Tank manufacturer Tseba Tanks, part of fuel management and containment systems manufacturer Colvic Petroleum Products (CPP), has been awarded the licence by US industry body the Steel Tank Institute to manufacture the Permatank. This is the highest-specification fibreglass jacketed tank for fuel storage purposes in the world, says CPP marketing director Mike Welman.
He explains that the Perma- tank is effective in containing leaks, which pose a significant environmental risk, especially to groundwater sources.
He adds that the Permatank is made with an inner steel tank and coupled with an exterior, corro- sion-resistant fibreglass tank. The interstitial space between the two tanks is filled with a material that aids the rapid detection of leaks. As the outer tank is made out of fibreglass, it is resistant to corrosion and can contain leaks from the inner tank.
CPP specialises in the design, manufacture, supply and installation of complete fuel management and containment systems for service stations, fuel depots and pipelines. Therefore, with the introduction of new fuels in line with environmental legislation, it is important that the company manufacture tanks that comply with certain anticorrosion standards set by the petrochemicals industry and with South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) specifications.
Welman notes that the newly- developed fuels have corrosive and high-octane properties. While they reduce carbon emissions, the lead replacement additives pose other environmental risks, such as the potential for polluting groundwater.
He notes that the need for highly developed tanks, such as the Permatank, will grow in the future, owing to South African refineries aiming towards producing fuel used in Euro IV engines. Currently, South Africa is working to Euro II standards, which means that there is still significant carbon emissions produced by engines. It is hoped that by 2014 local refineries will produce cleaner fuel to European standards.
Further, there is debate about using biofuels in the future, such as ethanol, as replacements or supplements to fuel. But, reportedly, these also pose risks to the environment and so tanks have to be manufactured to prevent this.
Welman explains that a modern option for preventing leakage of these fuels is to build double-wall tanks, equipped with automatic tank gauging (ATG) systems. ATG systems prevent leaks from the inner tank reaching the environment and also warn the filling station operator of the occurrence of the leak.
“The weakness of these systems is that the outer steel tank is susceptible to corrosion, and leaks can remain undetected for some time in these systems. A more appropriate method for containing leaks is a tank with fibreglass coating,” he adds.
Tseba Tanks manufacturing is SABS-accredited and complies with ISO9001 quality assurance. Further, CPP complies with stringent global standards developed by the Underwriter’s Laboratory in the US.
It is for this reason that the company has a successful export drive, mainly in Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.
Manhole Covers at Filling Stations
Meanwhile, a new filling station forecourt manhole cover, manufactured from composite materials to decrease the risk of theft and improve safety standards, has been manufactured by CPP.
The cover is the first locally manufactured manhole cover of its type containing no cast iron, therefore reducing its resale value as scrap. It is designed to sustain a point load in excess of the SABS heavy-duty requirements of 13,5 t, and actually handles a point load of 30 t, making it safe for any size or weight of vehicle visiting a forecourt, says CPP director Vic Hall.
“Manhole cover theft is an ongoing cost and safety risk for oil companies,” says Hall.
Cast iron manhole covers at tank and filler entry points and gas breaks are stolen regularly, so there is the constant risk of injury and damage if an indivi- dual inadvertently steps into the open manhole, or if a vehicle drives over it, he says.
Fuel giant Engen’s national retail engineering and construction manager, Pat McKune, identifies this as a safety and loss problem, and requested CPP to investigate an alternative, specifying a product which is lighter, yet as strong as cast-iron, and which would also be impervious to the rays of the sun.
The difficulty was to develop a product in compliance with SABS standards for heavy-duty manhole covers at a competitive price. The company has therefore manufactured a composite, ultraviolet-resistant manhole cover that costs the same as the cast iron equivalent, notes Hall.
The product weighs 15 kg and is lighter than its cast iron equivalent, which reportedly weighs 47 kg. A lifting lug faci- lity on the cover allows for colour coding or branding to suit oil company requirements.