Honeywell reported today that operating companies of all sizes within the US inland barge market are turning to Honeywell’s Tanksystem portable level gauging and sampling technology to optimise custody transfer measurements and improve safety and environmental protection on both newly built barges and retrofit vessels.
More than 4,000 tugboats and 27,000 barges move more than 800 million tonnes of raw materials and finished goods each year along more than 25,000 miles of canals and rivers that comprise the US inland waterway system. Inland marine barge traffic contributes more than $5bn to the US economy and transports 20% of America’s coal; enough to produce 10% of all electricity used each year in the US.
To support the safety and environmental protection of the inland barge fleet, Honeywell has supplied more than 1,200 vapor control valves for deck installation (each barge typically has between three and six tanks) in the US over the past year. This represents the majority of all newbuild projects in the region. The use of a ball valve permits tank gauging and sampling under completely closed conditions, removing the previous open method that resulted in vapour escape, along with the possibility of vapour ignition. By adopting the new technology, barge owners improve operator safety, reliability and accuracy of measurement values.
Honeywell Process Solutions marine general manager Philippe Despagne said: "Custody transfer measurement on barges is shifting from traditional methods under open conditions, allowing vapour to escape from tanks, to closed solutions, eliminating vapour release to the atmosphere during tank gauging.
"In addition, there is increasing demand in the barge industry to have a ball valve on each tank to enable connection of portable gauging and sampling equipment. Utilising a valve for connection of portable equipment to perform tank gauging and sampling allows for safer and more accurate measurements.
"Equipping tanks with valves also makes it possible to perform measurements under closed, gas-tight conditions. This type of operation not only increases accuracy, but also provides a huge improvement in terms of environmental protection."
HERMetic deck valves are heavy-duty, compact ball valves constructed from 316 stainless steel and incorporating Teflon® gaskets and a deck flange meeting the ANSI 150lb standard. These multi-purpose valves provide the flexibility to gauge products from crude oil to chemicals, while allowing the use of sampling equipment capable of retrieving sample quantities from 0.33l to 1.8l in a single operation.