Measurement and Testing

  • Standalone lightning warning system will minimise downtime at petrochemical facilities

Standalone lightning warning system will minimise downtime at petrochemical facilities

Apr 22 2021

Approximately 100 lightning bolts strike the Earth’s surface every second,  about 8 million per day or 3 billion a year and for many petrochemical manufacturing facilities they can play a significant role in disrupting operations. This could be anything from an increased risk of ignition due to static electricity to lightning strikes directly to the plant and process equipment.

When a thunderstorm is in the vicinity, many manufacturing and storage transfer processes must be made safe or halted completely as part of the site’s risk mitigation and safety protocols. Both cause loss of productivity and efficiency for the plant operators.

With this in mind, meteorological equipment specialist Biral is offering its BTD-200 self-contained, standalone lightning warning system so that employers can take precautions to prevent exposure to lightning and ensure their workers’ and process safety.

An estimated 240,000 people are injured and 6,000 killed worldwide by lightning every year. Because of this, workplaces have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their workers under the a variety of international safety regulations, so if staff are working outdoors in exposed areas a lightning safety plan should be in place.

For the best chance of getting a thunderstorm threat warning, the detector should be able to alert for both distant lightning and the presence of a strong electric field at a location. This strong electric field is indicative of a lightning threat developing overhead – so potentially a very serious situation and one to take immediate action over. 

The innovative BTD-200 lightning warning system from Biral can do both. It detects distant lightning up to 22 miles away as well as warning about a developing strong electric field overhead, even if there is no lightning being produced. 

The Lightning Works software will then alert the staff and managers to these threats in real time, allowing them to review and manage the situation and to staff to the potential danger. It can also activate warning sounders automatically if required. 

The newly released Lightning Works Messenger software system works seamlessly with the BTD-200 and automatically sends out both email and SMS text messages to any number of recipients. In this way, responsible staff, site managers as well as operators can be directly alerted to the risk of a developing or approaching thunderstorm. Again, strengthening site safety protocols and improving efficiency by reducing the time required to alert key staff. 

The BTD-200 lightning warning system represents the next generation of lightning detection and warning system. It has been developed from proven professional technology currently used worldwide at airports and by national meteorological organisations.  

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