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Keywords:

  • flare pilots;
  • flare ignition;
  • flare monitoring;
  • SoundProof®;
  • flame ionization

Abstract

One of the worst nightmares a plant manager can experience is a complete flare system outage. The flare system is the last line of defense for many refining and petrochemical facilities and, when out of commission, can cause the shutdown of the entire facility. Flare ignition failure may lead to unburned venting of dangerous gases, and may develop into an explosive hazard leading to the loss of property and equipment, or worse, injury to personnel or loss of life. The safety and effectiveness of flaring are dependent upon one or more continuously burning pilots for immediate and sustained ignition of gases exiting a flare burner. Because pilot failure can compromise safety and effectiveness, it should be detected quickly and accurately to allow prompt automatic and/or operator response. Proper disposal of process and waste gases during routine and/or emergency conditions is crucial to help operating facilities protect plant employees and the surrounding community, and to avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. These reasons alone make the pilot monitoring and ignition system the most important component of any flare system. The advanced flare pilot systems explained in this article offer increased protection from harsh environmental conditions and rapid notice of pilot flame failure. Recently published industry standards for flare pilot design and performance are also discussed. © 2006 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2007