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Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, has the chemical formula of CH3OH. In the early 20th century it was also referred to as wood alcohol because it was once produced by the distillation of wood. Today it’s mainly produced industrially by hydrogenation of carbon monoxide.
Methanol is a simple alcohol, consisting of a methyl group linked to a hydroxyl group.
It’s a light, colorless and flammable liquid with a distinctive odor, similar to ethanol or drinking alcohol except much more toxic.
In the United States, Methanol is typically a “tight-fill” (closed-loop) loading operation and is loaded into rail cars via loading arms. Methanol, if not handled properly can be fatal and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required. Additionally, because operators are on top of the vehicles during the loading process, fall prevention is essential, not only for safety but increases throughput.View Full Text
Methanol is typically transported via barge, tank truck, ISO or up to a 30,000 gallon DOT-111A100W1 unpressurized general service tank car
The rails cars themselves are designed for pressure relief in order to accommodate thermal expansion during transit, similar to transporting ethanol, gasoline, jet fuel, and other distillates. The tank cars typically have a 9′ outside diameter with an overall length of ~47′, with a 6’ x 6′ or 8’ x 8’ centered crash box.
Tank truck (un)loading procedures are similar to railcar applications with the trailers meeting established DOT requirements for hauling methanol or like commodities. Approved DOT trailers include MC 300 thru MC 312, MC 330 and MC 331. All trailers must be equipped with pressure relief valves; and trailers with bottom outlets must be equipped with remote controlled stop valves. Air pressurization of the tanks (air padding) must never be used for methanol unloading.
Railcars and trucks can be unloaded from the top or bottom via pump, gravity or syphoning. The preferred method of unloading is pumping from the top via the discharge tube. Due to the increased risk of spillage, syphoning and gravity unloading is only permitted on cars or trucks with bottom safety valves.
Typical Methanol Loading Platform
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Below are some of the loading and unloading solutions for illustrative purposes only. Our experts will work with you and your team for a custom solution to suit your needs.
Methanol Loading Arms
Methanol is typically top loaded into railcars and tank trucks via loading arms with vapor recovery. The current best loading practice is to use an ANSI #150 approved 3” supported boom loading arm or variable reach carbon steel or stainless steel loading arm with vapor recovery. You can install one liquid and one vapor arm, or mount both the liquid and vapor hoses on a single by-pass arm. Dry-break disconnects, as well as, break-away couplings can be fitted near the inlet of the hose or drop tube for additional safety in the event of a premature departure.
Methanol (Un)Loading Arms
Railcars and trucks can be unloaded from the top or bottom via pump, gravity, or siphoning. The preferred method of unloading is pumping from the top via the discharge tube. Due to the increased risk of spillage, siphoning and gravity unloading is only permitted on cars or trucks with bottom safety valves.
Loading Gangways and Safety Cages
A wider access gangway (48″-60″ is preferable) as it helps improve access and egress to and from the vessel. In addition, a wider gangway will reduce the risk of the operator’s PPE getting caught, torn or damaged, and will improve productivity and safety. Powered gangway solutions are also an option, with both hydraulic and pneumatic solutions being commonly used.
Each gangway will be fitted with a two-rail safety cage for the railcar crash box. This will be a centered 6’x6’ safety cage to sit directly over the cashbox. This will provide a safe, secure work environment for your operator when connected to their breathing apparatus
GX SELF-ADJUSTING STAIR (SAS) GANGWAY
SafeRack’s NEW GX SAS gangways use Retractalok power-assist technology allowing operators to raise or lower effortlessly, light as a feather to lift, solid as a rock. Tested in the most critical applications, this revolutionary new gangway outperforms all others. Available in multiple lengths and widths. Learn More
Marine Access Gangways
Due to the limited number of Methanol producers, 80% of the world’s annual production is transported between continents that require ocean-going transport. Methanol is pumped from dockside side storage tanks into sealed cargo holds of tanker ships. To facilitate safe, secure access and egress from the vessel, SafeRack offers a complete line of marine gangways. Learn More
Methanol Eye Wash/Drench Showers
ANSI guidelines state that an Eye Wash/Drench Showers need to be located 10 seconds or 55’ (16.8m) from contaminants or hazardous materials.
Eyewash stations need to be on the same horizontal plane with no obstructions.Therefore, we would propose the installation of a standard combination Drench Shower/Eyewash Unit, which will save limited space and fit easily into any work environment.
Methanol Spill Containment
Spill containment pans will be provided at the point of loading operations and is an essential piece of equipment in overall site safety and environmental protection. SafeRack recommends a minimum 20’ long, galvanized steel or composite track pan to mitigate spills.
Methanol is a flammable liquid and vapor, industry best practice includes the grounding of all vessels before starting the (un)loading process.
- Vehicle grounding and bonding — ensure true grounding before product flow is permitted
- Explosion-proof enclosures — meet or exceed UL, CSA and Ex requirements
Methanol Safety Gates
Safety Gates will be installed at the top of stairs and any other openings to ensure operator safety at all times.
YellowGate Safety Gates
SafeRack’s line of industrial safety gates is the most flexible product on the market with the ability to span openings between 16” and 36” and is field adjustable with nothing more than a wrench. Learn More
- Lighting – Lighting both over and under the platform will be provided. For overcast days or second shifts, lighting is essential for improved safety and improved productivity.
- Platform & Canopies – Full platform canopies reduce exposure to the elements and improve the safe and productive loading operation from the operator’s perspective.
- Operator Shelter – Depending on your site requirements, consideration should be given to the requirement of an operator or guard building on the loading platform. This can be customized to meet specific site requirements
- Wheel Chocks – Railcar Wheel Chocks provide fast blocking of all types of railcars and meet OSHA regulations to safely prevent railroad cars from moving during loading or unloading operations. This is a requirement by the Department of Homeland Security
Personal Protective Equipment PPE Requirements
Eye/Face Protection: Wear chemical safety goggles. A face shield (with safety goggles) may also be necessary.
Skin Protection: Wear chemical protective clothing e.g. gloves, aprons, boots. Coveralls or long sleeve shirts and pants in some operations. Wear a chemical protective, full-body encapsulating suit, and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Suitable materials include: butyl rubber, neoprene rubber, Viton®, Viton®/butyl rubber, Barrier® – PE/PA/PE, Silver Shield® – PE/EVAL/PE, Trellchem® HPS, Trellchem® VPS, Saranex®™, Tychem® BR/LV, Tychem® Responder® CSM, Tychem® TK. The following materials should NOT be used: natural rubber, polyvinyl chloride. Recommendations are NOT valid for very thin neoprene rubber gloves (0.3 mm or less).
Respiratory Protection: Up to 5 ppm:
(APF = 10) Any chemical cartridge respirator with cartridge(s) providing protection against methanol*; or Any supplied-air respirator*.
*Reported to cause eye irritation or damage; may require eye protection.
APF = Assigned Protection Factor
Gas Monitors: Methanol has faintly sweet alcohol odor, but it’s rarely detected until it reaches a concentration of 2000 ppm, which is 10 times higher than the safe exposure limit of 200 ppm. Therefore, best practice is for operators to carry a portable gas monitor at all times while working around Methanol.
Recommendations apply only to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved respirators. Refer to the NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards for more information.
Use a local exhaust ventilation and enclosure, if necessary, to control the amount in the air. Consider using a corrosion-resistant exhaust ventilation system separate from other ventilation systems. It may be necessary to use stringent control measures such as process enclosure to prevent product release into the workplace. Use backup controls (e.g. double mechanical pump seals) to prevent the release of this material due to equipment failure. * For illustrative purposes only. Our experts will work with you and your team for a custom solution to suit your needs
Customer Reviews4 5Will likely purchase again on future projects.By Glenn Bruce from Potters Industries LLC on5 5Jeff Girard did an excellent job with the presentation of different models.By Howard Wilkinson from REG Geismer on4 5The product is simple, clean, and sturdy.By Jerry Choate from Murphy Oil USA on4 5A pleasure to work with.By Mike Szlachetka from Purac America on5 5Customer Service experience was an A+.By Danielle Hendon from Bollinger Marine Fabricators, LLC on5 5Recommended for cost and ease of installation.By Buddy McCumbers from Georgia-Pacific Passport on
Things to know about Methanol
Methanol is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and is classified as a hazardous and flammable material, with the DOT identification number UN 1230
With 20M tons produced annually, Methanol is a base to other commodity chemicals, including formaldehyde, acetic acid, and a host of other specialty chemicals.
Methanol is used as a solvent and as an antifreeze in pipelines, windshield washer fluid, and as a denaturant for ethanol. It’s also used to help produce biodiesel.
Methanol is highly flammable and toxic and must be stored in a dedicated location, where it is protected from heat or ignition sources. Solutions of methanol containing up to 74% water are still flammable. Methanol is harder to ignite than gasoline and burns at a slower rate with less heat. When ignited Methanol burns with a non-luminescent flame, which may be invisible in bright sunlight. Therefore first responders should be equipped with infrared devices to detect the fire. Temperature control throughout the loading and unloading process is also critical to a safe and efficient process.
Direct ingestion or inhalation of more than 10ml can cause permanent blindness, poisoning of the central nervous system, and death.
OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) @ 200 parts per million in an 8-hour day.
Methanol is corrosive to carbon steel alloys in the presence of humidity or water vapors.
Methanol can be transported either by truck, rail, or ISO and “tight fill” loaded or unloaded using a loading arm or chemical hoses w/ dry disconnect fittings.
Is your plant or facility compliant with ANSI, OSHA, and local safety codes? We can help!
EMERGENCY EYEWASHES / SHOWER EQUIPMENT AND THE ANSI/ISEA Z358.1 – 2014 STANDARD
Following eye contact, you must start washing with water immediately to prevent permanent damage. In the event of skin contact, you must start washing with water immediately to prevent slow-healing chemical burns.
Are you aware that ANSI guidelines state that Eye Wash/Drench Showers need to be located 10 seconds or 55′ from contaminates or hazardous materials and located on the same horizontal plane, with no obstructions? If bottom loading/unloading, an additional shower should be located at grade as well. SafeRack provides the above equipment plus much more needed to keep employees safe and expedite bulk chemical loading and unloading.
OSHA Regulation Experts – Does your existing chemical safety equipment or chemical loading systems meet OSHA’s latest requirements? SafeRack’s professional technical sales consultants are available to meet with your team to make recommendations to keep your facility in front of OSHA’s ever-changing country and region-specific standards and regulations, including lifeline and trolley beam fall arrest systems, metal stairs, and access platforms.
The SafeRack approach is a collaborative one. Let’s call it The SafeRack Way. We have, over many years amassed a great deal of experience and understanding of the safety aspects involved in loading road tankers and railcars, as well as the behavioral habits of the operators.
With the best intentions in the world, if a system is designed that is inconvenient or difficult to operate, it becomes the operator’s mission to bypass, abuse, and generally defeat that system. This could result in the (un)loading procedure being far more dangerous than no system at all.
To avoid this, SafeRack has developed industry-leading safe access solutions, seamlessly integrating loading arms and ancillary 3rd party equipment to be user friendly with the operation of loading becoming cleaner, more automated, and far safer.
Experts In Chemical Loading
North America’s largest loading terminal
World-leading designer, manufacturer, and installer of truck and railcar loading platforms
As one of the primary railcar loading points, Hardisty is one of the major crude oil hubs in North America and a major origination point of pipelines that export to the United States. SCS was asked to supply and construct a SafeRack crude oil loadout terminal spanning nearly half a mile. The USD Hardisty terminal can load up to two 120-railcar unit trains per day and consists of a fixed loading rack with 62 railcar loading positions enclosed, separate control, operator and mechanical buildings, as well as a unit train staging area and loop tracks capable of holding multiple unit trains simultaneously. SCS also supplied and installed boom-supported loading arms with supply and vapor management systems.
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Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina
Located in South Carolina