Designing an Ethanol Transport System

Project Info


The request was by an Ethanol producing company for making a container for the safe transportation of Ethanol barrels. It should be mentioned that according to National Fіrе Prоtесtіоn Aѕѕосіаtіоn (NFPA), Ethanol is classified as a  Class IB flammable liquid.  It is a clear and colorless liquid with many commercial and industrial applications. Its flammability is different from oil fires. Ethanol fires do not produce thick black smoke and that is why its fire is called invisible fire. Pure ethanol has a flashpoint of 13 C). It releases vapors into the atmosphere, creating a flammable environment.


  1. The final design was to be C1D2 compliant
  2. The size of the container used for the transportation of six double Tote IBC Containment Locker had to be 6.10m L x 3.05m W x 2.60m H

Each IBC containment locker could contain 2 Ethylene barrels and so the designed container could have 12 barrels.

Double Tote IBC Containment Locker

It should be mentioned that C1D2 or Class 1 Division 2 refers to a certification issued to a specific product that allows it to be used in potentially hazardous environments. The following conditions should be met in order that C1D2 be met.

  1. Volatile flammable liquids or flammable gases are handled, processed or used, but the hazardous liquids, vароrѕ or gases will normally be confined within closed containers or closed systems from whісh they can escape only in the еvеnt of accidental rupture or breakdown of such соntаіnеrѕ or ѕуѕtеmѕ, or as a result оf аbnоrmаl ореrаtіоn оf еԛuірmеnt.
  2. Ignitable concentrations of gases or vapors are normally prevented by positive mechanical ventilation, and whісh might become hazardous through fаіlurе or аbnоrmаl ореrаtіоnѕ оf thе ventilating еԛuірmеnt.
  3. Adjacent to a Class I, Dіvіѕіоn 1 location, and to which ignitable concentrations of gases or vapors might оссаsѕіоnаllу be communicated unless such communication is prevented by adequate positive-pressure ventilation from a source of clean air, and effective safeguards against ventilation failure are provided.


According to the C1D2 standard, the use of any electrical device inside the container is prohibited whereas the evaporator and lighting, plus the electronic device needed for detecting gas leakage needed electrical power.  

Therefore, the container was designed in a way to meet the above requirements. All electrical parts that needed electrical power were moved to out of the container and only the cooling pipes were kept inside. The cooling system was then able to provide -30° for the cooling space.

In order to detect gas leakage, a Beacon 110 Single Channel Wall Mount Controller was used. Beacon 110 is a powerful, yet low cost fixed system controller for one point of gas detection. It is microprocessor controlled, versatile, simple to install and operate, and priced to be the industry’s best value single gas detection controller. It can accept RKI sensors directly for LEL level combustibles, Oxygen, Hydrogen Sulfide, or Carbon Monoxide. The Beacon 110 can also accept any 4-20 mA transmitter (2 or 3 wire, 24 VDC). Sensors can be mounted directly at the Beacon 110 housing or can be wired remote from the controller.

Beacon 110

Also, in order to prevent the possible spill of Ethanol on the ground of the container, Twin IBC Spill Containment Pallets with drain for chemical store and carrier were considered in the design.


The final solution was tested to ensure that Ethanol could not leak the container and get combined with Oxygen to generate a flame. Its fire tolerance was 1:30 hours meaning that it could endure being 1:30 hours in direct touch with fire without any threat of temperature increase in its inside to a hazardous level. Also, its thermal insulation could guarantee its safe transportation during a 6 hours trip to a new location.

R. Davis
December 12, 2019
Electrical and Electronic Engineering