Simon completes new Mabanaft biofuels facility

A major engineering project to provide a new biofuels facility for Mabanaft at Simon Storage’s Seal Sands Terminal has been completed to the customer’s time constraints and on budget. Simon worked in partnership with Mabanaft, one of the UK’s premier independent fuel wholesalers, to design the new system for bioethanol and biodiesel storage, blending and road loading.

Simon liaised with Mabanaft on all aspects of the contract, from system specification through to construction of new infrastructure and the necessary modifications to existing facilities at the terminal. The new build programme included a 7156m3 working capacity carbon steel storage tank for blended biodiesel/derv and the installation of new offloading pumps and associated pipework. In addition, Simon recommended and supplied instrumentation and communication equipment to control and monitor the pumps and fully automated micro-blenders.

Simon’s project management role also involved ensuring that the project satisfied relevant safety, engineering, operational and environmental standards. In order to minimise product emissions, the system has been designed with fully welded pipework with the minimum of potential leak points. The design also takes account of HMRC requirements for bonded stock.

The Mabanaft biodiesel/derv blending operation at Seal Sands is a batch blending process which takes place in the tank. For the bioethanol blending operation, Simon recommended an in-line wild stream blending system, whereby denatured ethanol is injected into unleaded motor spirit at a percentage of 5% at the loading gantries. The ethanol denaturing process takes place on import in order to ensure a continuous denatured ethanol supply at the gantries.

An existing tank’s infrastructure at the Terminal was modified for use as a stock tank for the pre-mixed Methanol/Bitrex denaturant. When a road tanker driver requests biogasoline at the product request panel on the gantry, a signal from the gantry polling station is sent to the relevant micro-blender which then controls the percentage of ethanol required.

The road tanker loading operation is managed and monitored by Simon’s in-house bespoke automation package (TASCS), which instructs loading presets and micro-blenders to deliver the correct product blend into the waiting road tanker. On completion, TASCS calculates the duty payable and provides an updated stock calculation. Real time stock information is available via a weblink to TASCS.