Puncture of an import gasoline pipeline – spray effects may evaporate more fuel than a Buncefield-type tank overfill event

Frank Huess Hedlund*, Jan Boier Pedersen, Gürkan Sin, Frits G. Garde, Eva K. Kragh, Jérôme Frutiger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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This paper is concerned with evaporation of moderately volatile liquids, gasoline in particular, due to spray generation, liquid fragmentation and fountain effects following accidental puncture of a pressurized pipeline. Hazard analysis predicts that extensive evaporation will take place. The paper examines a typical fuel depot receiving gasoline from a ship at a nearby port via an above-ground pipeline. For comparative purposes, two types of accidental release during import are considered: 1) The receiving tank overflows in a worst-case Buncefield-type event (baseline). 2) The import pipeline is punctured and a jet of liquid discharges upwards. The paper examines pipeline import of three substances, hexane, octane and winter gasoline. Hazard analysis using the PHAST software suite indicates that the amount of fuel evaporated from the pipeline puncture scenarios greatly exceeds the amount evaporated in a tank overfill event for all three substances, gasoline in particular. Proper modelling of evaporation of wide-range multi-component mixtures such as gasoline is challenging however. PHAST's simplified thermodynamic modelling of properties of mixtures may be a source of error. A PHAST-based stand-alone spray evaporation model with advanced thermodynamic capability is developed. Results indicate that PHAST does indeed overestimate evaporation of mixtures. Still, model output shows that evaporation following pipeline puncture may exceed the evaporation from a Buncefield-type tank overfill event by a factor of two or more. This finding is significant as evaporation from pipeline puncture scenarios appear largely overlooked in hazard analysis. The finding may lead to a fundamental re-appraisal of the hazard potential of fuel depots and pipelines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Pages (from-to)33–47
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Major accident hazard
  • Onshore pipelines
  • Spray release
  • Consequence models
  • Fuel depot
  • Worst design event

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