Outfitting An Innovative Autogas Installation
Ebsray® RC40 Series Regenerative Turbine Pump Provides The Priming And Suction-Lift Capabilities Needed In A Unique Vertical-Tank Autogas-Dispensing System At An Italian Fuelling Site.
By Jean-Marc Bernard
For more than half a century, Italy has taken a leading role in Europe in identifying and utilising alternative fuels that can power motor vehicles. As the demand for “green” fuels continues to grow, Italy has become home to more than 4,200 stations that offer Autogas (LPG), 1,050 with access to CNG and 20 with LNG filling points.
Satisfying Many Needs
Retailers offering alternative fuels also find themselves faced with another challenge: outfitting their sites with equipment that is capable of handling the unique dispensing characteristics of Autogas and also creating a storage-and-dispensing system that is sensitive to the needs of surrounding homes, schools and businesses.
“More and more customers are driving vehicles powered by alternative fuels,” explained Giorgio Gotta, General Manager of GasTech Services s.r.l., Bari, Italy, a leading consulting and engineering firm for many customers throughout Italy. “However, at service stations that are located near houses and businesses there are regulations that limit the amount of noise pollution that can be created, while mandating that site safety be of the highest importance.”
Recently, the operator of an EWAPOINT service station in the town of Santa Maria Capua Vetere, which is situated about 35 kilometres (22 miles) due north of Naples, wanted to begin offering Autogas.
“Because there are numerous houses and apartments located next to the station, there are regulations that demand a minimum safety distance between the Autogas tanks and dispensers and the homes,” said Gotta. “In some instances, it is impossible to meet the regulatory demands, but if you can look for a clever solution, you may be able to find a way to make it possible.”
For assistance, Gotta turned to Luigi and Graziano Pastore, the founders and managers of fuel-site design firm G.P. s.r.l., Pomigliano d’Arco, Italy. After surveying the site, the Pastores determined that the Autogas islands and dispensers had to be placed away from the existing covered forecourt. Regulations dictated that the Autogas be stored in an underground storage tank (UST) that could be buried behind the site’s office/retail shop.
However, there was not enough room to bury the UST in a horizontal orientation. Using some of that “clever” thinking that Gotta mentioned, the UST was installed vertically in order to satisfy the Italian regulations.
“To ensure sufficient capacity, we needed a tank – which would be 5 meters (16 feet) tall – that could hold 25,000 litres (6,600 gallons), and it had to be a UST,” said Gotta. “After considering the alternatives, we realised that the only available solution was a vertical tank.”
Finding The Perfect Pump
After working out the logistics, the next step was finding a pump that could safely and quietly transfer the Autogas to the four fuelling nozzles – oftentimes simultaneously – at the fuelling island and into the vehicle’s fuel tank.
Based on past experience, an RC40 Series Regenerative Turbine Pump from Ebsray®, Cromer, Australia, was installed. Ebsray is a product brand of PSG®, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, USA, a Dover company.
“The challenge was to select a pump that could run reliably in these conditions,” said Graziano Pastore. “We have had positive experiences in the past working with Ebsray RB10 and RX pumps, so we know Ebsray pumps can supply the priming and 4.8 meters (15.7 feet) of suction lift needed in this installation.”
The pump would also have to be able to create at least 10 bar (145 psi) of differential pressure in order to be able to transfer the Autogas from the UST to the dispenser. That can be a challenge for other pump technologies, especially in the warm summer months, when high temperatures increase the internal pressure in the vehicle’s fuel tank to a level that forces the pressure in the UST to also increase. If the proper differential pressure is not achieved, it becomes difficult for the pump to transfer the fuel into the vehicle’s tank, leading to slow filling rates or interrupted service.
The Ebsray RC40 pumps fits the needs of this installation because it can create differential pressures up to 14 bar (200 psi) at motor speeds up to 3,500 rpm with maximum flow rates of 200 L/min (53 gpm). In this specific installation, an electric motor that can produce 2,900 rpms with a differential pressure of 14 bar and a flow of 165 L/min (44 gpm) is being used.
The installation was completed in June 2018 with the first Autogas dispensed in July – with the setup creating solution that can satisfy both the design and regulatory needs of a tricky location.
“The site is operating perfectly with an average of 90 seconds needed to dispense 50 liters (13.2 gallons) at 10-bar differential pressure,” said Gotta. “Already, they are making plans to construct a second pump island that will allow them to operate eight nozzles simultaneously. This success could not be possible without the assistance of the RC40 Series Regenerative Turbine Pump from Ebsray.”
About the Author:
Jean-Marc Bernard is the EMEA – Senior Market Manager LPG Europe for Ebsray® and PSG® and can be reached at +33 1 55 39 07 40 or Jean-Marc.Bernard@psgdover.com. Ebsray, Brookvale, Australia, is a leader in the design and manufacture of regenerative turbine and positive displacement pump technologies, including sliding vane and gear, for a wide range of industrial applications. Ebsray is a product brand of PSG®, a Dover company, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, USA. For more information on Ebsray or PSG, please go to www.psgdover.com.