The Shell Geelong Refinery in Victoria is one of Australia’s largest and most complex hydrocarbon refineries. The Geelong site is part of Shell’s downstream business and refines a variety of crude oils and feedstocks into a range of fuels and petroleum products that are distributed locally and overseas.

Crude oils are stored in a number of 28 x 13 m high tanks, which are regularly emptied to enable an ongoing program of upkeep and general repair work. The nature of these maintenance tasks necessitates a reliable and robust lighting solution to ensure adequate light levels are available for the job at hand.
Maintenance work on the tanks includes welding and general repairs, meaning that the light sources used are subject to constant relocation, as maintenance staff must reposition themselves and their equipment continually within the confines of the dark interior.

Tank Maintenance Leader Brian Dickson contacted Specialised Lighting Solutions (SLS) to develop an alternative to the lighting system being employed, as it was drawing too much energy for the temporary power source to generate enough light to carry out required works. Tripping of generators through excess power draw was causing unnecessary downtime and subsequent escalating costs. In addition, the constant moving of light fixtures made the lamps susceptible to failure through contact with other equipment and the tanks themselves.

The project commenced with a trial of four tanks, where general lighting included 4 x 400 W fittings and available portable task lighting was a powerful 500 W halogen work light.

General lighting was replaced with a single 300 W LED floodlight, creating enough ambient light to facilitate safe movement throughout the tank interior. Task lighting was replaced with both 30 and 50 W LED work lights, dependent on the demands of the work being carried out.

Immediate benefits included reduced downtime as the significantly diminished power burden on generators rectified the issue of tripping. Maintenance workers quickly realised the advantages of LED over conventional light sources in terms of ‘instant start’, as no warm-up time means they can get straight to business. The 4500 K colour temperature of the light fittings provided a considerably improved environment for working, particularly in the case of the specialised welding equipment and techniques employed.

The general robust nature of LED over traditional filament lamps means that lighting can be moved from one area to another and set up with ease; concern for fragile lamps has been completely eliminated. Staff on the maintenance team have been provided with a solution that improves working conditions and requires substantially less upkeep. The project trial proved so successful that the system was immediately employed in another 12 tanks, 16 in total.

The SLS solution was selected for a number of factors: superior light output, the required portability to address specific task-oriented movements and delivery of a reduction in overall energy consumption. Employing LED fittings has delivered a saving of 3600 W of power per tank, reduced downtime and ensured light levels are appropriate for each specific maintenance task.