Bilfinger’s Mobile Flare Stack Reduces Plant Emissions

November 07, 2018

  • Bilfinger develops mobile flaring system for ExxonMobil
  • Adherence to exacting environmental and safety standards
  • A customized solution with significant market potential

Rapid, flexible, and variable solutions, whether for complete plants or individual sub-process systems, are playing an ever greater role in the process industry. A good example is the self-contained, high-temperature flaring system, deployable on short notice, that the industrial services provider Bilfinger has developed as a product solution for the oil corporation ExxonMobil.  By combining sophisticated technology with flexibility and user friendliness, Bilfinger has met an as-yet unfulfilled demand on the German market. Another compelling aspect of this new product is the high degree of safety it provides: By ensuring that excess flue gases are burned off without danger, the mobile flare stack reduces the throughput load of existing plant systems.

“Mobile systems are becoming more and more important. They can be deployed in flexible fashion, they are safe to operate, and they are environmentally friendly,” said Hanno Wennekamp, Project Manager at Bilfinger EMS. The mobile flare stack is securely mounted on a trailer vehicle, allowing it to be rapidly transported to the desired deployment site. Both the body assembly and the chassis of the trailer can be variably adjusted to meet the specific requirements of each customer.  Further features sure to find favor on the market is the flaring system’s availability and its all-around uses, since it was conceived not only for scheduled inspection, maintenance or repair work, but also for unscheduled deployments, e.g. in response to accidental gas leaks.   

The subsidiary Bilfinger EMS disposes over the necessary expertise to manufacture mobile products tailored to specific customer needs within its own production sites. The industrial service provider has significant experience in developing mobile solutions such as gas-scrubbing systems, capacity & load-relief systems as well as pump trailers, all of which have already been placed into service successfully by various customers. The mobile flare stack is another logical step along this path. “In principle, the mobile concept can be carried over to any number of plant strategies and, thanks to its flexible deployability, represents a huge advantage for our customers in terms of costs, technology, and the time saved,” Hanno Wennekamp explained.

Safe, user-friendly, and sustainable

The mobile flare stack’s design allows it to be autonomously operated (by battery power) for several hours.  The flaring system’s arm is raised to the desired height by means of a hydraulic power train.  A touch panel allows for user-friendly operation. All the required consumables, such as nitrogen and propane, are carried along on board. The product solution developed for ExxonMobil can also be run on acid gas – a mixture of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide. 

The technical challenges involved were manifold. For one thing, the specifications normally applicable to a high-temperature flaring system had to be transposed to a mobile platform.  Weight, temperature, and ease of operability were critical considerations in this context.  Moreover, the engineers had to come up with a compact construction design that would make the product easily transportable yet durable and robust at the same time. Moreover, the mobile flare stack’s safe operability and readiness for use had to be made resistant to transport-related shocks or vibrations and to the effects of changing weather conditions. The Bilfinger mobile flare stack manages to fulfill all these requirements, not to mention those stipulated under the TA Luft (Technical Instructions on Air Quality Control).

This mobile product has great market potential, since it will likely encounter strong demand all over Germany.