MoniTank Product fast-track commercialization aims at providing continuous condition monitoring system for underground storage tanks applications in order to avoid risk, structural failures and losses associated to tanks leakage and corrosion.
The underground storage of petrol in tanks, especially in close vicinity of urban and rural environment (petrol fuel station), may pose several risks e.g. fire/explosion, environmental damage, health effects when handled by individuals. Because of the large volumes of petrol used daily (only in EU >400 million liters) and large service stations network (>100,000 only in EU) and storage capacity surface and subsurface releases are likely to occur Petrol gives off highly flammable vapor even at very low temperatures. Because of the flammability of petrol vapors, service stations carry a risk of fire or explosion not common to other types of retail outlets. Petrol vapor is heavier than air and tends to sink to the lowest possible level of its surroundings and may gather in tanks, cavities, drains, pits or other low points and will travel across the ground due to gravity (down-hill) or may be carried in the direction of the wind. Petrol vapors can find their way into basements of buildings and public drains with serious consequences should the vapors come into contact with an ignition source. If released into the environment, petrol and diesel may also pollute the soil and water supplies. Whenever petrol escapes from an underground storage tank (UST) or pipelines, it can travel significant distances.
Leaking underground storage tanks are the most numerous sources of MTBE contamination (Fogg et al., 1998). It is estimated that 10-35% of underground storage tanks in the USA are leaking or fail to pass a tightness test (Page, 1989). In one survey of 3,500 tanks, only 2% of the tanks were leaking while 10% failed to pass the tightness test. However, in about 9% of the service stations surveyed petrol was found on the top of groundwater in close proximity to station (Page report, 1989). Beside that, almost 2702 accidents between 1958 to 2007 in France occurred to due to USTs failure (ARIA database, Ministère de l’Ecologie, du Développement durable et de l’Energie, FR). The level of risk associated with fuel leakage means early detection of leaks is essential. The very high cost of fuel also means the monetary loss caused by fuel leakage should be of concern to businesses, as a 10,000 litre loss =13,500 Euros. These problem challenges and losses create an opportunity and need of continuous condition monitoring system MoniTank a system developed to address needs of monitoring and inspection of underground storage tanks. SHELL operates 14000 fuel stations and deploy USTs in filling stations in EU has shown interest in a commercial MoniTank system.
Consortium behind this action aims to commercialize MoniTank system (already proven at TRL6, received positive feedback from potential clients) a low-cost monitoring system that actively monitors the underground storage tanks (USTs) online and can flag changes in condition before leakage occurs(99% Probability of detection (POD)accuracy). It will offer an innovative system for the early detection of leakages through the assessment of the structural integrity of USTs (tightness, corrosion) in order to predict their maintenance using a combination of Risk Based Assessment (RBA), continuous Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) taking advantage of key enabling technologies of acoustic emission. The system will be meet the ASTM and BS standards of inspection and NDT and will be in full compliance to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandatory UST monitoring protocols. Commercialisation of MoniTank will create €24 million in revenues and will create 112 direct jobs within 5 years of commercialisation for consortium.
Integrity NDT has developed the system internally with TWI and BUL and demonstrated it at Floteks tanks a commercial manufacturer and supplier of underground storage tanks, the proved system at TRL6 planned to be tailored in this project as per feedback of potential customers mainly filling stations in terms of ease of operation and scaled up monitoring. Consortium has been established by bringing in IRIS an advance engineering SME expert in developing cloud based, IoT enabled system and software to finalise a commercial version of MoniTank at TRL9, targeting to be in the market by 2020.