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Design and performance of hot-oil storage tanks

Douglas Probert

Applied Energy, 1975, vol. 1, issue 4, 247-278

Abstract: Because the ratio of surface area to capacity decreases with increasing volume for a particular shaped hot-oil storage tank, there is a trend towards larger tanks in order to incur only relatively small heat losses per unit capacity. The present investigation suggests, for conditions encountered in the UK, that the aspect ratio (i.e. height-to-radius) for least heat losses from bare or fully insulated hot-oil tanks should be approximately 0·4. If the cylindrical walls of the tank are to be insulated, the roof remaining bare, then the optimal aspect ratio should be appropriately greater. However, when designing a tank, the running cost is only one of several considerations--although an increasingly important one as fuel costs inflate--the capital investment in the tank and site also radically affect the choice. The economically most favourable aspect ratio, i.e. that leading to the least total financial expenditure over the lifetime of the tank, is considerably in excess of the optimal aspect ratio corresponding to minimum rate of energy loss. This maximum energy thrift or minimum financial expenditure dichotomy is now serious when neither sufficient, cheap fuel nor adequate industrial investment is available.

Date: 1975
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