VRS vapor recovery systems (stage 2) at petrol stations
The VRS (Vapor Recovery System) is designed to prevent harmful gasoline vapors from entering the atmosphere when refueling gasoline at service stations. Instead, the vapors are "trapped" by the additional tube of the pour gun and directed by the VRS pump back to the gas space of the station tank. This reduces the environmental pollution and health effects of customers and staff operating the gas station.
Of course, there is also the first stage of vapor recovery, which concerns the reloading of fuel from a heavy tank truck supplying fuel to the tank of the station, but we will talk about this stage in another article.
Why is petrol vapor recovery so important?
Gasoline contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are dispersed in the vehicle's fuel tank, filling the air with liquid fuel vapors. When refueling, the tank-filling fuel displaces the vapors through the filler neck.
Gasoline vapors that have leaked into the air are very toxic to humans and animals, and inhalation may cause acute and chronic intoxication. Poisoning occurs when gasoline vapors get into the respiratory tract. Toxic properties are associated with the narcotic effect on the central nervous system.
In sunny, calm weather, in the presence of nitrogen oxides, the vapors react, creating a threat to the ozone layer. Over time, these vapors can become a threat to human and animal health, plant life, and even damage buildings.
Because of its volatility, ozone can pollute an area up to hundreds of kilometers, which is why the problem of fumes is becoming a problem for everyone.
In our other article you can read about how to provide first aid to a person injured by poisoning with gasoline vapors.
The VRS system in practice
The countries of Central and Western Europe, Scandinavian countries have already introduced regulations aimed at reducing the number of vapors in all sectors of sales and storage of gasoline.
EU regulations aim to limit the emission of harmful substances escaping into the atmosphere during the refueling of petrol fuel tanks of vehicles. In practice, this is accomplished by the legal requirements of equipping liquid fuel meters with VRS systems to capture gasoline vapors released during refueling and transfer them to a storage tank. There is something to capture!
As an example, let's take a small station that sells 200,000 liters of gas a year. With a malfunctioning or malfunctioning VRS system, losses resulting from the release of gasoline vapors through the tank filler neck are 0.175%. In this case, as much as 350 liters of gasoline will enter the environment. It is not difficult to imagine that the scale increases in direct proportion to the sales volume, so for a larger station that sells 600,000 liters of gasoline per year, the loss will be over 1000 liters, which is primarily associated with a huge threat to the environment.
A properly functioning Vapor Recovery System reduces the loss several times, where the amount of gasoline vapors escaping will not exceed 0.04% in its upper limit (and in practice it may be smaller). How easy it is to calculate the loss of fuel (gasoline) of a smaller station that 200,000 liters a year will not exceed 80 liters, and stations (sales volume 600,000 liters) 240 liters or less.
The legislator requires regular performance checks of VRS recovery systems in accordance with European standards. Member countries have designated units to check the effectiveness of vapor recovery systems at filling stations.