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Case Study

Helping Industry - Gas Leaks from Low Pressure Natural Gas Systems

The Client

  • Burgoyne Consultants
  • Corus Construction and Industrial
  • Danish Gas Technology Centre
  • Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning
  • EnergieNed
  • EON-UK
  • Epsilon Compliance (Europe)
  • Gastec Technology
  • Gasunie
  • Hamworthy Combustion
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Knauf Insulation Ltd
  • National Grid
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • SGL Technic Ltd
  • Slough Heat and Power

The Problem

  • The ATEX Workplace Directive (1999/92/EC) has been implemented in the UK as the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations (DSEAR).
  • These regulations require area classification to be carried out where there may be a risk of explosion due to the presence of flammable substances.
  • Existing standards for area classification were not developed to be applicable to low pressure gas systems and complying with the regulations using these standards would be costly to industry.

What We Did

  • Gas FlameHSL has a proven track record in the field of ventilation, gas explosions and fluid flow modelling .
  • The project took advantage of the dedicated research facilities at HSL including use of the purpose built test enclosure on site at HSL.
  • We carried out a review of methods for assessing the effectiveness of ventilation for preventing the build up of gas following a low pressure gas leak.
  • We carried out a series of experiments to provide data to validate a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of low pressure gas leaks in ventilated enclosures.
  • We used the CFD model to develop a methodology for the area classification of low pressure gas systems.


This study led to the development of a more cost effective approach to meeting the regulatory requirements, characterised by:

  • A reduction in the need for costly area classification assessments.
  • The removal of the requirement for the unnecessary installation of expensive protected equipment.
  • The ability to restrict costs to areas of genuine risk.


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