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Lightning Protection Blog

Week 91 | July 10, 2014

Have you looked at Fuel Marketers News yet? You should. It is a great source for information, not to mention a great staff. When you have a moment take a look. In the meantime, they have kindly posted another piece that I wrote with our most recent White Paper on Arc Discharge Mitigation. As always, I hope you enjoy and you find this information useful. If your company does not implement a lightning protection solution and/or you are using collectors like lightning rods or ESE’s, you might want to rethink this. Why would you invite the devil into your playground?

As Always, Enjoy!

The LightningDiva@Large

Spark, Arc and Boom

Reprinted from Fuel Marketers News: Introduction by JoOnna Silberman (a.k.a. The LightningDiva@Large)

Last summer quickly became the “Season of Exploding Tanks” as we saw a seemingly upward trend in lightning events across the United States. States that don’t usually experience a high volume of lightning events as a rule had an increase. In states where lightning is common, we saw Mother Nature at her most volatile; bigger, badder storms reaping destruction starting earlier and continuing longer. It appeared as though a week didn’t go by where we didn’t read of a storage tank facility experiencing some sort of incident. But not every event was due to a direct lightning strike—in fact most of the accidents were not the result of a direct hit at all. If not a direct hit than what else could account for this phenomenon? As we prepare for the 2014 season of electrical Russian roulette globally we need to explore the causes and take precautions to protect our tanks from the potential of arc, spark and boom!

North Dakota Lightning Strikes, Lightning Storage Tanks, Tank Battery Protection, Storage Tank Lightning

A lightning strike caused an explosion, fire and release at the Helling Saltwater Disposal Well outside Alexander, N.D. on Monday, July 7, 2014. Photo by Karolin Rockvoy, McKenzie County Emergency Services – Nation & World

Sparking inside and outside of tanks is one of the most prevalent instigators of storage tank disasters across the world. Studies done in recent found that most Storage Tank explosions are caused by lightning, but what is not realized is that the secondary effects of lightning are statistically much more damaging. Whether upstream or downstream, oil and gas, chemicals and/or byproduct from exploration combustible liquids have to be protected. Grounding engineering for tanks needs to be considered for all flammable stored liquids. If you are a tank terminal, tank battery or even have just one storage tank that contains an incendiary substance, not only should you be implementing a lightning protection solution, but you should be incorporating grounding engineering and taking proactive measures against arc discharge events by providing solutions for both inside and outside the tank.

Tank Battery Lightning Protection, Lightning Prevention, Arc Discharge Prevention

Lightning Protection System for Tank Battery

While there have been solutions in place for metal storage tanks and Arc Discharge events through products such as the Retractable Grounding Assembly (RGA) for years, a relatively new problem has taken center stage with the increased usage of non-metal and lined tanks which is outlined more succinctly in a technical note by my colleagues Dr. Al Gasiewski and Lee Howard of which I have chosen excerpts for the purpose of this article. The entire “Technical Note” of the same title can be found on the Fuel Marketer News Market Place website: Chemical Storage Tank Arc Discharge Mitigationclick here for the article as it appears in Fuel Marketers News.

Additional Links:

Tank Battery Solutions < Click Here > 

In-Tank Potential Equalizer (IPE™) <Click Here>

Improving Lightning Safety of Petroleum Storage Tanks <Click Here> 

Lightning Protection for Floating Room Tanks (FRT) <Click Here>

If you have any lightning stories you would like to share with us, positive or negative and/or if you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to contact me at

Be careful out there! Visit for all your lightning protection needs. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more information and updates as well as some great photos. Thank you for visiting!

The LightningDiva@Large


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