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Energy savings from reduced fuel consumption due to thermal insulation systems are frequently compared with the capital investment cost of the insulation system. Energy-saving thermal insulation programs for large storage tanks are not always implemented because the rate of return on the insulation investment may not be as attractive as the return on other investments competing for the same capital equipment expenditure dollars.
Seeking to develop a low-cost, thermally efficient, long-lived thermal insulation system that could increase energy savings and reduce first costs, the author selected foamed-in-place polyurethane foam as the system's basic insulation material. Insulation system details were selected to exploit the advantages and to overcome the disadvantages of polyurethane foam as a field-applied insulation material. A unique application method and application machinery were developed, specially suited to application to large, flat-bottomed, low-temperature storage tanks. The important features of the insulation system, Chicago Bridge and Iron Company's horizontal foamed-in-place (HFIP) insulation system, and the special application method are discussed in detail in the paper.
thermal insulation, insulation systems, low temperature, storage tanks, cellular polyurethane, polyurethane foam
Design engineer, Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., Oak Brook, IL