News

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Gexcon Adds Advanced Scanning and Imaging on Incident Investigation Services

Gexcon’s services now include 3D scanning and aerial drone capabilities.  

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Gexcon Engineer Offers Key Testimony in MSC Flaminia Incident Investigation

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Dr. Scott Davis provided key analyses and testimony in one of the largest maritime losses in recent history—the explosion and fire aboard on the MSC Flaminia on July 14, 2012. While the MSC Flaminia was crossing the Atlantic Ocean headed to Antwerp, Belgium, an explosion and ensuing fire occurred in one of the cargo holds. The crew was forced to abandon ship and the fire burned for more than a week before being brought under control. The incident resulted in the death of three crew members and severe damage to thousands of cargo containers and the vessel itself. The damages resulting from the incident were over USD$150 million.

The court’s ruling said the following regarding the work done by Gexcon and Dr. Scott Davis:

Scott G. Davis, Ph.D., testified extensively at trial. The Court was very impressed by him. Dr. Davis has all the expertise a court could wish for: extraordinary credentials, engagement with his assignment, and a careful, forthright, and clear manner. The Court was particularly persuaded by the careful scientific work that he did which reinforced many of his opinions. Dr. Davis was not  relying solely on theory—he and the company with which he is associated, GexCon US, Inc. (“Gexcon”), performed modeling and testing that provide a strong, independent basis for crediting his views. The Court relies heavily on his opinions.

Click here for full court ruling

For more information about Gexcon’s services regarding accident investigation, please contact Dr. Scott Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gexcon to Present Three Papers at AIChE 2018 / 14th Global Congress on Process Safety

The AIChE Spring Meeting is the year’s key technical conference for practicing chemical engineers. A wide range of subjects relevant to the current needs of industry is covered. Plus, GCPS covers the critical needs of process safety practitioners more broadly and deeply than any other conference.

Gexcon is proud to present three papers at this year’s event. The papers include:

Session 1: Facility Siting, Consequence Analysis and Risk Assessment I

Getting it right for Projects in Early Design Phase: Advanced Techniques to Ensure Accurate Explosion Assessments

Date:  Monday, April 23, 2018

Time:  2:30 PM

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Next Phase of Research into DDT Events and Mitigation

One of the most devastating events that can occur on offshore facilities is a vapor cloud explosion (VCE) followed by a fire. Designing proper structures that can withstand maximum credible events (MCE) becomes an integral part of safety designs.

Gexcon has embarked on a multi-year project to fill technology gaps that have inhibited inherently safer designs in the petrochemical industry, namely:

Perform large scale experiments, similar to actual scales, to determine what factors initiate deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT) and what measures can mitigate such events.Enhance validated tools used to predict and mitigate such events

Gexcon US has partnered with SRI International to form a joint large-scale test site dedicated to determine what factors lead to the onset of DDTs and how to mitigate DDT events at practical scales found at petrochemical plants.  

With the use of FLACS, the industry standard computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code for explosions, Gexcon looks to enhance current understanding and validate FLACS prediction of the onset of DDT and the effectiveness of active mitigation. This will lead to improved facility design and improved implementation of inherent safety by reducing the likelihood of VCEs escalating to catastrophic events. In addition, results of the research will yield an industry guide for guidance and recommended practices to reduce and/or mitigate explosion risk for offshore topside facilities.  

The video below summarizes the work that has been done to date:

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Shell And Gexcon Join Forces To Bring Shell’s Hazard And Risk Software Models To Market

LONDON, November 30 – Shell’s (LSE: RDSA/B) leading-edge hazard and risk software models, FRED (fire, release, explosion and dispersion) and Shepherd, are now exclusively licensed by fire and explosion safety consultant Gexcon AS. The two companies will work together to bring flexible safety modelling tools to the industry and develop new scientific solutions.

Shell has had an unremitting focus on continuous improvement and both FRED and Shepherd tools are recognized across the oil and gas industry as leading software tools for quantitative risk assessment. Shell has used FRED software, which helps to predict the outcome of fire, release, explosion and dispersion scenarios, at its sites and projects around the world for over 30 years. Shepherd software, which helps in managing hazard and risk, and can help to gain regulatory approval and compliance, also has a long track record.

Shell says that joining forces with Gexcon, which brings specific expertise in research, development and modelling, combined with Shell’s own operational experience, will create a

unique partnership that will help to improve the tools’ efficiency, accuracy and flexibility even more. The two companies will also focus on elevating the tools’ user friendliness to accelerate their adoption by other companies.

“Shell developed the FRED and Shepherd tools to help meet its stringent safety requirements on all the assets and projects it manages. We hope that this exciting partnership with Gexcon will enable us to make the tools available to the global community, in line with Shell’s drive for improved safety performance,” said Greg Kulawski, Vice President Safety, Shell Group.

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Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium 2017

Join Gexcon at the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center International Symposium in College Station, Texas this October as we present "Is my facility at risk: Understanding the risks associated with low burning velocity compounds".

The 2017 International Symposium of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center will be held at the College Station Hilton Conference Center on October 24-26, 2017. 

More information and reqistration details can be found at http://psc.tamu.edu/symposia/2017-sym

 

Advances in Deflagration to Detonation (DDT) Explosion Research

As the size and complexity of facilities increase, designs must account for the potential adverse effects associated with vapor cloud explosions in large congested areas and the potential for even more devastating deflagration-to-detonation transitions (DDTs).

Due to the inability to predict such devastating phenomena on the large scale, owners and designers cannot evaluate installations for risk of DDTs and provide “inherently safer” layout or mitigation measures to significantly reduce or eliminate such hazards.

Gexcon has completed groundbreaking new large-scale testing in a 50,000 cubic foot (1,500 cubic meter) test rig. This project provided results to enhance prediction of DDT onset and paves the way for designing inherently safer facilities.

The video below provides more information on the project:

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FLACS Certification Program

Become a certified FLACS user. 

Gexcon is launching a comprehensive FLACS User Certification program. Take your FLACS exam online to become certified. We strongly encourage all FLACS users to take part in the certification program. The exam tests both knowledge on how to operate FLACS and how to apply it to actual cases. The latter requires a basic understanding of the phenomena modelled in FLACS, and an understanding of the modelling range and limitations. A certified FLACS user will have demonstrated knowledge about best practices for the main applications of FLACS, and the ability to set up a correctly defined scenario including verification and recognise mistakes and deviations from best practices.

 

For more information visit http://www.gexcon.com/news/article/become-a-certified-flacs-user#GexconGallery[pp_gal]/0/

 

 

International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition

GexCon presented at the 2016 International Powder Show in Chicago

For 40 years, the International Powder & Bulk Solids Conference & Exhibition (Powder Show), May 3-5, 2016 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, has been the premier event for the dry processing industry, providing access to a full range of equipment, technology, information, and expertise needed for every phase of process. Combining the world’s most comprehensive showcase of solutions for dry processing and bulk solids handling with the world’s foremost conference on powder technology, the Powder Show will help attendees improve product quality, eliminate costly mistakes, reduce waste and rejects, minimize downtime, and maximize productivity and profits.    The Powder Show is a resource for attendees to learn what’s new, what’s improved, and what’s on the way. Attendees can experience live demonstrations, perform “hands-on” evaluations, and make side-by-side comparisons of similar products to acquire the information needed to make wise purchasing decisions.

Explore the conference at http://event.powderbulksolids.com/

GexCon US Announces Opening of Texas Office

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GexCon US is pleased to announce our US expansion with the opening of our Houston, Texas office. GexCon US has grown! We are proud to announce our presence in Texas with the opening of our Houston office.

Located at: 11757 Katy Freeway, Suite 1300, Houston, Texas  77079  ph. (281) 854-2031 - Right in the heart of the West Houston Energy Corridor!

With this expansion we are seeking new team members to fill newly created Senior Risk Consultant positions. Please go to the Careers page to apply for this exciting opportunity and to view our other open positions nationwide.

Directions

For directions to our Houston office from George Bush International Airport (IAH) click HEREFor directions to our Houston office from Hobby Airport (HOU) click HERE

Nearby Lodging and Hotel Accommodations 

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Gas Explosion Safety Course

LPG Release and Fire
Gas Explosions Hazards on Offshore Facilities Advanced Course

Gas Explosion Course 2011

Highlights from GexCon's advanced course on Gas Explosions Hazards on Offshore Facilities conducted May 19 & 20, 2011

The Gas Explosions Hazards on Offshore Facilities Advanced Course at Texas A&M on May 19 & 20, 2011 was well attended, with over 50 participants - see below for pictures and videos.

 

   

FLACS PHMSA Approval

FLACS is now approved for LNG Vapor Dispersion Modeling under U.S. Federal Regulations

On October 7, 2011, The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a final approval letter for FLACS to be used in LNG vapor dispersion modeling scenarios according to federal regulations (49 CFR 193.2059).  The approval culminates a multi-year effort which included the validation of FLACS against a total of 33 dense gas dispersion experiments, as specified in the Model Evaluation Protocol.

FLACS is currently the only approved model for the simulation of all LNG vapor dispersion scenarios required for the siting of an onshore LNG facility in the United States.  The scenarios that can be modeled using FLACS include:

Dispersion from regularly- or irregularly-shaped LNG pools;Dispersion from LNG spills into impoundments of any shape and aspect ratio;Dispersion from LNG spills into trenches of any shape and aspect ratio;Dispersion from releases in any direction, including flashing, jetting, venting, vent stacks and pressure relief discharges;Dispersion from multiple coincident releases, including multiple release locations that may influence each other;Dispersion over obstructions, large and small. 

For any questions regarding FLACS or its application to LNG vapor dispersion modeling, please contact Dr. Filippo Gavelli at +1 (301) 915-9925, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Gas Explosion Course LNG facilities

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Highlights from GexCon's advanced course on Gas Explosions Hazards for LNG Facilities conducted in Doha, Qatar on October 4 & 5, 2011

The Gas Explosions Hazards for LNG Facilities -  Advanced Course at Texas A&M Qatar on October 4 & 5, 2011 was well attended, with over 25 participants - see below for a news article

GexCon @ AIChE 2011

GexCon presented five papers at the 2011 AIChE Spring Meeting & 7th Global Congress on Process Safety

These areas included LNG Safety, Risk Assessments - Consequence modeling, Combustible Dust Hazards, Fires, Explosions & Reactive Chemicals, Hydrogen

Please come by GexCon's booth to discuss the variety of papers being presented.

The papers include:

LNG Plant Safety and ProtectionUser Beware: When Simple Consequence Models Can Give the Wrong AnswersRisk Assessment – Consequence Modeling and QRABenefits of Risk-Based Design through Probabilistic Consequence ModelingCombustible Dust HazardsIgnition of Dust Layers by Mechanical SparksFires, Explosions and Reactive ChemicalsOn the Potential of Mitigating Vapour Cloud Explosions Using Flame InhibitorsImpact of Sustainability Efforts On Loss PreventionCFD Modeling Applications to Hydrogen Vehicle Explosion Safety StudiesPoster SessionBenefits of CFD for Onshore Facility Explosion StudiesMitigation of Dust Explosions In Bucket Elevators – A Review

Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Symposium

MKOC

GexCon will present three papers at the 2010 Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Symposium Oct. 26-28.

Come by our booth and discuss any of the three papers being presented by GexCon: (1) Does Your facility Have a Dust Problem: Methods for Evaluating Dust Explosion Hazards (2) Assessing the credibility of major incidents during a process hazards analysis (3) Evaluating the potential for overpressures from the ignition of an LNG vapor cloud during offloading

For more information on the Syposium click here.

FLACS in the News

Find reference to 12 recently published GexCon scientific articles from 2009 and 2010

The following scientific articles utilizing the CFD-software FLACS have been published in 2009 and 2010:

2010:

J. García, D. Baraldi, E. Gallego, A. Beccantini, A. Crespo, O.R. Hansen, S. Høiset, A. Kotchourko, D. Makarov, E. Migoya, V. Molkov, M.M. Voort, J. Yanez (2010). An intercomparison exercise on the capabilities of CFD models to reproduce a large-scale hydrogen deflagration in open atmosphere. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy (In Press doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2010.02.011)Prankul Middha, Olav R. Hansen, Joachim Grune and Alexei Kotchourko (2010). CFD calculations of gas leak dispersion and subsequent gas explosions: Validation against ignited impinging hydrogen jet experiments. Journal of Hazardous Materials (article in press, doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.02.061)Davis, S.G. & Hansen, O.R. (2010). New investigation findings on the 2006 Danvers, MA explosion. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries,23 (2) 194-210

2009:

Baraldi, D., Kotchourko, A., Lelyakin, A., Yanez, J., Middha, P., Hansen, O.R., Gavrikov, A., Efimenko, A., Verbecke, F., Makarov, D. & Molkov, V. (2009). An inter-comparison exercise on CFD model capabilities to simulate hydrogen deflagrations in a tunnel.International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 34 (18):7862-7872.Hanna, S.R., Hansen, O.R. Ichard, M. & Strimaitis, D. (2009). CFD model simulation of dispersion from chlorine railcars in industrial and urban areas. Atmospheric Environment, 43 (2): 262-270.Makarov et al. (2009), "An inter-comparison exercise on CFD model capabilities to predict a hydrogen explosion in a simulated vehicle refuelling environment", Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy 34, 2800-2814Melheim, J.A., Ichard, M. & Pontiggia, M. (2009). Towards a computational fluid dynamics methodology for studies of large-scale LNG releases. Hazards XXI, 9-12 November 2009, Manchester, UK. IChemE Symposium Series 155: 336-343.Middha, P. & Hansen, O.R. (2009). Using computational fluid dynamics as a tool for hydrogen safety studies. Journal of Loss Prevention in Process Industries, 22 (3): 295-302.Middha and Hansen (2009), "CFD simulation study to investigate the risk from hydrogen vehicles in tunnels", Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy 34 (14): 5875-5886.Middha, P., Hansen, O.R. & Storvik, I.E. (2009). Validation of CFD-model for hydrogen dispersion. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 22: 1034-1038.van Wingerden, K., Skjold, T. & Siwek, R. (2009). Simulation von Staubexplosionen in Sprühtrocknern. Technische Überwachung, 50 (5): 18-22.Venetsanos et al. (2009), "An inter-comparison exercise on the capabilities of CFD models to predict the short and long term distribution and mixing of hydrogen in a garage,  Int. J. of Hydrogen Energy 34 (14) 5912-5923.

Please contact us for more information.

NFPA-committee members

Engineer is appointed member of the NFPA Committee 59A on LNG Facilities Siting

Dr. Filippo Gavelli was appointed to the technical committee responsible for NFPA 59A, Standard for the Production, Storage, and Handling of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). He has several years of experience with the analysis of LNG hazards and had previously served on the NFPA 59A committee from 2007 to 2009. Dr Gavelli currently leads GexCon US' consulting activities related to LNG hazard analyses and LNG facility siting.

Another GexCon Engineer Dr. Scott Davis is already serving as a Principal member of the technical committee responsible for NFPA 720 Standard Installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment. He has experience in the formation, migration, detection, exposure and mitigation of carbon monoxide.  Dr. Davis has investigated the cause of carbon monoxide (CO) exposures that allegedly resulted from poor combustion in furnaces, boilers, portable space heaters, portable generators and motor vehicles.

Danvers Explosion

GexCon paper on 2006 Danvers explosion findings has been published in Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industry.

GexCon's investigation findings for the Danvers, MA explosion was presented at the 2009 AIChE Global Congress on Process Safety.

Abstract

On November 22, 2006 the largest explosion in the history of Massachusetts occurred in Danvers, MA at approximately 2:46 am.  This paper presents a detailed analysis into the potential causes and lessons learned from the Danvers explosion.  Other investigative groups concluded that the cause of the explosion was an overheated production tank.  However, the analyses presented here demonstrate that their proposed scenario could not have occurred and that other potential causes are more likely.  

Using the computational fluid dynamics tool FLACS, it was possible to investigate thechain of events leading to the explosion, including: (1) evaluating various leak scenarios by modeling the dispersion and mixing of gases and vapors within the facility, (2) evaluating potential ignition sources within the facility of the flammable fuel-air mixture, and (3) evaluating the explosion itself by comparing the resulting overpressures of the exploding fuel-air cloud with the structural response of the facility and the observed near-field and far-field blast damage.  These results, along with key witness statements and other analyses, provide valuable insight into the likely cause of this incident.  Based on the results of our detailed analysis, lessons learned regarding the investigative procedure and methods for mitigating this and future explosions are discussed.

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Danvers' explosion findings presented to the public

GexCon US presented new investigation findings on the cause and origin of the Danvers explosion at a public meeting in Danvers, MA.

Dr Scott Davis, Vice President of Explosion and Fire Safety at GexCon US, presented recent investigation findings at the Sheraton Ferncroft Hotel in Danvers May 27, 2009. The public meeting was well attended, both by local community members and representatives from the media. The main conclusion from the GexCon US investigation is that the cause identified by other agencies could not have caused the explosion, and caution should be taken when using simple tools to investigate such complex phenomena. GexCon US has investigated two more likely alternative scenarios regarding the cause of the blast. These include natural gas migration from leaks in the gas distribution lines and an accidental or intentional solvent spill.

Our findings are summarized in the following paper presented at the AIChE Global Loss Prevention Congress.

Danvers Paper

 

FLACS & LNG Model Evaluation Protocol

FLACS simulation of BA-TNO TUV02 windtunnel test

In March 2009 NFPA published a Model Evaluation Protocol (MEP) for LNG consequence modeling. FLACS is probably the first CFD-tool to complete the MEP.

Until recently NFPA-59A and federal regulations, have required that LNG siting studies are performed using a consequence tool called DEGADIS, developed at the University of Arkansas. This has been convenient for the regulator, as one would expect that a standardized tool would limit the variation in result when comparing different siting studies. NFPA and other players did however gradually acknowledge that a range of other consequence tools existed, and that these may have a better functionality and validity than DEGADIS. In order to open up for other consequence tools, a Model Evaluation Protocol was developed and published at NFPA web-site in March 2009. By passing this MEP, any consequence tool would be considered fit to be used for LNG siting studies.

The LNG MEP consists of 33 different experiments classified either as unobstructed or obstructed:

Maplin Sands LNG field tests 27, 34 and 35Burro LNG field tests 3, 7, 8 and 9Coyote LNG field tests 3, 5 and 6Falcon LNG field tests 1, 3 and 4Thorney Island Freon/N2 field tests 45 and 47CHRC CO2 Windtunnel tests A, B and CBA-Hamburg SF6 Windtunnel tests (12 tests w/wo obstructions, wind or gravity driven)BA-TNO SF6 Windtunnel tests (TUV1, TUV2 and FLS)

Based on reported concentrations at different distances, statistical performance measures (SPMs) are evaluated. FLACS is well within the recommended performance criteria simulating the MEP experiments.

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4833 Rugby Ave, Suite 100 | Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: (301) 915-9940 | Fax: (301) 656-2953 gexconus@gexcon.com
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