Smoke and Gas Dispersion Modeling

Engineers and scientists with Geosyntec use computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling to support the quantification, management, and mitigation of major hazards such as smoke, including smoke dispersion and its ingress into heating and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts or temporary refuges aboard oil and gas production facilities.

We offer specialized expertise and decades of experience in modeling smoke events, ventilation efficiency for accidental releases in enclosed environments, and the dispersion of toxic gases during a major hazard event. We have developed and published a number of innovative techniques that have assisted our clients in these areas, including pre- and post-processing analysis of the data generated by CFD.

Our experience shows that the use of CFD modeling for analyzing explosion and fires also allows for a better characterization of the pressure and thermal loading of structures and equipment. It also provides detailed time histories of critical aspects of major hazard events, such as blast loading and visual obstruction due to smoke. Because the CFD-based modeling tools include an accurate representation of the geometry, mitigation strategies such as grating and blast walls can be evaluated as well.

Aspects of a major hazard event such as wind speed and direction — factors that can affect dispersion of gas, heat, and smoke — are accurately represented in our models. In addition to output from the models needed to perform engineering design, other output such as smoke patterns is useful in performing risk and safety studies.

In just one example, our practitioners were asked to provide safety engineering support through FEED and detailed design of the North Sea Jasmine Field Wellhead Platform, multiphase pipeline, and riser reception and separation platform for WorleyParsons and ConocoPhillips. This project involved a number of studies to support the design of two new platforms and modifications to existing facilities, plus the submission of a safety case. These studies all focused on gaining a better understanding of the hazards on the platform through detailed analysis and focused on the potential consequences of fires and explosions.

To support the evacuation, escape, and rescue assessment, CFD fire and smoke dispersion analysis resulting from jet fires was carried out to determine the concentration of toxic smoke products and their impact on escape routes and accommodation HVAC intakes. A CAA CAP 437 compliance study was also completed to ensure that regulations were met with respect to turbulence, thermal, and hydrocarbon plumes over a helideck. Analysis was also undertaken to understand the requirement for passive fire protection on key vessels. This involved using the computational code Vessfire to calculate heat up times for vessels under fire attack to understand the potential for boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion.

Lead Consultants

  • Tim Jones, CEng
    Tim Jones is a Principal Engineer based in England with more than 10 years of experience in fire and explosion management for clients in the oil and gas, nuclear and pharmaceutical industries. ...
  • Chris Robinson, Ph.D., CEng, MIMechE
    Chris Robinson is a Principal Engineer based in England, with more than 23 years of professional experience focused on fluids systems engineering, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), gas dispersion ...
Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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