of anodes
requiredand the risk of poor current distribution to the center
of the tank.

Deep Well Anode Systems


This approach is based on using one or more deep
well anode systems located well belowthe tank bottom to
provide current uniformly to the tank bottom. This approach
has somelimitations in heavily congested plant environments
where current can ow to otherburied structures. When
multiple deep wells are employed to protect more than one
tankin a cluster, care must be taken to assure proper current
distribution.
As with any deep well, there are concerns with drilling
(typically 150+ feet to bottom ofhole) including access issues
for a drill rig, environmental concerns, permitting
andhandling of drilling spoils. Even with a deep well
approach, when dealing with newconstruction, reference
electrodes should be installed under each tank.
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Many operators prefer a close coupled dedicated CP system


for each tank rather than theblanket coverage afforded by a
deep well system.
Should the design for the new construction tank utilize a
containment liner that shieldscurrent (i.e. polyethylene liner),
the deep well anode system cannot be used.
Distributed Anodes Below Tank Bottom
While not as common today, many older designs utilized
individual anodes laidhorizontally along the tank bottom and
connected parallel to header cables exiting thering wall. The
economics of this design, both in terms of installation costs
and materialcosts, are not favorable and this design has been
dropped in favor of either a grid systemor linear anodes in a
parallel concentric ring arrangement.
The Grid System
Developed, patented and heavily promoted by Corrpro, this
proprietary system involveslaying out parallel titanium
conductor bars and then running mixed metal oxide
(MMO)ribbon anode perpendicular to the conductor bars.
The MMO ribbon anode is eld spotwelded to the titanium
conductor bar to provide both mechanical and
electricalconnections. Wherever the titanium conductor bars
cross, they too must be eld weldedtogether. Power feeds
(preassembled cables with a at plate to connect to the
conductorbar) are secured to the titanium bar in multiple
locations and routed to the ring wallpenetration.
Patented in 1991, this system continues to be used by
Corrpro; however, it is a labor andQA/QC intensive
installation process requiring signicant eld welding and onhttp://www.matcor.com/resources/technicalpapers/newconstructiongroundstoragetanks/

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sitetesting to assure electrical continuity. The attachment of


the power feeds to the titaniumgrid is critical to the system
reliability. From a design perspective, the spacing of
theanodes and conductor bars must be sufcient to assure
even current distribution.
SPL-FBR Linear
Anode Systems
Unlike the Grid
system promoted
byCorrpro,
MATCORs SPLFBR linearanode
system for AST
tanks can be
factoryassembled
to eliminate the
need for anyeld
fabrication, which
greatly

simpliesinstallation and reduces QA/QC issues,eliminating


eld welds and power feedconnections that are relied upon
with theGrid system to assure electricalcontinuity and
system integrity.
The principal advantage of the linearsystem is that everything
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under the tank isfactory assembled and tested prior


toinstallation and the only installation effortis to lay the
anode assemblies in accordancewith the design drawings and
installationinstructions. This provides for anexceptionally
simple installation whileassuring the highest system
reliability;installation costs are minimal. Please referto
MATCORs Installation, Odperation andMaintenance (IOM)
Manual for a detailedinstallation description with pictures.
There are two primary congurations forlinear anodes under
tank bottoms as shownin Figure 2. The parallel linear
anodearrangement has multiple parallel anodesegments,
which are fed from each end ofthe anode. The anode
connections are eldspliced to loop cables, which terminate
attwo anode junction boxes.
The use of concentric rings offers two keyadvantages over
parallel anode segments. The rst advantage is that this
congurationdoes require junction boxes on both sides of
the tank, thus eliminating one of the anodejunction boxes
and reducing the cabling required to run from two anode
junction boxesback to the transformer/rectier unit. The
second key advantage to this conguration isthat it
eliminates the need for two eld splices for each anode
segment. Each ring can bemanufactured with the appropriate
length of header cable to run each end directly to thesingle
anode junction box. These eld splices are weak links subject
to premature failureover the life of the anode system.
As with any system, spacing between anode segments is
another key design element.MATCORs experience with ring
congurations is extensive and we have determinedthrough
numerous installations and our own in-house testing that for
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tank bottomapplications with bare bottom plates and an


anode depth of 1 foot, concentric rings with aspacing of 10
feet provide thorough current distribution. When the anodes
can be placeddeeper than 1 foot, the anode spacing can be
extended. Based on the 1 foot depth, typicalambient
temperature tanks can be protected for 30+ years with 16
mA/ft linear anode,while a 50+ year design life is typically
achieved with a 25 mA/ft rated anode with amodest 25%
increase in the anode cost.

Provisions for Testing


With any CP system for tank bottoms, it is critical that
provisions for testing be installed with theanode system.
Once the tank is erected, making accurate potential
measurements at variouslocations along the tank can only be
accomplished if reference electrodes have been
installedbelow the tank. Typically, copper-copper sulfate (CuCuSO4) reference electrodes are installedin strategic
locations underneath the tank. These reference electrodes
are often mistakenly calledpermanent reference
electrodes; however, they are not permanent as over time
the coppercoppersulfate solution becomes contaminated
and ceases to provide accurate information. Oncea baseline
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for performance is established over asufcient operating


period, maintaining theappropriate current output to achieve
NACEcriteria is all that is required.
In some cases,
clients may also
specify
dualreference
electrodes such
as both zinc and

coppercoppersulfate. While the zinc reference electrodesare


not as consistent, they provide a much longeroperating life
and can be calibrated against the copper-copper sulfate
electrodes.
In addition to the xed reference electrodes, it isalso
common to provide a reference electrodetube/conduit
underneath the tank bottom to allowsliding of a calibrated
reference electrode throughthe monitoring tube to take
potential readings.These can also function as leak detection
tubes.
Maintenance/Inspection
MATCOR typically recommends annual testing/inspection of
the tank CP system by a qualiedNACE CP level 1 or higher
technician familiar with testing CP systems for ASTs. As with
anyimpressed current system, monthly rectier checks should
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be performed by plant maintenance toassure that the


rectier is on and that the voltage and current outputs remain
stable.
Appendix A MATCORS DESIGN PROGRAM
System Design:
Once all of the design parameters have been established,
MATCORs design program uses thefollowing process to
create a completed design.
1. Basic Calculations
a. Tank Bottom Surface Area simple geometric calculation
of the area of acircle. If the tank bottom is coated MATCOR
assumes a 75% coatingefciency (25% bare) as some coating
degradation can be expected at allof the weld seams. b.
Current Requirement the bare surface area times the
temperaturecorrected current density requirement provides
the total design currentrequired.
2. Anode Spacing MATCOR typically assumes that the
anode will be located aminimum of 1 foot below the tank
bottom. Based on 1 foot depth, MATCORuses 10 foot
spacing between anodes. This is not based on any
theoreticalmodeling but has been derived empirically by
testing performed by MATCORand validated on numerous
actual applications. MATCOR has researched theavailable
literature and has not found any published data or theoretical
modelingthat can be used to determine current distribution
for concentric rings beneath astorage tank bottom. For
depths greater than 1 foot, MATCOR increases theanode
ring spacing at a rate of 0.5 feet/additional foot of depth.
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Occasionally, clients have askedMATCOR to provide a


theoreticalbasis or some sort of calculation toconrm the
spacing of the anodes.NACE, in its CP3 design
course,provides a geometric guideline of2*tan60 for spacing
of galvanic ribbonanodes under a tank bottom to
assuredistribution; however, we have foundno reasonable
scientic or
theoreticalexplanation as
to how this value
wasselected (Figure 4).
We have discussed this
with NACE instructors
and Senior Corrosion
Engineersand they cannot
provide any justication for this calculation. It just makes for
anice geometric value.
MATCOR has tested numerous tanks with impressed current
CP systems using 10foot spacing between anodes with a
depth (d) of 1 foot. This equates to ageometric equation of
2d tan(78.7), which is not as elegant a number as 60. Butwe
know from our testing using reference electrodes that have
been placed inclose proximity to the tank bottom that
current distributes sufciently to meetNACE criteria between
ring segments.
3. Current Capacity once the preliminary anode spacing is
determined, the totalnumber of rings can be calculated with
the rings spaced equally apart inconcentric circles. The total
anode length is then calculated. The current rating ofthe
anode is a function of the total current required divided by
the anode length.For ambient temperature tanks, using 10
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foot spacing, the typical design requiresMATCORs SPLFBR-16 mA/ft anode and yields a 30+ year design life.
Thesame design using MATCORs 25 mA/ft anode will
generally provide for a 50+year design life for only a modest
increase in material cost.
For elevated temperatures MATCOR calculates a
temperature correction factorbased on increasing the current
required 25% for every 10 C above 30 C. Toaccommodate
the higher current requirements at elevated temperatures,
either ahigher output anode is necessary or tighter spacing
with more anode length isrequired. MATCORs design
program allows for the anode spacing to beadjusted to
optimize the anode length and anode rating as needed to
meet thedesired design life requirements.
4. Anode Resistance Calculations each anode ring is
connected parallel to oneanother through the anode junction
box to the rectier. The resistance of eachanode ring is
calculated using Dwights equation for a ring of wire:

where:
R= resistance of each ring
? = soil resistivity
D = diameter of ring
d = diameter of anode
s = twice the depth of anode
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Each rings resistance is calculated and then the total


resistance is calculated as:

It is important to note that the resistivity directly impacts the


resistancecalculations and that often the actual sand
resistivity can vary from the designbasis affecting the
resistance calculations and rectier sizing.
5. Design Life MATCORs linear anodes are rated for 20
years at the rated outputof 16 mA/ft. The actual design life is
calculated based on the design outputdivided by the rated
output times 20 years to provide a calculated design life
atdesign output. For ambient temperature tanks, the design
life is typically around30 years for 16 mA/ft rated anode and
50+ years for the 25 mA/ft rated anode.SPL-Anode

TANK BOTTOMS CALCULATIONS SHEET


Design Information
Tank Diameter

Ft

120

Current Density

mA/sq ft

Sand Resistivity

ohm-cm

50000

Depth of Anode

ft

Tank Operating
Temperature

Ambient

Rectier Margin

20%

Cable Tail Length

ft

20
Design Results

Surface Area

sq ft

Temperature
Correction

11304
1

Factor
Corrected

mA/sq ft

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Current Density
Current Required

amps

11.3

Total Number of
Rings
Anode Spacing

6
ft

10

Anode Selection

16 mA/ft

Anode Life (est)

yrs

32

Total Resistance

ohms

2.8

Rectier Sizing

voltage

40

amperage

15

Total Anode
Length

ft

1130.9

Total Cable
Length

ft

600

Ring Conguration
Ring
#

Diameter
ft

Linear
ft

Total
ft

Cable Tail Length


ft

10

31

31

150

30

94

126

130

50

157

283

110

70

220

503

90

90

283

785

70

110

346

1131

50

Typical AST Tank Ring Cathodic Protection System


AST Cathodic Protection System Detail Drawing

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