One of Aura’s main competencies is the design of railcar loading facilities. We recently wrapped up such a facility for a client in Ohio. We designed a sixteen (16) spot loading rack for propane, butane, and natural gasoline.
The loading facility is designed to load railcars simultaneously while accurately measuring the loading rate to each individual railcar with a dedicated meter run. Each meter run is set up as a standard Lease Automated Custody Transfer (LACT) meter run. The LACT unit consists of a strainer, flow meter, pressure transmitter, RTD, double block and bleed valve with a prover connection on either side along with a flow and pressure controlling valve. The flow and pressure control valve is utilized to control the loading rate while maintaining a minimum back pressure on the flow meter. The designed loading rate for each railcar is 500 gallons per minute. The design allows each railcar to be loaded in approximately 60 minutes.
The design of safe systems is always foremost in the minds of Aura’s design staff. Some of the protections that this system includes are: grounding verification and overfill protection at each railcar loading spot. Each loading spot is also equipped with a flow computer to measure the loading rate per custody transfer standards. Flow computers are programmed for initial loading rates as well as top-off loading rates. Vapors generated during the loading operation are sent to a vapor combustor using pressure built up in the railcar. As another safety precaution, the vapor headers from each railcar are isolated with a detonation arrester as safeguard against potential flashbacks from the vapor combustor.
In addition to the engineering design effort, Aura personnel were on-site during commissioning to ensure the system operated as designed.