Doc. 132/15 Unmanned Air Gas Plants: Design and Operation

"This publication has been written to address issues relating to the increasing number of air gas production facilities that are run unmanned or remotely operated.

There are many similarities in the operation of manned, unmanned, and remotely operated plants; however, there are some differences. These differences are not only in how the plant is operated and maintained, but also how the plant is designed. In particular, designing new unmanned plants or converting existing plants from manned to unmanned or remote operation requires specific design considerations to ensure an equivalent level of safety to that of a manned operated plant.

The purpose of this publication is to provide guidelines for the design, operation, and maintenance of a plant that will have unmanned or remote operations. Unmanned or remotely operated plant functionality can range from a plant with full remote functionality i.e., satellite plant controlled by a remote operating centre (ROC) to a plant with autonomous operation.

The installations that are included in this publication are:

  • cryogenic air separation plants;
  • cryogenic nitrogen generators;
  • non-cryogenic plants (pressure swing absorption, vacuum pressure swing absorption, membrane, etc.,) for oxygen and nitrogen;
  • pipeline compression stations
  • compressed dry air facilities; and
  • back-up systems and site storage, if existing and integrated with the production unit.

Specifically excluded are product supply tanks installed at a customer’s premises, home care units (for example, concentrators), and non-cryogenic plants with a capacity of 5 000 kg per day or less.

For non-cryogenic plants from 5 000 to 20 000 kg per day, a risk assessment shall be carried out to identify which requirements of this publication apply.

This publication is intended for all those involved in the design and operation of remotely operated air gas production sites. The publication is part of the programme to develop Globally Harmonised publications amongst Regional Gas Associations."