Lightning Protection is a wise investment for production, bulk crude storage, and saltwater disposal tanks. An effective lightning protection system for tank batteries can be achieved with proper grounding, streamer delaying air terminals, static control at the load outs, and industrial grade surge suppression.
Salt-water separation, distillate, storage, and similar tanks, particularly fiberglass tanks, have a history of susceptibility to catastrophic damage from lightning and static discharges. The 4 point protection plan detailed below addresses both problems of lightning strike and static accumulation on the stored product in the tanks.
Grounding is the starting point. There needs to be a reliable path to ground for static and lightning discharges.
Streamer delaying air terminals help reduce static buildup on storage structures by dissipating those charges through the air. Reduction of this buildup also reduces the likelihood of a lightning strike. Should a lightning strike occur, these streamer delaying air terminals act as traditional lightning rods, intercepting the strike and sending the energy around the protected structure and into the earth.
Static bonding and ground monitoring systems at the load outs create an equipotential bond between the load out and the trucks. This reduces the possibility of a dangerous static discharge while hydrocarbon vapor is present.
Industrial grade surge suppression protects the critical electrical and electronic equipment including the drives, PLC and SCADA equipment. This will help ensure that your site remains operational after the effects of a direct lightning strike has been mitigated.
There are no guarantees with lightning protection, if lightning wants something it will get it. But after saying that, if you employ the protection system described above, you will greatly increase your chance of keeping your tank battery safe from lightning.