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Grifols Alcohol Tank Farm Control System Modifications

New process control system enhances use and mitigates risks for underground storage facility.
  • View of underground tank piping and manways on exterior of building - Gannett Fleming.

    Gannett Fleming's design accommodates both indoor and outdoor environments for instrumentation.

  • Process line distribution pump house featuring multiple pumps, piping, and controls - Gannett Fleming.

    New automated manifold/pump configuration provides multiple distribution flow pathways.

  • Interior wall with distribution piping and control systems - Gannett Fleming.

    Distribution piping allows for simultaneous flows of ethanol to different points of use.

  • Display panel for a Human Machine Interface - Gannett Fleming.

    Human machine interfaces (HMIs) are housed in explosion-proof enclosures.

Grifols Therapeutics, formerly known as Talecris Biotherapeutics

Melville, New York

Our Role
Process Control System (PCS) Design, Installation.

Construction Cost
New Construction
1 year
  • New process control system (PCS) enhances storage and use capabilities
  • PCS eases safety concerns regarding leaks and operator exposure to ethanol
  • System provides a consistent process in line with good manufacturing practices
  • Upgrades ensure compliance with pharmaceutical and biotech industry regulations. 

Grifols Therapeutics (Grifols), formerly known as Talecris Biotherapeutics, is a global biotherapeutic and biotechnology company that discovers, develops, and produces critical treatments for patients with a variety of life-threatening disorders. Its products are derived from human plasma sourced from collection centers across the U.S. Plasma contains many therapeutic proteins that are extracted through a process called fractionation at one of Grifols’ two domestic manufacturing facilities. The fractionation process requires large quantities of ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, which is stored in on-site tank systems. 

The Grifols facility located in Melville, New York, had an antiquated underground alcohol tank storage system in need of an upgrade. Gannett Fleming designed and installed a control system for the “alcohol tank farm” to enhance storage and use capabilities and mitigate safety concerns.

What We Did

Gannett Fleming created a new process control system (PCS) for the alcohol tank farm and delivery system, providing Grifols with a crucial tool for safely and efficiently managing ethanol use and storage. The new PCS monitors five underground alcohol storage tanks, an alcohol unloading system, and an alcohol delivery system. It controls the flow of ethanol during every stage of the process, from the initial receipt of purchased alcohol, through storage, manufacturing, reclamation, and reprocessing.

The new PCS was designed to monitor storage tank levels to ensure adequate supply for fractionation and prevent tanks from being overfilled. Ethanol is a hazardous material, and a spill would create environmental and safety concerns. The PCS can detect alcohol leakage into the containment dikes that surrounded the tanks and other areas where spills could potentially occur, such as the loading area. The PCS also monitors the reclamation and reprocessed tanks. The reclamation tank is a holding vessel for used ethanol that may be contaminated, and the reprocessed tanks contain ethanol that is recovered via the reclamation process and purified through distillation.

Key Features

  • A containment area for unloading ethanol from tanker trucks and monitoring tank levels helps to ensure worker safety
  • The supply flow to the facility provides on-demand pumping transfer of ethanol, allowing operators to request delivery of specific amounts to specific drop points via human machine interfaces (HMIs)
  • Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) open the correct valves and turn on corresponding pumps while acting as traffic cops to ensure flow paths do not interrupt each other
  • As the brains of the control system, PLCs use information from monitored field equipment and commands from human operators to make system management decisions in real time
  • PLCs respond immediately to safety concerns by sounding a horn, turning on a beacon to warn operators, displaying alarm messages on HMIs, and automatically shutting off supply lines to contain potential leaks
  • System components meet standards for industrial utilities set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and UL, including hazardous Class 1 Division 1 explosion-prone environments. 

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