Simulation and Analysis of Gas Freeing of Oil Tanks

  • Kevin Chow

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis presents an in-depth study of the gas freeing of marine crude oil tanks using numerical simulation, beginning with a general summary of the problem, followed by an outline of the objectives of this work and the main difficulties involved.

    To outline essential background, a review of numerical methods, fluid flow, and related physical mechanisms has been undertaken, in addition to related ventilation fields, jet and jet impingement, and tanker-borne ventilation, in order to determine the state of the art and draw useful parallels between different ventilative fields, as well as identifying potential areas for model validation.

    A room-ventilation test case was studied in order to demonstrate the numerical method. It was found that assuming adiabatic walls and ignoring radiation resulted in highly idealised temperature predictions, and that radiation played a large part in enhancing vertical temperature prediction by redistributing thermal energy.

    For the gas-freeing analysis, the geometric models and solution procedures are introduced before simulation results presented and validated with analytical jet models and impingement penetration parameters. Analysis showed that the internal temperature of the tank was approximately homogeneous, allowing the tank to be considered isothermal. 2D simulations showed that after an initial period of time, the relative concentration distribution reaches steady state with decreasing average concentration as gas-freeing continues.

    Discussion of the results followed, examining aspects surrounding heat transfer and the choice of turbulence model, analysing the differences in the results between the first and second-moment closure schemes and justification of assuming isothermal conditions. The variation in concentration was examined, and an analytical expression was derived which approximates the reduction in average gas concentration decay due to gas-freeing.

    It has been shown that double-hulled construction renders the internal temperature variation to around 10% of the temperature difference between the sea and deck. During the gas-freeing process proper, it was shown that after any stratified layer has been eroded and a stable flow field established, the relative concentration distribution remains constant. Gas freeing times were shown to be heavily dependent on the volume flux (and thus air change rate), and mathematical relations derived in order to provide approximately predict the time to gas free a crude oil tank (COT) given particular initial conditions.
    Date of Award2010
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorArne Holdø (Supervisor)

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