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J Air Waste Manag Assoc. 2001 Dec;51(12):1617-27.

Carbon bed fires and the use of carbon canisters for air emissions control on fixed-roof tanks.

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Environmental Engineering Program, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Fixed-roof tanks are used extensively at manufacturing, waste management, and other facilities to store or process liquids containing volatile organic compounds. Federal and state air standards require the control of organic air emissions from many of these tanks. A common practice used for some fixed-roof tanks that are required to use controls is to vent the tank through an activated carbon canister. When organic vapors are adsorbed on activated carbon, heat is released. Under certain conditions, the temperature of the carbon bed can increase to a level at which the carbon or organic vapors spontaneously ignite, starting a fire in the carbon bed. Bed fires in carbon canisters are not uncommon and can present a significant safety hazard at facilities if proper safety measures are not implemented. This article discusses how carbon adsorber bed fires occur and presents general guidance on safety measures for carbon canisters installed on fixed-roof tanks to reduce the likelihood of a carbon bed fire and to minimize the impact in the event of a fire.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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