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Train accident in Germany: ENDEGS supports rescue forces in recovering collided railcars
Supply with mobile nitrogen ends hazardous situation caused by explosive propane
Pförring/Leiferde, Germany, December 01, 2022 – ENDEGS GmbH, an expert in industrial emissions reduction and control, has been involved in an emergency operation in Germany over the past few days to recover four damaged railcars between Hanover and Berlin. The company provided a mobile nitrogen plant including operating staff. On November 17, two freight trains had collided near the city of Gifhorn. One train contained the dangerous, highly flammable gas propane.
Following the collision, four railcars containing propane derailed and tipped on their sides. As gas was leaking, the rescue work was made particularly difficult by an increased risk of explosion. The challenge was to empty the railcars before they could be recovered. A mobile nitrogen system from ENDEGS including technicians was used to support the rescue work.
“The pressing task was to end the hazardous situation caused by the propane. Inflaming and the ignition of the propane would have been catastrophic. To do so, we inerted the four damaged railcars with nitrogen”, says David Wendel, Managing Director of ENDEGS Operations Group. “Nitrogen, as a so-called inert gas, does not react with other substances and therefore takes no part in unwanted reactions such as oxidation – which would cause the propane to ignite. Therefore, we added nitrogen to flush the propane out of the railcar. The emergency flares provided by the fire departments were only able to depressurize the railcars, but do not have a blower to draw in the hydrocarbons, unlike our mobile combustion units. Therefore, a medium was required to push the propane out to guide it safely to the flare and bring the concentration in the railcar/tank below the LEL (lower explosive limit). We achieved this by adding nitrogen.”
“We are very proud that we were able to assist in such a major emergency operation and support the rescue workers in the recovery”, says Kai Sievers, founder and CEO of ENDEGS Group. “By inerting the railcars with nitrogen, we created a flow and were able to feed the propane to the flares. These flares were used to safely burn off the gas. Subsequently, the cleanup work could be started to recover the railcars and transport them away.”
Rapid deployment for emergency operations
ENDEGS’ services can be deployed very quickly and on short notice, which is particularly advantageous for emergency operations and accidents like this one. “Just under twelve hours elapsed between the project approval and the arrival of our advance party to walk and inspect the local conditions”, says David Wendel. “Our equipment was on site and ready for operation in less than 24 hours after the approval.”
“We would like to thank everyone involved in the emergency operation over several days and also at night in low temperatures – especially the works fire departments of EVONIK Marl, BASF Ludwigshafen and Currenta Dormagen, as well as the volunteer fire brigades in the Dalldorf (Leiferde) area, the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), the German Red Cross (DRK) Gifhorn District Association and the construction department of the Deutsche Bahn (DB)”, says Kai Sievers. “We would also like to thank the Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and the Transport-Unfall-Informations- und Hilfeleistungssystem (TUIS). Together, we have ended the hazardous situation posed by the propane – now, the recovery can continue and track maintenance be initiated.”
Innovative degassing and nitrogen services
Since 2007, ENDEGS offers various industrial emission reduction services. The environmentally-friendly and efficient services are also suitable for short-term emergency operations and are ready for use within a very short time.
The company made mobile emission treatment possible for the first time world-wide and has great experience with more than 1.400 successfully completed projects. ENDEGS’ mobile vapor combustion units (VCU) can be used to burn all types of gases, gas mixtures and vapors of the explosion groups IIA, IIB and IIC without open flame and with a combustion rate of more than 99,99 %. This enables the mobile and environmentally-friendly degassing of all types of tanks, pipelines, vessels, ships and other components.
The ENDEGS fleet of mobile vaporizers with nitrogen tanks is ideally suited for handling systems and system components that contain flammable liquids and gases and to purge and inert them. This also allows the degassing of components containing complex, liquid and highly flammable substances such as LNG/CNG, hydrogen, ammonia, propane or butane.
Pictures of the emergency deployment:
Kai Sievers, Founder and CEO ENDEGS Group
David Wendel, Managing Director ENDEGS Operations Group