LNG Storage Tank Design
Why are terminal headers safety-critical components of LNG vessels and terminals? Pumps mounted aboard the cryogenic containment require electricity for control, instrumentation and power. The penetration from atmosphere into the cryogenic liquid is accomplished using specially designed electrical feedthroughs, also called terminal headers. Gas pressure and a temperature of -162°C place incredibly high demands on the pumps and their electrical terminal header assemblies.
Terminal headers in the LNG storage tank have two key functions:
- They must safely and reliably provide electricity and data to submerged pumps, turbine expanders and compressors
- At the same time, they have to maintain the pressure boundary integrity of the containment.
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Consequences of terminal header failure can be severe
In 1979, an accident took place at the Cove Point terminal when liquefied natural gas leaked through an inadequately tightened electrical penetration seal on an LNG pump. The LNG vaporized, and led to an explosion that killed one plant employee and caused millions of dollars in damages.*
While this was an incident caused by a specific set of circumstances, it nevertheless demonstrates, that the reliability of the LNG storage tank design is crucial, for the consequences of failure could be disastrous.*Source: CH-IV International: Safety History of International LNG Operations, Rev. 12 February 2012