There has never been a more important time than now to record and reduce emissions; maintenance of tank breather vents should be a priority for any organisation, in order to make their facility safer and compliant.
In the UK, there are over 900 storage tank farms and over 300 biogas digesters, which act as essential storage for harmful and flammable vapours and gases. However, many of these tanks are unable to retain the harmful substances within as they are old and not serviced, leaking their contents into the atmosphere. Why does this happen? Businesses often lack the motivation to make this a priority. In fact, a staggeringly high proportion of manufacturers (over 90%) do not comply with international standards in production leak testing and calibration of new devices.
So what impact does this have? Odourless and invisible gases escape into our atmosphere daily – this is detrimental to business profitability, but even more worryingly, it has a negative impact on our environment, our health and our children’s health.
Assentech Sales Ltd, a leading supplier of equipment, services and technical expertise in tank storage feel so strongly about reducing fugitive emissions, that their main objective has been to help tank operators reduce their emissions to mitigate harmful environmental pollution and to save businesses money.
For too long, businesses have been unknowingly buying cheap, non-compliant equipment that doesn’t stand the test of time. Assentech’s aim is to reduce the leaks that happen in these tanks – it’s a technical challenge, but one that this forward-thinking company has been able to overcome.
Ewart Cox set up Assentech in 2009 and the business was built around providing tank venting solutions that fully meet international standards and regulations. Ewart felt that due to the severity of tank contents, the cost, and the potentially hazardous materials, something needed to be done to ensure that equipment was up to the highest of environmental and safety standards, whilst also saving revenue for the tank owners.
Their passion lies in ensuring tank venting equipment is of the highest standard and is maintained to ensure flawless operations to prevent excessive fugitive emissions that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye.
Thanks to funding from AeroSpace Cornwall, Assentech has developed a “brain” that can be applied to all vent manufactures equipment that enables reliable and repeatable accurate measurements of the functional efficiency of tank breather vents automatically. This software architecture takes pressure measurements of the tanks every 200 milliseconds by using complex algorithms that make decisions on whether to change air flow to the valve during a test cycle. With Machine Learning logic, the programme will observe and analyze the valve behaviour in response to the changing flow – building a performance report which will be used by a further complex algorithm to determine the best method to measure the valve leak rate.
This system does not involve any upheaval or removal of the existing test bench. Assentech’s new vent-Less control box (brain) is a fully integrated module which can easily be mounted into the existing test bench frames. Conversion requires only the removal of the air tank, rotameters and manometers and control facia.
The equipment reduces test time from over 20 minutes per valve to less than 3 minutes and therefore removes a large bottleneck, meaning benefits to stakeholders, such as less costly evaporation losses for the operators, safer environment for staff and neighbouring buildings and communities whilst providing better ESG monitoring and reduced manufacturing time for the producers. However, perhaps the most important benefit is the reducing greenhouse gas leaks. By operating a gold standard for tank vent leakage, Assentech aim to meet the challenges of net zero by 2050.
Their work doesn’t stop there. Once Assentech is aware of a leak, they will support their customers with servicing or replacing equipment, in the short and long term – therefore preventing harm to the environment and saving their customers revenue.
This ground-breaking technology can service any industry, including the space and aerospace sector. Assentech is in talks with various national airports and the clean biofuel producers.