May 01 2019
There are hazards in every industry. In food processing there are the often hidden considerations of bacteria and spoilage. In paper millsare powerful rollers which need to be controlled. However, there are few industries as obviously dangerous as fuel refineries. How lighting might reduce the potential of these dangers may not be quite so obvious.
How can leds save money
LED lights, however, do more than improve refinery safety. We will continue to use fossil fuels to generate electricity until viable alternatives are created. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use all the products we have to reduce our dependence on them, including refineries in the process.
In a crude oil refinery, products pass through many large pipes and containers before being homogenized. This brings important factors to this kind of industry in terms of lighting. Much of the work is done in the open air when workers put oil in the right pipes.
Although the sun takes some of the load, you still need a lot of light. This is especially true in winter or harsh areas. If you look at the Baytown refinery in Texas, the second largest in the country, you see 5,000 miles of pipe covering 2,400 acres. Pipes are stacked and need good lighting for a lot of maintenance.
With LED lighting, each bulb can save 60-80% of the energy cost (depending on the type of bulb). When you apply it to such a large refinery, the savings are incredible.
How can leds help meet the practical needs of refineries
Refineries, of course, are more than just lots of pipelines. There are loading (and sometimes shipping) sections, lots of machinery, and of course the refinery itself, where the crude oil is tested and processed.
Understandably, there is a lot of debris and pollution, so you need bulbs that are not only efficient, but also capable of handling the environment. Unlike high-intensity discharge bulbs, LED lighting has more robust fixtures that don't use their brittle glass. The lamp functions in the LED can be stored in the enhanced luminaires without any negative impact on the quality of the light output.
In a refinery, the separation of crude oil into its components requires a very complex distillation system. Each component (propane, butane, jet fuel, etc.) needs to be tested, and the refinery needs to test it so they can modify the mixture.
These tests require very specific analysis and are just one important aspect of it. This process is not a small laboratory, but a warehouse-sized interior space that can do a lot of business. LED lighting can provide incredibly clear white light to perform these tests, even if such a space requires high bay ceilings.
In a space where such a fuel hazard exists, the lamp needs to be of good quality, or its safety will be compromised. Leds do not devalue in lumens like HID and metal halides because they do not use the arc/gas/metal structure of these bulbs, so there is no risk of dangerous explosions.
LED lighting can also benefit workers by providing the right light at the right time of day and can be used with motion sensors to shut down currently unused parts of the refinery. Leds provide a small but inherent component of refinery safety and save money in the long run.
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