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Determination of the Flashpoint for Methanol Diluted by Water: Small Scale Tests to Determine the Effect of Water Dilution of Methanol in Order to Reduce Fire Risks Onboard Ships
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

January 1st 2015 new requirements regarding sulfur emission for ships entered into force. The new regulation concerns ships operating in the so called Sulfur Emission Control Area (SECA) that covers the Baltic Sea, North Sea and English Channel. The new regulations allow a maximum of 0.10 weight percent sulfur in the fuel.Stricter regulations need to be met with new solutions for ship fueling. Today, heavy fuel oil (HFO) is the most common fuel in the maritime shipping. The frequently used HFO do not answer up to the new lower sulfur regulations and therefore the maritime shipping industry is trying to find alternative fuels for propulsion. One possible fuel is methanol. Compared to HFO, methanol poses a greater fire risk due to its low flashpoint. The regulation for maritime shipping on international waters, SOLAS, states that the flashpoint of fuels must exceed 60˚C; hence, methanol needs to be treated as an exception from these regulations. One way to reduce the fire hazard, in case of a spill, is to increase the flashpoint of methanol by water dilution.In order to handle low flashpoint fuels in a safe way, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed new regulations. The new regulations primarily focus on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and regulations for methanol is being developed under coordination of Sweden. However, the new adapted regulations do not cover active fire protection systems that are of great interest onboard ships.SP Fire Research is a partner in the work of the new regulations and one area that is of interest of being examined is dilution of methanol by water as a way to reduce the fire hazard. SP Fire Research has initiated a project around the issue of active fire protection systems and this study pursues to contribute to that work in terms of dilution of methanol.This study aims to determine the correlation between the flashpoint of methanol and the ratio of water diluted with the methanol. In order to determine this correlation literature studies have been made, tests for determination of the flashpoint of methanol water solutions performed and comparison with theoretical models and previous studies. Furthermore, there are comparisons between fire extinction by water mist and by water dilution.The results correlates well to previous performed studies regarding the dependence of the flashpoint on the degree of water dilution, and the main difference is the test methods that have been used. The test performed in this study was made due to standard EN ISO 3679 in an accredited laboratory. Furthermore, a comparison is made between extinction methods for methanol fires using water mist and dilution of methanol, respectively.The conclusions that could be drawn from this study are that there is a well-defined correlation between the flashpoint and the degree of dilution and that dilution of methanol might be a good way of reducing fire hazards and to extinguish methanol fires.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Keyword [sv]
Teknik, methanol, shipping, dilution, flashpoint
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-51084Local ID: 84d753f3-fd04-463a-8931-632a779f4fb9OAI: diva2:1024447
External cooperation
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 15 credits
Educational program
Fire Protection Engineer, bachelor's level
Validerat; 20160225 (global_studentproject_submitter)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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