Foam inerting

Nitrogen foam inerting is a technique which provides a safe working environment for carrying out hot works and maintenance in the presence of hydrocarbons. Particularly suited to fuel tanks, our nitrogen foam inerting solution, is fast, reliable and cost-effective and eliminates the risk of hydrocarbon explosions. It makes the impossible, possible.

Nitrogen foam has been used extensively on tanks, pipelines and process vessels for many years during maintenance and shutdown periods. By converting gaseous nitrogen into a high expansion foam and continuously injecting it into the system, any flammable vapours and oxygen are replaced by the nitrogen. This rapidly creates an inert and safe atmosphere, allowing maintenance works to be carried out on systems which would otherwise not be possible.

Advantages of nitrogen foam inerting

  • Tanks or systems can potentially stay online while being modified
  • Replacement of flammable vapours inside a system
  • Hot work can be carried out safely
  • Faster than cold cutting methods
  • Systems are made rapidly inert
  • Nitrogen foam mixture is biodegradable
  • Nitrogen foam is stable and visible
  • No risk of explosion

A safe and reliable solution

Nitrogen foam is stable and visible, allowing maintenance teams and operators to work confidently with visual proof of the inert system. In addition, the components of the nitrogen foam are biodegradable and upon completion of the hot work operations, disintegrate into water, surfactant and gaseous nitrogen. These can be drained from the process item and dried if required. During execution of the procedure, the level and density of foam are controlled by a mixing panel to ensure sufficient production. Prior to a foam inerting procedure, one of our specialists will visit your site to prepare a detailed operating procedure. They will assess the lay down areas, injection points etcetera to ensure smooth and safe operations in minimal time.

A project - Foam inerting online

Modifications involving hot works were required on a large crude oil tank in Europe. The client was convinced that the only safe way to carry out the modifications would involve completely emptying and cleaning the tank, making it hydrocarbon free. The modifications that were required were crucial, however the time and costs involved in emptying the tank were significant compared to the relatively small works that needed to be done.

After consulting the experts at Intero Integrity Services, the client realized that filling the tank with nitrogen foam was by far the fastest, most effective way to safely execute the hot works and allowed the product to remain in the tank. The tank had a diameter of 30 meters and the product reached up to 2 meters below the roof. Using foam generators and nitrogen units at four different locations, the remaining volume of 2000 m³ was filled with nitrogen foam.

When the tank was completely filled with a nitrogen foam blanket, the maintenance works were carried out successfully without complication. The client was very satisfied with the procedure which was completed in a significantly shorter time and with a lot less operational disruption than they had initially forecast.