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Technical Overview ..........................................................................

The Five Main Components of Tanks Calculations ........................... 3
The Core Equation for Tank Standing Loss and Working Loss
Emissions ......................................................................................... 6
How the Core Calculation Works for Different Types of Tanks ....................... 8
Calculating Emissions from Heated & Hot Tanks ............................. 9
Calculating Vapor Pressure ............................................................. 11
Calculating Emissions from Tank/Truck Loading Operations ....... 14
Calculating VOC Emissions from Loading Operations at Marine
Terminals ....................................................................................... 19
Other Options for Calculating Tank Emissions .............................. 20
About ERA Environmental Management Solutions....................................... 22
Helpful Resources ............................................................................................ 25

Federal air emissions regulations require that you keep track of the air emissions that
are generated by organic liquid and petroleum storage, loading and petrochemical
production tanks that are used by your facility. Tanks emissions fall into four main
categories, all of which are regulated: manufacturing, storage, packaging, and loading
In general, tank emissions are the result of volatilization that occurs during the
processes of heating, mixing, transferring, and loading or unloading. The more empty
space a tank contains at any given time, the greater the quantity of air emissions
generated, due to the increased space for volatilization to occur.
Like other air emissions sources, tanks can be set up with control devices (i.e. Flare) to
reduce the amount of emissions that actually release into the atmosphere.
Calculating these air emissions can become a complex process, since there are many
more factors that affect the amount of emissions being released than most other
processes. For example, small details like the colour of your tank can make a big
difference in your emissions calculations.

When calculating the emissions from a tank, there are five main components that
affect the quantity of air emissions generated:
1. Tank parameters
2. Chemical makeup of the liquid being stored/processed
3. Atmospheric conditions of the tanks location
4. Amount of liquid moving through the tank
5. Timeframe of the liquids standing time
Tank Parameters
The physical characteristics of your tank have an enormous impact on the amount of
emissions generated. Some factors youll need to consider include:

Whether your tank stands vertical or horizontal

The type of roof your tank has internal floating, external floating, or fixed

If your tank roof is domed, conical, or flat

Shell condition reflective, matte, good condition, poor condition?

Shell colour white, gray, black, etc.

For each of these characteristics you will need to use a slightly different numeric factor
in your final tank emission equation.
For example, see the below chart from the U.S. EPAs guidance document AP-42 Ch. 7
on tank emissions:

Fixed-roof tanks are the most common form of tank, and if you have tanks in your
facility it is likely that they are of the fixed roof variety.
Chemical makeup of the stored liquid
Like other air emission sources that process chemicals, the type and amount of
emissions generated will vary by the type of chemicals used. Some of the information
you will need to know about your liquids chemical makeup include:

%by Weight Chemical Composition of the liquid

Molecular weight

Chemical density

Atmospheric Conditions
The temperature of the tanks physical location also influences the rate at which the
stored liquid will volatilize. Two identical tanks storing identical mixtures but in
different states will generate different air emissions. Before you can begin to calculate
your tanks emissions you will need to know the surface temperature of the liquid in
your tank based on correct meteorological data for your location.
Whenever possible use actual recorded temperature data for the period you are
reporting, as that will ensure your results are accurate and wont be under or over
reported. In some cases you can use average temperatures without significantly affecting
accuracy. However, as well explore later on, relying on annual averages for yearly
reports has been shown to greatly impact the accuracy of emissions accounts.

Amount of liquid moving through the tank

You will also need to know the liquid height of the liquid stored in your tank and how
many times the tank was filled or emptied (turnovers) for the period that you are
accounting emission for. It is more accurate to know the exact liquid height at any given
moment, but you are usually able to calculate emissions using the 2/3 height of tank for
the reporting period if the exact data is unknown.
This set of data is important because the more empty air-filled space there is in a tank,
the greater the standing loss emissions. The liquid height will tell you how much empty
space is in your tanks for the reporting period. Working losses will be affected by
movement through the tank.
Timeframe for standing time
The longer your stored liquid stands in a tank, more evaporation takes place and
generate air emissions. You will need to know how long a liquid was stored before it was
transferred into another tank, a product, or a package.

Standing losses, also known as breathing losses, are the result of evaporated
vapor escaping the tank due to the normal temperature fluctuations that occur
throughout the day. Standing loss occurs without any change in the tanks liquid
As the temperature increases, usually at its highest in the early afternoon, the
vapor buildup in the tank increases, and must be vented out through a vent. As
the temperature cools, the vapor space in the tank shrinks and external air gets
vacuumed into the tank.
Working losses are all the emissions from a tank that are the result of
performing an operation on the tanks liquid. Essentially, these losses are all the
emissions that occur for any other reason than the standard temperature
fluctuations of the day.
The below calculation can be used to determine the working and standing losses
from a tank, known as the total loss. One exception is loading operations
(loading or unloading a mobile tank or truck), which uses a different equation.
Well go over this separate equation later.
When calculating air emissions for any type of tank, the most basic logic at work
can be summed up in one equation, outlined in the U.S. document AP-42,

chapter 7 (available online at
Lt (Total losses) = Ls (Standing storage loss) + Lw (Working losses)
Lt, the total amount of product lost in the form of emissions is the combined amounts of
the losses due to standing evaporation in the tank (Ls) and the total amount lost from
forced expelling when the tank is being filled with liquid (Lw).

LS = Days x Wv x Vv x KE x Ks
Days is the number of days you are reporting for, for the liquid (365 for
one year)
*** A note about this variable: be sure to keep accurate daily records of
your tanks throughput. Some tanks may only hold a specific liquid for half
a day while others hold a liquid for much longer. If you dont keep track of
processes that happen in less than one full days time your results could be
less accurate.***
Wv is stock vapor density
Vv is vapor space volume, ft3
KE is vapor space expansion factor
Ks is vented vapor saturation factor
Lw = 0.0010 x Mv x PvA x Q x KN x Kp

Mv is the molecular weight of vapor

*** A note about molecular weight: if you are unable to determine the
molecular weight of one or more chemical components of your liquid,
assuming an AVERAGE value of 150 will help avoid under-reporting
emissions. However, this assumption should only be made when absolutely
necessary. ***
PVA is vapor pressure at daily average liquid temperature
Q is the flow (amount of liquid processed)
KN is the working loss turnover factor
KP is the product factor for the specific liquid
This above core equation provides the basis for calculating air emissions from
tanks. However, each of the above variables will differ based on the 5 main
components of tanks calculations. You will need to calculate the unique values for
each of the basic variables for each tank before you can apply this general

As stated above, the core calculation is merely the base depending on the type
of tank parameters in place, you will need to modify the equation. For example, if
you use the most common form of tank, a fixed-roof tank, you should refer to the
AP-42 Ch. 7 section, which outlines how to specifically calculate the
variables to be used in the core calculation in regards to a fixed-roof. The method
you use for estimating emissions will be different if you had a floating roof, or if
you used a heated tank.

To see one set of differences:

Fixed Roof Tanks Emissions
LT = LS + LW
Floating Roof Tank Emissions
LT = LR + LWD + LF + LD
LR = rim seal loss, lb/year
LWD = withdrawal loss, lb/year
LF = deck fitting loss lb/year
LD = deck seam loss

EHS Professionals often have the most questions about hot and heated tanks.
The actual emission estimation calculations for these tanks are not much
different than other tanks, but the temperature variables will vary from tank to
Heated tanks are those tanks that keep a mixture heated to a certain temperature,
higher than the ambient air temperature, in order to preserve its fluidity. Hot
tanks are tanks in which liquids that are already at a higher temperature than the
ambient air temperature are poured in order to eventually cool.

You can calculate emissions from hot and heated tanks using the same core
equation for working losses for unheated tanks. The EPA guidelines assume that
heated and hot tanks will have no breathing losses because the internal
temperature of the tank will be kept at a constant temperature, and the tank is
well insulated from ambient heat loss or gain. Therefore, for hot and heated
tanks, LS = 0.
Be aware of which temperature variables to use in your calculations. The
temperature variable will be based on the temperature at which you keep liquid
in the tanks heated to. This temperature could vary from liquid to liquid,
depending on each ones chemical properties.
Heres the basic working loss formula, adjust for hot and heated tanks:
Lw = 0.0010 x Mv x PvA x Q x KN x Kp
Mv is the molecular weight of vapor
*** A note about molecular weight: if you are unable to determine the
molecular weight of one or more chemical components of your liquid,
assuming an AVERAGE value of 150 will help avoid under-reporting
emissions. However, this assumption should only be made when absolutely
necessary. ***
PVA is vapor pressure at the fixed/constant liquid temperature at
which your hot/heated tank stores liquids.
*** Note: you will need to know the vapor pressure at the temperature your
liquid is stored at, based on its chemical properties. If this data is unknown


or missing, you will need to contact your vendors or perform testing to get
this information.***
Q is the amount of liquid processed.
KN is the working loss turnover factor.
KP is the product factor for the specific liquid.
Hot and heated tanks can become difficult to manage if you have constantly
changing stored liquids and are constantly changing the temperature at which
they are stored. The key in this situation is careful recordkeeping and keeping
your emission estimations on the right schedule if you see daily
product/temperature changes youll need daily records of all those variables to
ensure you have the data you need to report properly.
Thats one main reason why many users of hot and heated tanks are using
sophisticated emissions management systems and monitoring devices to keep
them ahead of all this data management.

In some cases you may have to calculate the vapor pressure of a mixture on your
own, if no data has been provided for you. Use the following logic to calculate
vapor pressures that you can use in the tank calculations in this section.
A chemicals vapor pressure can be calculated using one of the four following
methods. Which method you use will depend on the data you have available for
each component of the liquid, and the type of liquid:


For Organic chemical Mixtures

For organic chemical mixtures, the total vapor pressure can be estimated to be
the sum of all the partial vapor pressures of all components within the stored
mixture, by Applying Raoults Law:
A) If the components Antoine constants (A, B, and C) are known, use the
Antoine Equation:
log10(P) = A (B / (T + C))
B) If that data is not available, check if the Riedel constants A, B, C, D and N,
are available. If so, use the Riedel Equation:
ln(P) = A + B/T + C ln(T) + D TN
C) If that data is not available, use published or empirical data, like copies of
the MSDSs or SDSs containing the pure component measurement at a
given location.
D) If that data is unavailable approximate using this set of assumptions:
All substances that are salts are assigned a vapor pressure of 0
All substances that are polymers and copolymers are assigned a
vapor pressure of 1 mm Hg (0.01938158 psia).
All remaining unknown components are assigned a vapor
pressure of 0 psia.
For Petroleum Products
The AP42 section 7 provides a specific equation to use for determining the Vapor
Pressure of petroleum products. Instead of Raoults Law use equation 3-24:


Where A and B are calculated from the equations displayed in figure 3-5 of the
same AP42 section. To use this equation you must know the S (distillation slope)
and RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure):

For Crude Oil

The vapor pressure of crude oil products is determined using the equation in
AP42 section 7 figure 3-1b. To use this equation you must know the liquids Reid
Vapor Pressure (RVP) variable:


For Further Help with Vapor Pressure Data

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has compiled documentation and data
about various select petroleum and crude oil products and their properties. Table
2 Typical Properties of Selected Petroleum Liquids of API Chapter 19.4
provides vapor pressure constants, molecular weight, TVP, etc.
It is available for purchase from the API at

Whenever you move chemical mixtures from one tank into a mobile tank or into
a transportation vehicle like a truck, some air emissions are released during the


The calculation for determining losses from loading operations from mobile
sources is different than the methods used for breathing losses. To calculate the
emissions from your mobile source loading operations use the following formula:

LL is the loading loss rate, measured as pounds per 1000 gallons of liquid
S is the applicable saturation factor taken from table 5.2-1 (see below). This
table taken from EPA AP-42 document.
P is the True Vapor Pressure of the liquid loaded, in pounds per square
inch absolute (psia).
M is molecular weight of vapors, in pounds per pound-mole (lb/lb-mole).
T is the temperature of the loaded liquid in degrees R (degrees Fahrenheit
+ 460).
***Note: the final, bracketed segment of the equation is only used if you
have any sort of control devices in place.***


Lets see that calculation at work:

In this example you are loading 8000 gallons worth of gasoline into a cargo truck
using the dedicated vapor balance service mode of operation. The gasoline is
stored at 80 F, with a Reid vapor pressure of 9 psia. You have a vapor recovery
efficiency of 95% and a vapor collection efficiency of 98.7%.


Step 1: Calculate the correct variables for use in the loading loss

In this case:
S = 1.00 (from table 5.2-1)
P = true vapor pressure is 6.6 psia
M = molecular weight of gasoline vapors 66
T = 540R (80F + 460)
eff = overall efficiency rating (98.7% collection X 95% recovery) = 94% overall
Step 2: Apply the variable to the equation and find emission rate for
the operation.

= 0.60 lb/103 gallons.

Step 3: Multiply the emission rate by the total amount of liquid


= 0.60 lb/103gal x 8000 gallons

= 4.8 lbs of emissions released.


Loading operations at marine terminals do not use the same equation as trucks
and tanks, as outlined in the example above. Instead, the EPA has developed a
table of emission factors that you should use in place of the equation. Weve
included the table below, taken from the EPAs AP-42 document:


Because tanks calculations are particularly dense, the United States EPA has
created an online software tool that can be used to more easily calculate
emissions from some types of tanks. This tool is known as TANKS.
You can access TANKS from the EPAs website here:
However, some regulatory agencies have recently made the decision
to not accept reports done using TANKS for all heated tanks, tanks
that store warm products, and tanks with significant variations in
This decision was made because TANKS does not accurately calculate the effects
of temperature on vapor pressure variables and because it relies solely on annual
average liquid temperatures. In situations like heated tanks where temperature
becomes a more complex issue, TANKS fails to accurately report emissions.
Some problem scenarios include:
TANKS underestimates emissions from intermediate process tanks with
floating roofs that store materials at a warmer-than-ambient temperature.
For heated tanks, TANKS incorrectly assumes that vapor-space and liquidsurface temperature ranges are equal, when this is not always the case.


TANKS cannot calculate emissions for some high molecular weight

petroleum distillates if the storage temperature is over 100 degrees
TANKS does not incorporate temperature as a variable when determining
unheated, fixed-roof tank working losses. Instead it just assumes a fixed
vapor-space temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because TANKS uses the annual average liquid bulk temperature, it uses
incorrect data when computing monthly emissions.
If you are using a heated tank, storing heated liquids, or your tank experiences a
significant amount of throughput, you must use the AP-42 Ch. 7 core


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AP-42 Chapter 7 (online PDF):
U.S. EPA TANKS software:
TANKS Software FAQ:
Canadian meteorological data from Environment Canada:
International meteorological data: