They are essential techniques used in various industries to maintain product quality, prevent fires and explosions, and ensure worker safety. These techniques involve using multiple gases, including nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide, to replace or displace atmospheric air in a process vessel, storage tank, or pipeline. In Australia, processes like purging are widely used in the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries.
What is Inerting?
Inerting introduces inert gas into a vessel or pipeline to remove oxygen and other reactive gases. This is done to reduce the risk of combustion or explosion during production. Nitrogen, argon, and carbon dioxide are the most common gases used for inerting. It is widely used in industries that handle flammable liquids and gases, such as refineries, petrochemical plants, and oil and gas production facilities.
Companies that use inerting gases must adhere to strict guidelines regarding storing, handling, and transporting these gases. In Australia, there are strict regulations regarding this process. These regulations are actively designed to ensure the safety of workers and the environment.
What is Purging?
Purging removes unwanted gases, such as oxygen, from a process vessel or pipeline. This is done to ensure that the final product is of high quality and to reduce the risk of contamination. It is commonly used in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, where product purity is critical.
The most common gas used in Australia for this process is nitrogen. Nitrogen is an inactive gas that is widely available and relatively inexpensive. It is also non-toxic and non-reactive, making it a safe choice for food and pharmaceutical applications.
There are several methods for this process. The most common practice is introducing the gas at the bottom of the vessel or pipeline and allowing it to flow upward, pushing out the unwanted gases. This process is repeated until the desired level of purity is achieved.
What is Blanketing?
Blanketing is introducing a static gas into the headspace of a process vessel or storage tank to prevent the formation of explosive mixtures. Blanketing is commonly used in the oil and gas industry, where it is used to protect storage tanks and pipelines from the risk of explosion.
The most common gases used for blanketing are nitrogen and argon. These gases are chosen because they are idle and do not react with the stored product. They are also readily available and relatively inexpensive.
Blanketing is a crucial safety measure in the oil and gas industry, as it helps to prevent explosions and fires caused by the build-up of flammable vapours. In Australia, companies that store flammable liquids and gases are required to use blanketing to avoid explosions and fires.
Regulations for these processes in Australia
In Australia, these processes are regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations. These regulations require companies to identify potential hazards associated with the use of these gases and to implement appropriate safety measures to mitigate these hazards.
Companies that use them must also adhere to strict guidelines regarding these gases’ storage, handling, and transportation. For example, they must be stored in appropriate containers and transported following regulations to prevent leaks and other accidents.
In conclusion, in Australia, these processes are highly regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulations. These regulations require companies to identify potential hazards associated with the use of these gases and to implement appropriate safety measures to mitigate these hazards. Companies that use these gases must also adhere to strict guidelines regarding storing, handling, and transportation of these gases to prevent accidents and ensure worker safety.