FoamFatale

FAQs

Self Expanding Foam FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to the FoamFatale  FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section! This is where we aim to answer some of the most common questions about Self Expanding Foam and other technical topics we receive from our customers and visitors. Our team strives to provide comprehensive and accurate information to help you understand our products, services, and policies better. Everyone has different needs and concerns, so we have compiled a list of questions covering various topics. If you’re browsing our website, considering our technology, or have already purchased, this section can help you find the information you need necessary information. Please let us know if you need help finding an answer to your question. Our customer service team will be happy to help you out.

Self Expanding Foam FAQs

The foam vessel, where the Self Expanding Foam is stored, permanently operates at high pressure, whereas the storage tank is near atmospheric pressure. Contamination is, therefore, highly unlikely.

t depends on the situation and on the wishes of the client. Each storage tank can be equipped with its foam vessel. But situations where a central foam supply (one or more vessels) serves several storage tanks (via a distribution manifold), where a central foam supply (one or more vessels) serves several storage tanks (via a distribution manifold), can be considered.

Because we apply the foam directly to the tank shell, the foam will adhere to the inner tank wall while running down to the liquid surface. The wind will then have minimal effect on the foam. Foam losses due to the wind or up-draught will consequently be minimal. The very high foam application rate will compensate for the minimal foam losses, so we are confident that the foam blanket will always close.

For storage tanks with floating roofs, one shall consider two scenarios, i.e., a rim seal fire and a full surface fire. In this case, we recommend to apply a so-called two-step system. In case of a rim seal fire only, the isolation valve in the foam system is opened briefly to apply sufficient foam to cover the seal area. If there is a full surface fire, the valve remains open until adequate coverage of the area is achieved.

In the case of floating roof storage tanks where the maximum fire considered is a rim seal fire, we apply a standard FoamFatale system with sufficient capacity to cover the seal area with foam.

On the 25-meter diameter test tank, we have, for environmental protection reasons, not conducted a test with a one-hour preburn time. Our tests were done with 30 seconds of preburn time. We strongly recommend installing a detection system that automatically actuates the FoamFatale system. We do not let the fire burn for one hour – it will be put off in 2 minutes.

We fully know the costly consequences of a nuisance foam release into the product. We generally apply a two-out-of-three voting system to minimize the probability of nuisance releases.

Provided the system is equipped with an automatic detection system, extinguishing starts within 5 to 10 seconds after ignition occurs.

FoamFatale is a very effective storage tank fire extinguishing technology. We are curious whether any system is similar or even more effective. It, therefore, could be considered to be BAT (best available technique).

We have installed FoamFatale on more than 40 different storage tanks.

The FoamFatale storage tank fire protection system has official approval from the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior National Fire Department to be used as the sole extinguishing system on a tank. FoamFatale also has a European Standard (EN) Certificate issued by the German TÜV. FoamFatale EN Certificate by TUV states that the tested FoamFatale fire-extinguishing system complies with the safety objective defined in EN 13565-2.

We have experience with portable extinguishers using the same Self Expanding Foam concept for producing foam. The oldest extinguisher that has the same foam filling is 15 years old. The yearly tests show that the foam is in perfect condition. The foam extinguishes the fire effectively as if it were brand new.

Certainly yes. In this case, we will adapt our Self Expanding Foam formulation.

The foam vessel contains foam solution under pressure. This is the Self Expanding Foam. Details are part of our FoamFatale technology.

Every single FoamFatale system is tailor-made. The type of foam required depends on the flammable liquid stored in the tank to be protected. We will be sure to adapt our foam formulation accordingly.

The formula of the foam material is a part of our patented technology. We produce it ourselves and fill it to the Self Expanding Foam pressure vessel at the site. Our foam concentrate is fluorine-free,  biodegradable, and even edible!

We must use one piece of 120-m3 or two 60-m3 foam vessels and only 1,2 m3 of foam concentrate to get a safe, 30 cm thick closed foam blanket on the surface.

The Self Expanding Foam system can operate between minus 40 and 60 degrees Celsius.

The Continuous Linear Nozzle is made out of standard steel piping. Its mechanical strength is high. Its mass makes it unlikely to be dislodged due to an explosion. It could be made an integral part of the tank, thus reinforcing the tank itself. It is not likely to be damaged by a blast.

We have to know the composition of the existing foam concentrate. If it is suitable, we can use it. In many cases, we can adapt the foam to the needs of Self Expanding Foam system.

The Continuous Linear Nozzle, plus its upstream piping, could act as a condenser. Condensed product vapors could collect in the dead ends of the upstream piping. For such a tank, the configuration of CLN plus piping will be such that a ruptured disc will be installed at the highest point to ensure that any condensate will flow back into the main tank.

Yes, it is. We do not use any aspirating-type foam generators; our foam pipes have no aspirating holes, orifices, or bottlenecks. We use a large steel pipe that leads the foam, not the foam solution, to the storage tank. Scaling can not block the foam flow; the system is highly reliable.

One of the advantages of the FoamFatale technology is the swift response to the ignition. The delay between the fire's breakout and the system's actuation is only 8-10 seconds. After the actuation, the extinguishment is done in about 1-2 minutes for all sizes of tanks. There is simply no time to heat the tank shell and destroy the foam inlet device, the Continuous Linear Nozzle. According to our experiment, the intervention is so fast that the fire can not spread on the whole surface of the liquid in danger.

The thorus of the Continuous Linear Nozzle is fixed to the tank shell by clamps. It also serves as a reinforcement of the upper edge of the tank. In case of an explosion, the whole device is inside the space, where the pressure is increased. The forces of the explosion from all directions attack the well-dimensioned steel tube of the CLN. Therefore, there is no reason to move or take a break.

The total foam flow rate is very high, but the entire cross-section of the foam inlet is also significant. This results in gentle application, making no turbulences on the surface of the liquid. The continuous Linear Nozzle provides a curtain-like foam introduction pattern along the tank's circumference.

The foam gets out of the ring-shaped continuous linear nozzle (located inside the tank, at the height of the wind girder) with a relatively high velocity. It hits the inside surface of the tank shell and flows down, stuck to the shell. The foam begins the intensive cooling of the shell and keeps it safe against the fire's heat, convection, and radiation. The total volume of the foam to cover the liquid surface shall be introduced to the tank in 2 minutes, so the flow rate on the shell is high. When the foam riches the liquid surface, it turns horizontally and moves towards the center of the surface until the foam blanket closes. Then, the fire is put out. The foam will suffer no damage. Even more, the fire cannot destroy the foam during the short extinguishing period.

The problem of hydraulic shock in the pipes due to the system's actuation, of course, has to be addressed during the detailed engineering. The pipe between pressurized foam storage and the tank to be protected in the case of our test tank is about a hundred meters. During our tests, however, we did not notice any pressure surges in that line.

We fully share your concern about failing equipment running alongside the walls of a tank. In particular, foam chamber-type systems are vulnerable since they have an air-aspirating device in the vertical part of the foam supply line. Insects and birds love these places to build their nests. In particular, in humid climates where the air humidity passes through the dew point, one gets condensation inside the pipelines, which results in corrosion and, within a decade, failure of the pipeline failure. Our configuration, however, comprises a pipeline without any openings in it. The probability of internal decay for untreated steel piping can not be excluded. Even if rust flakes come loose inside the pipeline, it could result in negligible blockage of the Continuous Linear Nozzle (CLN) due to the nature of the CLN. This is why we don't have any reason to advise using galvanized or stainless piping.

The formula of the foam material, stored in the FoamFatale Pressure Vessel (FFPV) under pressure, is a part of our patented technology of the Self Expanding Foam system. We produce it ourselves and fill it to the SEF pressure vessel at the site.

When more tanks are equipped with our foam application system, one can reduce costs by providing a standard foam supply to a group of individual tanks. The foam supply tanks should be intelligently located reasonably from the storage tanks to be protected. This solution reduces the cost per storage tank. During the Basis of Design phase of the project, one should determine the most cost-effective system configuration for the storage tanks to be protected. If one uses a standard foam supply system, the supply unit's capacity must match the group's most prominent tank. So when the dominant tank is, for instance, 40 000 m3 (diameter 58 m), the required self-expanding foam quantity is 175 m3. We agree with you that, based on risk assessment, one cannot economically justify a full surface extinguishing system for a floating roof tank. Several interested parties, however, are seriously considering a full surface extinguishing capability. Their reasoning is often strategic, i.e., when the entire income of a country passes through one tank farm, and escalation of a tank fire to adjacent tanks cannot be excluded (because the tanks are relatively close to each other), they want the “belt and braces” solution, because the consequences for the country of a full surface fire are dramatic.

The current most up-to-date database for tank fire incidents in storage tanks was made as part of LASTFIRE 1 in the late nineties. Lastfire is very clear that when one manages a tank appropriately, the probability of that tank being involved in a fire is very low. But a low chance is not zero; it still means it cannot be excluded entirely. Despite all the knowledge gathered during that Lastfire project, the World still faces several large fires in storage tanks. Conventional systems to tackle tank fires are complex. Foam proportioning equipment is complicated and, therefore, prone to failure. Fire-trained personnel are generally a problem.
Personnel reduction is an ongoing action in the Oil Industry, so at a particular moment, one comes below the critical number of (volunteer) firefighters—conventional systems to succeed require well-organized logistics and half an army of well-trained personnel. Unfortunately, “success” in traditional fighting of a tank fire is only relative; since the result is always that the fire is out, the tank is also completely lost. Our system is set up during quiet periods. During a fire, all that is needed is to open one valve (or a few valves in the case of a common standard foam supply system). Our approach is highly reliable. It is so simple that the probability that it fails because a component fails is very low simply because there are hardly any components. It works perfectly since it does not require any external water or power source and can be triggered remotely or automatically. We do not claim to offer the only solution to all tank fire problems. But we are confident that our system, due to its unconventional approach to the typical fire extinguishing one faces, offers a revolutionary solution to many of these problems. We can imagine that hue refineries with a full-time company fire brigade and an army of technical personnel to fall back on as assistants- firefighters do not need our system. But a not around-the-clock crewed marketing terminal in the suburbs of a city does need our system since they cannot afford to have a tank fire lasting some time and endangering the population living in the vicinity.

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