Understand The Need For Lightning Protection Systems

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Introduction

Lightning strikes can cause severe damage to life and property, hence the need for lightning protection systems. When lightning strikes, there can be fire or explosions in or around buildings, or other infrastructure, putting assets and people’s lives at stake. Since lightning results from the connection of opposite electrical charges between clouds and the ground, it releases large amount of current up to 100k amps from a single strike. This massive energy can be dangerous to life, equipment and critical infrastructure. The installation of a properly designed lightning protection system requires years of expertise to fully understand its function and usage. One such technology is the Retractable Bypass Conductor (RBC). The RBC is used eliminate voltage potential differences in floating roof oil storage tanks. Retractable Bypass Conductors directly bond the tank shell and the floating roof, eliminating the hazards of rim fires and tank fires.

Protection from external lightning

By using the Faraday Cage principle, there can be a network of conductors and termination devices set in the building or floating roof oil storage tanks to control the excess lightning discharge safely into the earth thereby preventing damage to property and life. Such systems are designed to protect structures and equipment and safely divert this electrical energy. Tank Earthing or Grounding is a sub-system that allows the safe transfer of lightning current into the earth.

Protection from internal lightning

  • This is necessary since modern technology is deeply dependent on cables, wires, computers, electronic appliances, etc.
  • Modern electrical systems and electronics in homes, offices, industries, factories, hospitals, schools, etc. are extremely vulnerable to even small amounts of lightning current or over-voltage events and require appropriate lightning protection systems, earthing systems, and surge protection devices.
  • Lightning Elimination Devices that are specially designed to mitigate lightning discharges and prevent the destruction of critical systems, infrastructure and protect human safety.
  • Modern electronic systems such as computers, data communication networks, CCTV equipment, telecomm base stations, fire and security alarms, uninterruptible power supplies, etc. All these systems will be compromised if lightning strikes.

Example and Conclusion

Storage Tank Lightning Protection Systems protects the people working in and around tank farms from lightning strikes and prevents the destruction of floating roof tanks and their valuable contents, thereby eliminating catastrophic environmental events, eliminating operating downtime and saving millions of dollars in loss from a single event.  Lightning protection systems are therefore installed to prevent damage. By understanding the need for such protection systems, we move a step closer to achieving effective disaster mitigation strategies.

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