Nitrogen Tank Blanketing


Many industries use and store large amounts of flammable chemicals. These storage tanks can benefit greatly from nitrogen blanketing. An N2 blanket is applied to the head space to protect against tank corrosion, chemical oxidation and most importantly fire or explosion prevention. Traditionally, nitrogen purge systems relied on a supply of nitrogen from high pressure tanks or liquid supplied in dewars or bulk storage tanks. High pressure nitrogen cylinders are heavy and dangerous to handle. Liquid supplies rely on delivery from a third party. A better option is to create the nitrogen blanket from a nitrogen generator. 

N2 Blanketing System Design

There are several ways that storage tanks may be purged. One way is to reduce the oxygen content in the headspace that is less than the LOC (limiting oxygen concentration). The tank blanketing design could also reduce the fuel concentration to a value less than the minimum concentration that allows combustion. This is the LEL (lower explosive limit). Finally, a tank can be “inerted” by increasing the fuel concentration in the headspace to a level that exceeds the maximum concentration that allows combustion. This is called the UEL or upper explosive limit. Most materials’ have these values in their material safety data sheets, in chemistry handbooks or in NFPA 69: Standard on Explosion Prevention Systems.

Tanks with floating roofs have no need for blanketing. Tanks with fixed roofs and unsealed tanks are good candidates for purging with nitrogen gas. Methods of purging with nitrogen include continuous purge, concentration controlled purge and pressure controlled purge.

  • 1.Continuous purge is probably the most common and easiest to set up. Simply inject nitrogen at a continuous rate into the headspace.
  • 2.Concentration control uses a feedback loop from an O2 analyzer back to a valve after the nitrogen generator that calls for nitrogen as needed to control the oxygen level in the tank.
  • 3.Pressure control is used on sealed tanks and includes a tank blanketing valve that allows the addition of nitrogen when the liquid level drops as well as a vent that releases nitrogen as the liquid level in the tank rises.

More information on nitrogen tank blanketing design is included in our white paper which may be downloaded here. 

Nitrogen Tank Blanketing Nitrogen Tank Blanketing (731 KB)


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