PhD project: EuroValve

European Program on Evaluation of Safety Valve Stability

The industry asks for innovative protection devices whose functionality is stable, safety integrity is very high, and that can be adapted to the processes and / or the ambient conditions. These devices should make it possible to operate facilities more safely and cost effectively. The development of such kind of Smart Overpressure Protection Devices is the long term objective of the innovation program SmOP at the CSE institute. The implementation takes place successively in three interrelated PhD projects – the first being the European Program on Evaluation of Safety Valve Stability (EuroValve).

The development of a new kind of safety device assumes the complete understanding of the current device and the insight of its disabilities. Hence, the European Program on Evaluation of Safety Valve Stability (EuroValve) investigates phenomena leading to safety valve instability. Safety valve instability like chattering and fluttering can lead to incidents with serious danger to human health and the environment. Instability are usually caused by the conditions of installation with complex in- and outlet lines. Therefore, the current sizing criterion restricts the pressure drop in the inlet line to a maximum of 3 %. However, recent experimental results in the US with API valves and straight inlet piping have proven that the current 3 % criterion doesn’t guarantee stable valve functionality. Hence, the API Standard for safety valve installations was adjusted 2015 and the development of a new sizing criterion was announced. According to the US results a new sizing criteria is expected to be more conservative – consequently thousands of old installations would have to be reviewed and probably changed. The objective of EuroValve is to develop a sizing tool to evaluate safety valve stability in old plants and to provide a design guideline for new installations with a focus on European valve designs.

The EuroValve project was introduced at the Joint US and European DIERS User Group Meeting in June 2015. The official EuroValve kick-off meeting took place in August 2015 together with BASF. Bayer joined the project 2016. The first measurements were performed at the IMI Bopp & Reuther test facility in Mannheim in September 2015. These measurements didn’t confirm the US results. Moreover, a long list of influence parameter concerning valve instability could be defined. Currently the planning and construction of the CSE test facility in Pfinztal is in progress. Planning for 2016 is the first measurements series at the CSE test facility. Furthermore the EuroValve project will be presented at the 3rd Wangerooger Sicherheitstage and the 15th International Symposium on Loss Prevention.

EuroValve provides information and data about safety valve stability. On the one hand the results help to evaluate valve stability in old plants on the other the data are the basis for a new sizing criterion. The long term objective in subsequent projects is the development of a new kind of Smart Overpressure Protection Devices. Both EuroValve and SmOP is open to all interested parties.

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