Objectives: Upon completion of the unit the trainees should be able to:
• • • • Describe the purpose of flare system. Explain the function of relief devices in a flare system. Explain different types and fields of application of flares. Describe the main parts of a flare and its accessories.

1. Introduction. 2. Simplified description of a flare system and accessories. 3. Detailed description of a flare system. 3.1. Relief device. 3.1.1. General definitions 3.1.2. Pressure relief devices. 3.1.3. Blow down valves. 3.1.4. Pressure control valves. 3.1.5. Remotely operated valves. 3.2. Segregation of fluids to be flared. 3.3. Flare drums 4. Different types and fields of application of flare devices. 4.1. Flare tips 4.1.1. Pipe flare 4.1.2. Sonic flare 4.1.3. Ground flare (multiple tips) 4.1.4. Ground flare with combustion chamber 4.2. Cold vent 4.3. Burn pit 4.4. Burner 5. Associated equipment 5.1. Flare drum 5.2. Headers 5.3. Hydraulic and gas seals 5.3.1. Hydraulic seals 5.3.2. Gas seals 5.4. Purge gas system 5.4.1. Mechanism of gas ingress 5.4.2. Purge gas 5.5. Pilot and ignition system 5.6. Fuel and power supply

Prepared by Ziabari Date

Checked by

10 July. 2000 Date

Yeganeh Approved by Larijani 19 July. 2000 Date




1. INTRODUCTION A flame burns day and night at the top of a high chimney on the plant site. This is the flare and the flame is produced by burning gases or vapors released during the various processes carried out on the site. These could be: - Gases, which must be continuously removed as waste. - Gases which occasionally have to be discharged from equipment for repair, maintenance or depressurization purposes. - Gases escaping through leaks or safety valves blowing off. - Gases, which have to be removed because they are dangerous, e.g. fire hazards. All these gases and evaporated liquids may not simply be released into the air. They would pollute the atmosphere and be dangerous for man, animals and plants (fire, poison, explosion). They are therefore all brought to one point high in the air and burnt there. The flare system plays a vital role in a factory. It is very important that there should be very good communication between this factory and all others connected to the flare. 2. SIMPLIFIED DESCRIPTION FOR A FLARE AND ACCESSORIES Fig. 1 is a diagram of the flare and includes everything necessary for efficient and safe working. The flare itself is a high chimney. Waste gases are supplied to the bottom of the chimney and burnt in the nozzles at the top, with the aid of the air present there. On the left of the diagram the waste gases enter a knockout drum. The liquid particles suspended in the gas stream (water and hydrocarbons) are separated and remain in the drum while the gas escapes upwards. The liquid is maintained at a certain level by a level controller with an alarm (LCA) and drained by a pump to the slop tank. Two pumps are installed here, one electrically driven and the other turbine driven. The first is used for normal operation while the other takes over if the electric current should fail. The gases now enter the water seal with two or more submerged pipes, each with a different insertion length. The liquid level in the water seal is held constant by continuously supplying water through orifices and allowing it to drain to the sewer through a siphon. A siphon breaker and a sight glass (SG) are fitted to the siphon. This is done to prevent a vacuum in the flare up to the water seal. A steam coil holds the temperature in the water seal at 65°C to remove solvent gases from the water so that these can be carried along with the flare gas.


FB/001 Fig. 3 .Diagram of flare system. 1.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.T.

The temperature is kept at about 90°C by a steam coil to evaporate any H2S particles in the oil. 2) The water injections take place in circular chamber near the flare mouth and in a central area somewhat lower. The water supply to the central injection passes through an orifice. Sprayed at a certain angle. Noise must be kept below a certain level.FB/001 A funnel is fitted at water level to skim off any hydrocarbons floating on the water. these are then drained to a special drain tank. The drain tank is partly filled with gas oil. This can be prevented by adding steam and/or water. The pilot flame is supplied by the central fuel system and can be ignited by electric ignition devices.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. The water supply is automatically increased when the gas flow increases. b. which has to be renewed periodically. The QR works as follows: A thermocouple is heated electrically and the temperature is indicated on a strip of paper. 3 shows the effect when more or less water is injected. The water is supplied to the chamber through a FRC.T. a quality register (QR) and a pressure indicator (PI). which will reduce the amount of soot considerably.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. The gas exhaust pipe is usually fitted with a flow indicator (FI). controlled by FI in a branch of the water seal gas supply pipe. This common supply is controlled by a PC. This is the reason why water injection is frequently used. When the thermo-couple is surrounded by the gas the temperature of the couple will drop so that this is a gauge of the gas flow. 4 . The Flare Head (Tip) When large quantities of gas have to be burnt the chance of soot forming is very real. It is possible that the flame is blown out by the water if the gas supply is too low. which is much quieter (see Fig. Divided into very small drops (mist). These gases disappear to the flare through an extinguisher. No water may be injected if the gas stream is below a certain level. In the injection nozzles the water is: a. probably even to an acceptable minimum. If a certain department wishes to get rid of gas and has to flare then the personnel working with the flare must first be warned that extra water should be supplied to prevent air pollution. One disadvantage of steam injection is the very loud noise that it causes. Fig.

FB/001 Fig.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. 5 .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.T. 2.The flare burner head.

Results of supplying water to the flare. 6 .FB/001 Fig. 3.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.T.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.

blow down valves. 7 . caused by hydrostatic head or pressure drop from the bottom to the top must be considered in the vessel design. SET PRESSURE This is the pressure at which a safety devices is adjusted to start to open under service conditions. excess or unwanted products).TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. Relief Device A relief device releases to the atmosphere (via a flare system. gas seal) .1.Sealing devices to prevent air from entering the system (purge gas.Knock out drum to separate the different phases (water.1. The pressure drop between the protected equipment and the inlet side of relieving devices should be checked at relief flow rate to ensure that it is not greater than 3 percent of the set pressure. liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons) . …) .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.Disposal devices (cold vents. If more than one pressure relieving device is used. If a safety device is located at the bottom of a vessel (this is usually not recommended) the set pressure must be increased by this same amount. burn pits. …) 3. or not.1.FB/001 3. liquid burners. water seal. The design pressure and the maximum allowable working pressure are normally applied to the top of the vessel. The additional relieving devices may be set at a pressure not exceeding 105 percent of the maximum allowable working pressure. in design the MAWP is taken equal to the design pressure.T. Generally. General Definitions MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE WORKING PRESSURE (MAWP) This is the highest pressure for which the safety valve may be set (API RP 521). rupture discs. Any increase in pressure at the bottom. only one device need be set at a pressure not exceeding the maximum allowable working pressure at operating temperature. As stated above. it may be either the design or the maximum allowable working pressure.Headers and Sub Headers . burning tips.Relieving devices (pressure relief valves. 3. The set pressure shall not exceed the maximum allowable working pressure of the protected equipment at operating temperature except where the required capacity is provided by more than one device. control valves. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A FLARE SYSTEM A flare system consists in: .

T. .Thermal relief valves: this is a spring loaded relief valve conventional type actuated by the static pressure upstream.3. 3.FB/001 ACCUMULATION This is the maximum allowable pressure increase in the protected equipment above the maximum allowable working pressure during discharge through the safety device.2. The built-up pressure should be limited to 50% of the set pressure.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. this back pressure could be exceeded but that required a special care. 8 .1.Rupture discs For description and information see API RP 520 part1 . BACK PRESSURE This is the pressure on the discharge side of the safety device. 3. Two types of back pressure have to be considered: . Pressure Relief Devices This covers: . In most cases a maximum accumulation of 10 percent is allowed but 21 percent is permissible when the excess pressure is due to an external fire (API RP 521). It is determined by the applicable code for any project. • Balanced type for which the set pressure is independent of the back pressure. They are used primarily with incompressible fluids. The built-up pressure should be limited to 50% of the set pressure. Its use is limited to a maximum built-up pressure less than 10% of the set pressure.The built-up back pressure developed on the discharge side of the safety device as a result of flow after the relief devices has opened.Pre-existing back pressure: the pressure in the discharge side of a safety device before it discharges. The maximum allowed built-up back pressure depends on the type of pressure safety valve.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. .Pilot-operated pressure relief valves for which the set pressure is independent of the back pressure. Blow Down Valves They are on-off valves connecting the process equipment to the flare header. .Pressure safety valves including: • Conventional type for which the set pressure depends on the back pressure. this back pressure could be exceeded but that is not recommended and requires a special care.1. They are actuated remotely by the operator or automatically by the emergency shutdown system. It can be (semi) permanent when a control valve releases in the same system or pressure created by the discharge of another near-by relief device. The valve opens in proportion to the pressure increase over the set pressure.

ROV. .…) They are actuated by a push button. They are either on-off (XV’s) or controlling valves (HIC).Plot plant. several systems have to be considered.FB/001 3.1. flare drum.Maintenance and operation philosophy. 3.For H2S concentration above 10% mole a separate flare system is required.Depending on the operating system wet or dry and cold systems. It occurs mainly during transitory situations like start-up. Flare Drums A flare knock-out drum is provided to drop out and collect the liquid content of the fluid flowing in the flare system. XV. . hence a duplication of the last portion of the header. permanently or intermittently an excess of fluid to the flare system. pipeline depressurisation. Remotely Operated Valves (HIC. or through a DCS command.5.g. . 9 . Segregation of Fluids to be Flared The number of flare or cold vent system depends on: . Pressure Control Valves (PV) They are control valves actuated by electronic. and production of off-spec products.Relieving capacity. .2.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. pneumatic or hydraulic systems and releasing. which can dictate to have always one flare on line. which can as well dictate the number of relief headers.3. if there is a scenario when the two reliefs are likely to occur at the same time.4. 3. They are used during transitory situations or for specific purpose like start-up. sour or sweet gases. header to the flare and the flare tip has to be envisaged for maintenance. .Economical cost considerations of a single (large diameter) header versus several branches and headers. Normally wet products and off-spec.Different level of pressure. . which could determine the number of flare system. . 3. if the price of the different material is significantly different.T.The characteristics of the fluid to be flared or vented. controlled shutdown. The main criteria are: .TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. dry products should not be relieved in a cold and dry products system to avoid ice and (or) hydrates formation which could plug the relief system.Corrosivity of the different gases leading to different pipe materials e. It must be avoided to have high pressure products relieving in the same header as low pressure products. which could lead to excessive back pressure in other parts of the headers.The process scheme .1.

F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. A pipe flare should not be regarded as a simple pipe from which released gas is burnt.Burner. Any flare tip must offer reliable ignition and give flame stability under the most adverse weather conditions. .3 Mach for the continuous flow. Different types can be used and they are: .Burn pit. The maintenance of a conventional pipe flare is very low.Pipe flare.Vents.Combustion chamber. 10 .1.Sonic flare. 4. . .Ground flare (multiple-tips). Pipe flare A simplified diagram of a conventional pipe flare tip is shown in Fig. .4.Flare tips.6 Mach for the emergency flow rate (non continuous flow) and 0. 4. A pipe flare tip is always installed vertically and the gas velocity through it is limited at a maximum of 0. It is used to burn the gas without liquid.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.1. different systems can be used.FB/001 4.5 to 0. There are many variations of the simple single tip pipe flare and some of these are discussed below and generally not recommended for production except in special cases mainly to solve the smoke problems.T. they are: . Flares Tips The flare tip is the last device of the flare system. . . This device stabilizes the flame front by creating vortexes downstream of the stabilizer to ignite the main gas stream and so help prevent flame lift-off. Flame stabilization is achieved by the use of specially designed flame retention ring built into the flare tip. except the small quantity due to the carryover from the associated drum.1. DIFFERENT TYPES AND FIELDS OF APPLICATION OF FLARE DEVICES To burn or release the gas and (or) liquid.


However. This type of arrangement is not recommended except to solve the smoke problems. The use of HP gas increases the radiation levels and this gas could not be sold. However. that complicates the system and increases the cost and maintenance. However.T.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. This type of arrangement is not recommended except to solve smoke problems. 12 .PIPE FLARE WITH WATER INJECTION Smoke emission and radiation levels are reduced by the addition of a water spray to conventional pipe flare tips.FORCED DRAUGHT (AIR ASSISTED) TIPS In principle stoichiometric combustion of relief can be achieved by installing blowers to deliver the required air.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.PIPE FLARE WITH STEAM INJECTION Smoke emission and radiation levels are reduced by the addition of a steam injection to conventional pipe flare tips.PIPE FLARE WITH HIGH PRESSURE GAS INJECTION The kinetic energy in high pressure gas can be used to entrain additional air by piping it separately to the flare tip and injecting it into the flame via a manifold and jets. it is a common arrangement in refinery. . . that complicates the system and increases the cost and maintenance. This type of arrangement is not recommended except to solve the smoke problems. This type of arrangement is not recommended except to solve smoke problems. that complicates the system and increases the cost and maintenance. for large flares this air requirement is substantial and the space and weight requirement coupled with the additional complexity and related maintenance costs has led to very few installations.FB/001 . The water shall be available and for offshore only sea water is available in quantities required and this leads to accelerated corrosion of the flare tip by salt deposits and chloride. The steam injection eliminates the black carbon. However. The steam shall be available and for cold countries the freezing protection shall be provided. .

T. however the downstream equipment have smaller sizes due to the lowest gas volume but a highest design pressure. The sonic flare back pressure for the design flow rate could reach 4 to 10 bars (normal 4 to 5 bars). ADVANTAGES AND DRAWBACKS The advantages and drawbacks of the sonic flare with the conventional pipe flare are: Advantages . 4. The installation of sonic flare tip is recommended mainly offshore in order to save weight and space due to the smaller headers. depending of manufacturer). Air when premixed with gas in a gas burner improves combustion and gives a clean efficient flame. . Each manufacturer has its own design.More noise. The tip ∆P shall be given in the process data sheet at the basic engineering stage.3.1.Could be installed inclined.More weight of flare tip.Higher back pressure and consequently smaller headers. sub-headers and flare drum. the LP flare tip being installed in the center of the sonic tip.5m. In this case a separated low pressure flare system is required or combined with the sonic tip. They could be installed only onshore because they require a large area far from the plant due to toxic gases at low/ground level.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. . . Ground Flare (Multiple Tips) The ground flare (multiple tips) consists generally of 3 rows of several pipe flare installed vertically and having a height of about 1. 13 . they are also known as finger flare. Drawbacks .2.Low pressure flare system could not be connected to sonic flare due to back pressure. .More maintenance (replacement every to 2 or 3 years. . Fluid jets discharging into the atmosphere induce air and tend to mix the induced air with the fluid. Sonic Flare The exit gas velocity is at least 1 Mach. sub-headers and flare drum and flare length. but not recommended and not accepted by all manufacturers due to the possible tip damage at low flow rate.Better combustion (good mixing with air) and consequently lower radiations and lower flare height. which reduces the emissivity and radiation.Cost (more expensive).FB/001 4. when properly designed. .1.

Onshore when the local environmental regulations do not permit to have a visible flame or when there is no space to install another type of flare. However.Space of the chimney .Offshore when it is not possible to install another type of flare. This type of ground flare could not be used for a low pressure flare system due to the necessary back pressure for the flow distribution through each tip.Less noise.Low radiation level and less space . The advantages are: . It is only installed: . Design of multiple tip pipe flares is particularly difficult.4. burner and fire resistant internal material of the chimney The sizing of this ground flare with combustion chamber can be performed only by the venders.No visible flame.FB/001 The use of multiple tip burners provide more efficient combustion through improved air entrainment and reduced flame length by the use of smaller burner nozzles.Air blower to be continuously run in case of emergency . strong winds has a serious effect on life of these tips and consequently maintenance costs have been high.T. 4.1. The drawbacks are: .High cost due to the need of air blower and chimney with fire resistant internal material .TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.Weight due to installed devices . that is valid only for environmental regulations but not for operations. . The improved combustion of multiple tips results in lower smoke emission and radiation levels than a comparable large single tip. To obtain a correct distribution of the flow through each tip for any flow rate which requires the installation of control and restriction orifices (that is not recommended on flare system) and by experience the design is never correctly done. .Limited to a relatively small flow rate (limited by the chimney size) . particularly at low flaring loads. 14 .Maintenance of air blower. Ground Flare With Combustion Chamber This type of ground flare consists of a burner forced draught installed inside a chimney Fig. Operating experience has not been particularly good.No visible flame for operations point of view .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. 5. the use of multiple tip flares is not recommended. The direct flame impingement on some of the tips.

2. It is not used to burn liquids in continuous for a long time.Either a sonic tip (as for flare tip) .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. The cold vent is fitted with: . It is generally used to burn liquid coming from well clean-up and off-spec. 15 .8 Mach in order to achieve a good dispersion of the gas in the atmosphere. Burn Pit A burn pit is installed only onshore and generally for manual intermittent operations.T. Fig. The combustion of the liquid is very bad with a lot of smoke because it burns at the surface of the pit practically without air mixture. 5. .3. Cold Vent The cold vent is similar to a flare tip but the gas is released to the atmosphere and not burnt. in case of accidental lightning.Pilots. liquid products. The gas velocity through the tip is to be about 0.Ground flare with combustion chamber The cold vent height is governed by dispersion calculations and in any case admissible radiation levels.A pit.Or a pipe flare tip (as for flare tip) but in this case the device for the flame stability is not required. shall be performed to finalise the cold vent height.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. 4. .FB/001 4.A pipe feeding the pit by gravity. The burn pit consists of: .

4. the burn pit could be used to replace an elevated flare.T.Refractories (fire resistant) shall be installed on the pit part where the burn pit is fed. The drum ensures liquid separation for the following reasons: . Flare Drum As stated in section 2 a flare drum is provided to drop out and collect the liquid content of the vapors. When the space is not a problem. Burner The burner is generally used for well clean up and also sometimes for off-spec liquid products burning (e. .Very large pit and a lot of civil work. That has been used in the past in the desertic countries. the pit shall be equipped with a water drain.g. . 16 . 5. LNG plant).TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.To recover and reclaim valuable product materials from the flared gas. Design Considerations .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT 5. where a sonic tip (high pressure) is used in conjunction with a conventional pipe flare (low pressure) it is necessary to provide independent flare drums for each system.To minimize the risk of burning liquid “golden rain” emerging from the flare tip and endangering personnel and equipment. that could be envisaged only in the countries where civil works and manpower cost are low.FB/001 In the rainy countries.No need of flare drum if the plant layout permits to have a gravity flow with a continuous slope to the burn pit. The installation of a burn pit to replace an elevated flare is not recommended.Easier to install and to do the maintenance of the tip (about at the ground level) Drawbacks .Generally it is necessary to provide one flare drum for each flare pressure-level.The dispersion calculations are subject to discussion because that is not very well known and could impose to install the burn pit at a relatively long distance from the plant.To prevent liquid accumulation at the base of the flare boom or tower and obstruction of the flow of gas.1. . The advantages and drawbacks of the use of burn pit instead of an elevated flare are: Advantages . . . that could generate a heavy maintenance because the installation of these refractories is difficult. For example. 4.

The flare drum design pressure shall be at least 1 bar higher than the maximum back pressure at the design flow rate with a minimum design pressure of 3.Internals on gas side (e. Vertical flare drums could be installed in case of low vapor flow containing a small quantity of liquid or unless space allocation is critical. The location of this LSHH shall such be that the inlet gas does not create a liquid vortex and gives a wrong information. * Avoid overcooling of the flare drum inlet nozzle.T. Horizontal flare drums with an appropriate L/D ratio are much more effective than vertical flare drums. in this case the diameter is then calculated using half the vapor flow rate. One solution is to introduce the cold vapor source into the main flare header immediately upstream of the flare drum inlet nozzle or with a separate inlet nozzle.Lines downstream the relief devices which form sub-headers and headers.Lines upstream the relief devices (PSV’s. .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. . both wet and dry flare drums may be required.All flare drums shall be located at the low point of the system. (API RP 521).Generally flare drums should be installed horizontally. Headers Two types of lines shall be considered: . However.FB/001 . 5. * For large diameter horizontal drums a spilt flow arrangement (1 inlet and 2 outlets or 2 inlets and 1 outlet) can be effectively used to minimize drum dimensions. .g.5 bar g.2. including: * Avoid operation of the main flare header at a temperature below the minimum allowed by the material specification of the header.When warm moisture bearing vapors are segregated from cold dry vapors. PCV’s). mist eliminators) in the flare drums shall be forbidden. This is important for calculating the vapor space for liquid droplet separation. For this type of design a number of precautions are necessary. . .TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. * Heating coils should be considered for the flare drums. * Check minimum temperature achieved by the flare drum vessel wall. The purpose of the heating coils are to avoid possible freezing and to maintain any oil carry-over at an acceptable margin above its “pour point” * At least a high high level (LSHH) is always installed on a flare drum and initiates an ESD level (total process shut down). . every effort is made to minimize the number of items of equipment and to avoid the need for a cold flare drum.The liquid level in a flare drum when the flare starts to below should be taken as the high high level. BDV’s. 17 .

Chattering may result in lowered capacity. elbow) . 18 . Fig. .F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. damage to the seating surfaces and could even lead to heavy vibrations of piping and connected instruments.All relief devices shall be installed in high point.The isometric shall be the simplest with the minimum of fittings (e.FB/001 .Sketch showing the slope for lines upstream and downstream relief devices .For the BDV’s the diameter of this line shall be at least 2”.A heating device (electrical or steam heating) will be installed on the lines upstream the relief devices with a no continuous flow for the liquid or gas with liquid having a pour point higher than the minimum ambient temperature and for liquid and LPG with free water if the ambient temperature is lower than 0°C.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. 6.Lines downstream the relief devices .For the PSV’s the diameter of this line is at least equal to the inlet nozzle of the PSV. it is as short as possible and the pressure drop in this line shall not exceed 3% of the PSV set pressure for the maximum discharge flow rate to avoid opening and closing at high frequency (“chattering”).T.These lines and also all sub-headers and headers shall have at least a continuous slope of 2mm per m to the flare drum and from the flare stack to the flare drum (see Figure 6) . 6) .The upstream lines of safety devices in cryogenic service will not be insulated on at least 1 m upstream of the devices to avoid the risk of their freezing. .Lines upstream the relief devices .These lines shall be self-drainable to the protected capacity without pocket and low points (Fig. .g.

They could be installed at the bottom of the flare stack or on a water seal drum horizontal located not so far from the flare stack. . . it sences the difference between total flowing pressure and static pressure. block valves (except full bore and locked in fully open position downstream the relief devices). gas volume is calculated from this difference.In general.If one flare header receives different effluents. 5. .Flare headers should be large enough to avoid excessive back pressure which would prevent safety valves from operating properly. check valves. only the discharge line will be heat traced. . the discharge piping from a PSV should be at least one line size greater than the PSV outlet nozzle. . In case of relatively low temperature the heating due to the ambient temperature can be taken into account. To reduce the purge gas flow. it is installed perpendicular to flow of gas.3.1. (1) ANNUBAR = A gas measurement device that consists of a multiple-ported pitot tube installed inside a pipe through which gas is flowing. .The lines downstream the relief devices are not insulated and heat traced except for liquid having a pour point higher than the minimum ambient temperature. 19 . (hot.Hydraulic seals. It is normal practice to avoid this hazard by continuous bleeding a small flow of oxygen-free hydrocarbon or inert gas (purge gas) through the stack to deter air ingress.T. the fire zones and the material selections.The hydraulic seals are water seals and they are not often installed today because they are more expensive than the gas seals. flow orifice. Hydraulic and Gas Seals When the flow of gas through a flare or cold vent stack reduces to very low or no flow. 5. … . flow meter (expect annubar (1) type or equivalent) are not installed on flare headers and sub-headers. .FB/001 .3. wet. Two main systems of seals exist: .In general.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. the good engineering practices admit that the risk of freezing is practically null then the self-drainable line size is relatively important. the length of the annubar is equal to the diameter of the pipe in which it is installed. cold. .Water seals require a constant water flow. air may ingress from the mouth of the stack to form an explosive mixture in the stack or flare header. a seal system can be installed. Hydraulic Seals .) a segregation of sub-headers must be performed to avoid mixing the different fluids and in this case the connection could be done just upstream the flare drum nozzle or different nozzles on the flare drum could be also envisaged.Gas seals.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.The number of headers and sub-headers will be also function of the plot plan. In fact.

5.2. .TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. . Their use for sonic flare tip in case that the gas could content some liquid (case of sealing with possible condensation) shall be checked with the vendor from a mechanical viewpoint.The installation of water seals is not recommended if the minimum ambient temperature is lower than 0°C to avoid also the risk of freezing.3.Three types of gas seal are in common use: * Static inverted gas seals. . 20 . All types of seal are intended to reduce the rate of air ingress and the necessary purge flow. * Dynamic baffle seals. .FB/001 .These gas seals are installed immediately upstream the tip.Water seals can be used only for a conventional pipe flare tip because they cannot work with a high back pressure in order to avoid to discharge gas to the sewer and through the vent used as a vacuum breaker on the seal leg.The advantage of water seals is to protect in any circumstances the upstream headers and flare drum against the air ingress mainly when the purge gas is stopped and particularly during the maintenance.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. Gas Seals .Water seals being installed at the bottom or near the flare stack. * Double purge baffle seals. the air ingress problem in the flare stack itself is not solved. .They are designed and supplied by the manufacturers of the flare tip.T.Water seals cannot be installed if a cold gas relieves to the flare due to the risk of water freezing and the blocking of the gas to the flare. .


4. A variety of tests have been carried out to determine the factors which influence the rate of air ingress: * Gas density The rate of ingress increases as the purge gas density falls.FB/001 5. It has been postulated that when laminar flow conditions exist in the stack the purge gas will tend to flow through the central core whilst the air penetrates at the circumference of the stack. 5. Air is then drawn into the low pressure area at a rate dependent on the wind speed. and as a result there is enhanced air penetration.T. the size and strength of windinduced eddies is increased. Mechanism of Air Ingress . Heavier than air purge gases are extremely efficient as they tend to behave like a piston and flush the air out of the stack.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.STEADY STATE CONDITIONS No complete model for the process of air ingress at the stack tip has been proven but the likely mechanisms are as follows: * Wind action across the tip of the flare stack accelerates the emerging flow of gas resulting in a low pressure region in the tip. Purge Gas System .TRANSIENT CONDITIONS There exist process conditions which occur only intermittently which result in rapid air ingress and these must also be considered when designing and operating a flare or vent stack: 22 . * Sub-atmospheric pressure within the flare system If hot or low molecular weight gas is used to purge at low flow. * Wind speed As wind speed increases the low pressure area in the stack tip becomes more marked and the air ingress increases.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.When the flow of gas through a flare or vent stack is below a minimum value. Furthermore. * Stack diameter The required purge velocity to maintain similar oxygen concentrations in the stack increase with stack diameter. .1. the buoyancy of the gas may reduce the pressure below atmospheric at the base of the stack. air may penetrate from the tip of the stack to form an explosive mixture in the stack or flare header. * When purging with a gas lighter than air the air tends to penetrate the stack displacing the lighter gas from the stack.4.

Purge Gas The flow of purge gas to the stack is normally a waste of valuable purge gas or product.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. particularly high wind speeds. The system is usually specified by the vendor based on his own proprietary equipment and purchased as part of the flare tip package.FB/001 * Rapid temperature change If hot gases are discharged form a stack and the flow reduced suddenly in certain weather conditions the gas remaining in the stack will cool rapidly resulting in contraction in gas volume and the drawing in of air from atmosphere. Nitrogen with a purity at least of 95%. if available in sufficient quantities can be used as an alternative source. When using a purge gas with a molecular weight below the molecular weight of air (29). To ensure against this occurrence vacuum breakers are normally installed so ensuring against air leakage and breakdown of the water seal. * Recommissioning of stack after plant maintenance During plant shutdowns and maintenance operations equipment may become filled with air. may be economically unattractive. 5. the quantity of nitrogen required is slightly less than the amount of low molecular weight associated gas required. It is recommended to use the heaviest gas molecular weight as the flare purge gas. nitrogen may be an expensive commodity and. For economic reasons the purge gas flow is normally minimum to ensure safe conditions within the stack and extended tip life. On resumption of operations caution must be taken to ensure the discharge of air does not form explosive mixtures in the stack.5.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. Indeed. 5. Nitrogen could be used as a purge gas back-up. The purge gas must be injected at the beginning of the largest flare headers or subheaders in order to purge the whole flare system. which allow it to function under adverse weather conditions. when the flow ceases the gas remaining will cool resulting in a partial vacuum in the headers upstream of the water seal. 23 . a large part of the flare piping can be under vacuum if the purge gas flow is not sufficient.2. The system consists of multiple continuous pilot burners arranged around the flare tip. * Vacuum within the flare headers If a water seal is installed and hot gas is relieved. flare system should be inerted before re-start-up wherever possible. The prime consideration of the pilot system is reliability.T. Its design must incorporate features.4. although preferred. Pilots and Ignition System Pilot burners are provided to ensure a continuous ignition source at the flare stack. supplemented by remote controlled pilot ignition system to ensure against flare failure. However.

F CODE P/TM/TRG/P. the tip diameter is taken as the equivalent diameter corresponding to the exit gas area. which is blinded from the ignition system.Pilot ignition A pilot ignition system is provided to allow ignition of continuous pilot burners during start-up or inadvertent flame failure of burners. The flame failure alarm signal does not work properly due to the difficulty to have proper instruments. Tip diameter 8” and below 10” -36” Greater than 36” Nb. Gas consumption per pilot burner is typically 8-10 Nm3/h Each pilot is fed by an individual gas line. 24 . Of pilots 2 3 4 For sonic tip. A low pressure alarm with remote indication in the control room should be provided on the pilot fuel gas system. The igniter is weatherproof and must be located to allow easy and safe access. thermocouple or IR/UV detectors are rapidly out of service because they are burnt and replaced on many places by a camera. the system does not work correctly. the length of this pipe shall be limited at about 100-150m. Some other concepts are under development and the high energy sparks igniters seem to have a good record. Pilot burners are typically 1” diameter stainless steel tips protected by a small rain protection head. although the actual design should be made by the flare vendor. manual systems are recommended. Typical Figures are given below. . The system is a vendor package and is purchased integrally with the pilot burners and flare tip assembly. with a longer pipe.Pilot burners The number of pilot burners distributed around the flare tip is function of the tip diameter and the predicted pilot flame deflection due to wind.T.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T. However. that could be used as a back-up when it is authorized by the local regulations (example it is not authorized in Indonesia). in any case the design shall also include this solution. Ignition is normally performed manually through a local push button. Igniters are generally of the flame propagation type in which a premixed flammable mixture of air and fuel gas is electrically sparked and the resulting flame front is propagated to each pilot burner through a small open ended pipe.FB/001 . Pilot burners must be supplied by a reliable source of fuel gas. Ignition could be also performed with a special gun. although automatic ignition systems actuated on receipt of a flame failure alarm signal are available.

Ignition systems should be powered by D.F CODE P/TM/TRG/P.6. It is recommended that these systems be provided with a back-up propane bottle supply to supplement the normal plant fuel gas system. Fuel and Power Supply Flare pilots and ignition systems require high integrity fuel gas (in any case above the water and hydrocarbons dew points to avoid liquid) and power supply.FB/001 5.C. 25 . batteries.T.TSP-POGC-NIGC SUBJECT FLARE AND BURN PIT T.

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