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TRANSFER OF LIQUID CHLORINE BY

PADDING WITH A CHLORINE COMPRESSOR

GEST 79/79

4th Edition

April 2007

EURO CHLOR PUBLICATION

This document can be obtained from:


EURO CHLOR - Avenue E. Van Nieuwenhuyse 4, Box 2 - B-1160 BRUSSELS
Telephone: 32-(0)2-676 72 65 - Telefax : 32-(0)2-676 72 41
Euro Chlor

Euro Chlor is the European federation which represents the producers of chlorine
and its primary derivatives.

Euro Chlor is working to:

• improve awareness and understanding of the contribution that chlorine


chemistry has made to the thousands of products, which have improved
our health, nutrition, standard of living and quality of life;

• maintain open and timely dialogue with regulators, politicians, scientists,


the media and other interested stakeholders in the debate on chlorine;

• ensure our industry contributes actively to any public, regulatory or


scientific debate and provides balanced and objective science-based
information to help answer questions about chlorine and its derivatives;

• promote the best safety, health and environmental practices in the


manufacture, handling and use of chlor-alkali products in order to assist
our members in achieving continuous improvements (Responsible
Care).

***********

This document has been produced by the members of Euro Chlor and should not be reproduced
in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Euro Chlor.

It is intended to give only guidelines and recommendations. The information is provided in good
faith and was based on the best information available at the time of publication. The information is
to be relied upon at the user’s own risk. Euro Chlor and its members make no guarantee and
assume no liability whatsoever for the use and the interpretation of or the reliance on any of the
information provided.

This document was originally prepared in English by our technical experts. For our members’
convenience, it may have been translated into other EU languages by translators / Euro Chlor
members. Although every effort was made to ensure that the translations were accurate, Euro
Chlor shall not be liable for any losses of accuracy or information due to the translation process.

Prior to 1990, Euro Chlor’s technical activities took place under the name BITC (Bureau
International Technique du Chlore). References to BITC documents may be assumed to be to
Euro Chlor documents.

Page 2 of 15
RESPONSIBLE CARE IN ACTION

Chlorine is essential in the chemical industry and consequently there is a


need for chlorine to be produced, stored, transported and used. The
chlorine industry has co-operated over many years to ensure the well-being
of its employees, local communities and the wider environment. This
document is one in a series which the European producers, acting through
Euro Chlor, have drawn up to promote continuous improvement in the
general standards of health, safety and the environment associated with
chlorine manufacture in the spirit of Responsible Care.

The voluntary recommendations, techniques and standards presented in


these documents are based on the experiences and best practices adopted
by member companies of Euro Chlor at their date of issue. They can be
taken into account in full or partly, whenever companies decide it
individually, in the operation of existing processes and in the design of new
installations. They are in no way intended as a substitute for the relevant
national or international regulations which should be fully complied with.

It has been assumed in the preparation of these publications that the users
will ensure that the contents are relevant to the application selected and are
correctly applied by appropriately qualified and experienced people for
whose guidance they have been prepared. The contents are based on the
most authoritative information available at the time of writing and on good
engineering, medical or technical practice but it is essential to take account
of appropriate subsequent developments or legislation. As a result, the text
may be modified in the future to incorporate evolution of these and other
factors.

This edition of the document has been drawn up by the Storage, Transport
and Safety Working Group to whom all suggestions concerning possible
revision should be addressed through the offices of Euro Chlor.

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GEST 79 / 79
Fourth Edition

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. OBJECTIVE 5
2. FIELD OF APPLICATION 5
3. CHOICE OF COMPRESSOR 5
3.1. Types of Compressor 5
3.2. Common Features 5
3.3. Transfer of Liquid Chlorine 6
4. DESIGN FOR SAFETY 6
4.1. Contact between Chlorine and the Lubricant 6
4.1.1. Reciprocating Compressors 6
4.1.2. Diaphragm Compressors 7
4.2. Maximum Chlorine Transfer Temperature 7
4.3. Chlorine cooling 7
4.4. Materials of Construction 8
5. ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT 8
5.1. Compressor gas inlet 8
5.2. Compressor Gas Delivery 9
5.3. Compressor by-Pass 9
6. INSTALLATION 9
7. OPERATION 10
7.1. Inspection on Commissioning a New Installation or after Maintenance 10
7.2. Starting and Transferring the Liquid Chlorine 10
7.3. Ending the Transfer 11
7.4. Prolonged Shutdown 12
7.4.1. Reciprocating Compressors 12
7.4.2. Diaphragm Compressors 12
7.5. Problems to be Avoided 12
8. APPENDIXES 13
9. REFERENCES 13

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1. OBJECTIVE

The Recommendation concerns the design, installation and operation of


compressors used for the transfer of liquid chlorine from one container to another
by raising the pressure of the gas phase in the container being emptied using
compressed chlorine gas extracted from the container being filled (see figure 2 in
appendix). For detailed loading/unloading procedure refer to GEST 78/73 - Design
Principles for Installations for Off Loading of Liquid Chlorine Road and Rail
Tankers and ISO-Containers and GEST 78/74 - Design Principles for
Installations for Loading of Liquid Chlorine into Road and Rail Tankers and
ISO-Containers.

2. FIELD OF APPLICATION
The use of a transfer compressor enables liquid chlorine to be transferred from
one container to another and enables a large proportion of the residual gas in the
container being emptied to be recovered. Each of these two operations is
described below. The principal advantage is that it avoids the use of an inert gas
which necessitates a subsequent venting operation to avoid any risk of excess
pressure. It can be used for transferring liquid chlorine from a transport container
to a plant stock tank.

3. CHOICE OF COMPRESSOR

3.1. Types of Compressor


Two compressors types are typically used for padding:
i) diaphragm compressors,
ii) reciprocating compressors with non-lubricated seal.

Liquid ring compressors are not used for the transfer of liquid chlorine because of
the pressure normally required, the problems of achieving a reliable gas seal on
the shaft and the likelihood of entrainment of liquid (normally sulphuric acid) from
the liquid ring.

3.2. Common Features


The following factors should be taken into account in selecting a compressor:
- The compressor should not create chlorine velocities in excess of 2 m/sec in
the liquid chlorine pipework. A differential pressure of 2-3 bars between the
two containers is normal practice.
- For reciprocating compressors it is required that the linear velocity of the
piston should not exceed 3m/sec.

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- The design gas discharge temperature shall be compatible with the material
used, taking into account the possibility of hot spots (see 4.2.).

At the design stage it is recommended that advice is sought from specialist


suppliers of this type of equipment who have access to reference plants working
under similar conditions and who can supply specific compressor characteristics.

3.3. Transfer of Liquid Chlorine


Practical experience demonstrates that, under the temperature ranges
experienced in Europe, when the pressure differential between the two containers
is of the order of 2-3 bars, the volume of liquid displaced from one container to
another is equal to approximately 25% of the actual volume of gas fed back into
the first container. This pressure difference is within the normal operating
conditions of a single stage compressor.

The compressor capacity depends on conditions such as:


- Size of the containers,
- Temperature of the liquid chlorine,
- Whether or not the containers are insulated,
- Weather conditions (wind, temperature etc.),
- Piping arrangement,
- Desired discharge flow.

4. DESIGN FOR SAFETY

4.1. Contact between Chlorine and the Lubricant


Because of the oxidising properties of chlorine, all risk of contact between it and
the lubricant in the compressor must be avoided. Such contact could lead to a
chlorine-iron fire and containment loss. Means of doing this for the two types of
compressors are given below:

4.1.1. Reciprocating Compressors

To prevent any contact between the chlorine and the lubricating oil, it is essential
that the compressor cylinder is unlubricated, and that the piston rod passes
through a separation chamber between the cylinders and the oil sump. This
chamber must be of sufficient length to prevent any part of the piston rod coming
into contact with both the chlorine and the lubricating oil during its reciprocating
movement. In order to avoid any leakage of chlorine to the atmosphere and to
avoid contact between the piston rod and atmospheric moisture, this chamber
should be purged (gland purge) continuously at a pressure slightly greater than
atmospheric pressure by oil-free dry air or nitrogen (with a dew point of less than
minus 40°C at atmospheric pressure). This purged gas may contain traces of
chlorine and should be vented to an absorption installation.

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4.1.2. Diaphragm Compressors

The diaphragm compressor should have at least two diaphragms and an


intermediate fluid. This intermediate fluid should be a chloro-fluorinated oil which
does not react with chlorine. In addition the space between the two diaphragms
should be equipped with a leak detector to indicate any rupture of a diaphragm,
whether this occurs on the chlorine or the oil side. This detector should be
connected to an alarm which will trip the compressor automatically.

The diaphragms shall be replaced periodically to avoid accidental failure. The life
of the diaphragms is very dependent on any impurities which may be present in
the chlorine and also on the general mechanical state of the compressor. The
replacement frequency must therefore be chosen to suit the circumstances of
each plant and must take into account the possible impact of any change in the
quality of the chlorine. A filter on the chlorine inlet to the compressor may extend
the life of the diaphragms (see 5.1.).

4.2. Maximum Chlorine Transfer Temperature


To avoid chlorine-iron fires, it is recommended that the chlorine temperature at the
outlet of any stage or any internal chlorine contacting surface (e.g. internal valve)
of the compressor should not exceed 120°C, either in normal operation or fault
condition, unless the compressor and the discharge piping have been
manufactured using special materials suitable for higher temperatures.

This limitation may dictate the number of compression stages necessary to


achieve the transfer. The temperature at the discharge of the compressor must be
under complete control. Inter-stage cooling may be necessary if more than one
compression stage is used. In this case, attention must be paid to prevent chlorine
condensation.

Reciprocating compressors are vulnerable to high temperatures, for example due


to valve defects, piston ring failures. As such the vulnerable internal parts should
be either monitored or alternatively the design should have high safety margin
such that foreseeable defects will not raise the recommended temperature above
120°C.

4.3. Chlorine cooling


Ideally the cooling circuit would use air/chlorine heat exchanger. If water is used,
the pressure of the water circuit must be controlled below the chlorine pressure so
that, in the event of a leakage, chlorine will pass in the water circuit and not the
reverse. Detection with alarm will be installed to monitor the possible presence of
chlorine in the cooling water circuit.

Any risk of chlorine liquefaction must be avoided, for example by controlling the
water temperature.

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4.4. Materials of Construction


Refer to GEST 79/82 - Materials of Construction for Use in Contact with
Chlorine.

Any components of the compressor which come into contact with chlorine should
be fabricated from materials which are compatible with dry chlorine gas and which
have appropriate mechanical properties for the stresses and temperatures to
which they will be subjected.

For example:

For diaphragm compressors:


- Compressor head in carbon steel,
- Diaphragm in stainless steel or Monel,
- Valves in Monel.

For reciprocating compressors:


- The cylinder in carbon steel with the liner in cast iron or nickel,
- Cylinder valves in stainless steel,
- Piston rings and piston rod seals in graphite or graphite filled PTFE.

5. ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT

See Figure 1 in appendix.

5.1. Compressor gas inlet


Essential:
 An isolation valve placed as close as possible to the inlet gas port.
 A valved pressure gauge placed between this valve and the compressor.
 A vent valve between the isolation valve and the compressor.
 A low suction pressure alarm that will automatically trip the compressor.

Recommended:
 A coarse filter to retain any large solid foreign bodies (not fine iron and rust
particles which may results in a chlorine-iron fire).
 A heated separation chamber at a controlled temperature just above the
temperature of liquefaction of chlorine at the suction pressure. This
chamber should be as close as possible to the chlorine inlet port and is
designed to vaporise any entrained droplets of liquid chlorine which may
form in the suction pipework. This chamber should be fitted with a vent
valve connected to the absorption installation. This separation chamber
could be fitted with a liquid chlorine detector (either a low temperature alarm
or a level indicator).

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GEST 79 / 79
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5.2. Compressor Gas Delivery


Essential:
 A pressure relief system (see GEST 87/133 Over Pressure Relief of
Liquid Chlorine Installations) located between the compressor and
the downstream isolation valve, which should normally discharge to
an absorption installation. The pressure relief setting should take into
account all equipment that might be exposed to the maximum
delivery pressure, including the vessel being offloaded.
 An isolation valve.
 A high pressure alarm located between the valve and the
compressor, which will automatically trip the compressor.
 A high temperature alarm located just after the compressor which will
automatically trip it to protect against chlorine iron fire.
 A valve placed between the isolation valve and the compressor to
purge the compressor with inert gas.

Recommended:
 To avoid vibration in the discharge pipework of the compressor a
capacity vessel may be necessary. This capacity vessel can also
prevent the return of any liquid chlorine which may result from
condensing chlorine gas in the discharge pipework due to its route
and the external temperature (see Section 6 below).

5.3. Compressor by-Pass


Essential:
 A by-pass valve between the inlet and delivery of the compressor to
permit the start up of the compressor. The by-pass should
incorporate any cooling circuit that is required for normal operation
(see also section 4.3.).

6. INSTALLATION

The manufacturers shall supply instructions for installation, operation and


maintenance which only deal with the machines themselves. For the design of the
transfer systems refer to the following Euro Chlor recommendations:
 GEST 78/74 - Design Principles for Installations for Loading of
Liquid Chlorine into Road and Rail Tankers and ISO-Containers
 GEST 78/73 - Design Principles for Installations for Off Loading
of Liquid Chlorine Road and Rail Tankers and ISO-Containers

The transfer compressors should be installed:


 As close as possible to the container being emptied to minimise the
length of high pressure pipework and the potential for liquefaction.

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 So that there is no possibility of connecting to pipework or containers


of other substances.
 In locations to which there is good access and which are well
ventilated and illuminated.

The discharge pipework between the compressor and the capacity vessel must be
designed to prevent any return of liquid chlorine to the compressor when the
external temperature is low.

7. OPERATION

For the operation of the transfer, refer to the following Euro Chlor
recommendations:
 GEST 78/74 - Design Principles for Installations for Loading of
Liquid Chlorine into Road and Rail Tankers and ISO-Containers
 GEST 78/73 - Design Principles for Installations for Off Loading
of Liquid Chlorine Road and Rail Tankers and ISO-Containers

7.1. Inspection on Commissioning a New Installation or after


Maintenance
Before commissioning a compressor, checks should be carried out to ensure that:
 The compressor itself is complete and operating correctly.
 The pressure relief system is connected to the absorption system.
 All instrumentation/alarms/trips are operational.
 Leak tests have been carried out on:
 All chlorine pipework,
 The lubrication system,
 The vent system if it exists,
 The cooling system.
 The installation is adequately dry.
 The compressor internals in contact with Cl2 are degreased.

7.2. Starting and Transferring the Liquid Chlorine


See Figures 1 and 2 in appendix

 Check all pipework has been connected as indicated in figure 2 in


appendix (suction of compressor to the gas phase etc…).
 Check that all chlorine valves are closed (and compressor by-pass
valve 7 is open).
 Leak test all chlorine pipework which is reconnected at each transfer.

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 Progressively open the pipework valves for the liquid chlorine,


beginning with the container to be emptied (1, 2) and finishing with
the receiving tank (3); at the same time check again all the pipe
connections involved.
 If the container to be emptied is at a higher pressure than the
receiving tank, a limited quantity of chlorine can be transferred
without using the compressor itself.
 After equalising the pressure, progressively open the chlorine gas
valves, beginning with the container to be emptied (9, 8) up to (but
not including) the valve at the discharge of the compressor, and
beginning from the receiving tank (4) up to (but not including) the
valve at the compressor inlet.
 Check that the separation and the capacity vessels located at the
gas inlet and discharge contain no liquid chlorine.
 Start up the cooling circuit.
 Check that the gland gas purge, if fitted, is flowing.
 Open the inlet compressor valve (5).
 Check the initial pressure in the compressor.
 Start up the compressor.
 Partially close the compressor by-pass valve (7) and progressively
open the discharge valve (6).
 Close the by-pass valve (7).

Then check that all the operating conditions are at correct values:
 Oil pressure.
 Cooling water throughput, pressure and exit temperature.
 Discharge temperature of the chlorine.
 Discharge and inlet pressures.
Follow the chlorine transfer (weight or level of the 2 containers).

7.3. Ending the Transfer


Indication of the end of the transfer operation is given when the inlet and discharge
pressure of the compressor are practically equal, and when the level or weight of
the receiving tank no longer changes.

The following operations should then be carried out:


 Open the bypass valve and immediately close the discharge valve.
 Stop the compressor and then the cooling water supply.
 Close the compressor inlet valve.
 If it is only a short duration shutdown, for example up to 1-2 days, the
compressor can be left full of chlorine (after venting to reduce the
pressure in the case of reciprocating compressor).

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 If it is a longer shut-down, vent the compressor to the absorption unit


by means of the vent valve installed on the discharge line, without
allowing the pressure to fall below 1.5-2 bar g.
 Close the chlorine gas and liquid valves.
 Purge the pipework connected to the transport container before
disconnection.
 Maintain the dry air or nitrogen purge to the compressor seals.

Note: the reciprocating compressors use dynamic seals and hence when stopped,
Cl2 will pass into the transition pieces. As such the transition pieces need to be
continually purged/pressurised to avoid this.

At the end of the transfer, a small amount of liquid chlorine is left in the “emptied”
container allowing maintaining an acceptable maximum NCl3 concentration.

7.4. Prolonged Shutdown


7.4.1. Reciprocating Compressors

After purging, the gas cylinder should be maintained under pressure with dry, oil
free air or nitrogen (dew point below minus 40°C at atmospheric pressure). It is
also recommended that the purge gas on the compressor seal should be
maintained in order to avoid corrosion, which necessitates a permanent source of
dry inert gas. To avoid any seizure of the machine it is recommended that the
compressor is periodically turned over.

7.4.2. Diaphragm Compressors

The gas chamber (the space between the chlorine side of the diaphragm and the
cylinder head) should be maintained under pressure with dry, oil free air or
nitrogen (dew point should be below minus 40°C at atmospheric pressure).

7.5. Problems to be Avoided


Particular attention should be paid to the following potential problems:
 Liquefaction of chlorine at the compressor inlet or discharge.
 Chlorine leaks into the cooling circuit.
 Oil degradation from chlorine contamination.
 Cooling water leaks into the chlorine.
 Heating of chlorine within the compressor.
 Chlorine pressure falling below atmospheric, which would allow
ingress of moisture.
 Overheating of any parts within the compressors e.g. valve
failures/piston ring failures (resulting in pistons touching the
liners…..).

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8. Appendixes

Schematic P&I and installation drawing for chlorine padding with a compressor.

9. REFERENCES
 GEST 76/55 - Maximum Levels of Nitrogen Trichloride in Liquid
Chlorine
 GEST 78/73 - Design Principles for Installations for Off Loading
of Liquid Chlorine Road and Rail Tankers and ISO-Containers
 GEST 78/74 - Design Principles for Installations for Loading of
Liquid Chlorine into Road and Rail Tankers and ISO-Containers
 GEST 79/82 - Materials of Construction for Use in Contact with
Chlorine
 GEST 87/133 - Over Pressure Relief of Liquid Chlorine
Installations

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Appendix: Schematic P&I and installation drawing for chlorine


padding with a compressor

Figure 1: Schematic P & I diagram of chlorine compressor

Vent to
absorption
or recovery

TAL PAH

PSD Water

Cooler AAH Active chlorine


analyser
PSL PI TSH PSH

Chlorine gas Chlorine gas


from vessel to to vessel to
be filled be emptied

Inert gas

TAL

Heated separation Capacity vessel


chamber recommended)
(recommended)

Note: the "S" switches give alarm and trip the compressor

Figure 2: Emptying the mobile tank

5 6

See details on figure 1


8
2

4 3
1 9

Mobile vessel to be emptied

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4rh Edition

Industrial consumers of chlorine, engineering and equipment supply companies


worldwide and chlorine producers outside Europe may establish a permanent
relationship with Euro Chlor by becoming Associate Members or Technical
Correspondents.

Details of membership categories and fees are available from:

Euro Chlor
Avenue E Van Nieuwenhuyse 4
Box 2
B-1160 Brussels
Belgium

Tel: +32 2 676 7211


Fax: +32 2 676 7241
e-mail: eurochlor@cefic.be
Internet: http://www.eurochlor.org

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