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1500 Electrical Classification

Abstract
This section presents the basis for determining electrical area classification
(commonly called area classification) for locations that may become hazardous
because of flammable liquids, gases, or vapor. It includes definitions of classified
locations and guidelines for determining the extent of area classification required.
Use this section in conjunction with API RP 500 and NFPA 30. You can use the
Electrical Manual, Section 300, as a guide for selecting types of equipment suitable
for use in specific area classifications.

Contents Page
1510 Predesign Considerations 1500-3
1511 Purpose and Need
1512 Responsibility for Classification
1513 Industry Standards and Codes
1514 Selection of Equipment
1515 Legal Requirements
1516 Modifications to Existing Facilities
1517 Plant Roads
1520 Classified Locations 1500-5
1521 Classes and Groups
1522 Class I, Division 1 Locations
1523 Class I, Division 2 Locations
1524 Unclassified Areas
1530 Determination of Classification 1500-8
1531 Methods
1532 Evaluating the Location
1533 General Rules
1534 Ventilation

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1540 Applications 1500-12


1541 General Rules
1542 Purging Control Rooms or Electrical Equipment Buildings
1543 Below Grade Trenches, Underground Sumps and Oil-water Separators
1544 Pumps, Manifolds, and Piping
1545 Tanks
1546 Hydrogen Processing Facilities
1550 Using Fugitive Emissions to Determine Adequate Ventilation 1500-16
1551 General
1552 Calculation Technique for Fugitive Emissions
1553 Natural Ventilation Rates Due to Thermal Forces
1554 The IEC Area Classification System
1560 References 1500-19

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Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

1510 Predesign Considerations

1511 Purpose and Need


The purpose of area classification is to identify locations where electrical equip-
ment could provide a source of ignition to flammable liquids, gases, or vapor that
may be present. Classifying locations is necessary for selecting and installing elec-
trical equipment. Other design considerations, such as ventilation requirements for
protection of personnel, are not within the scope of this section.
This section is intended to give inexperienced personnel a basic understanding of
area classification. Consultation with project engineers, process engineers, and fire
protection engineers may be needed to establish area classification.
In general, classification is required if the answer to either of the following ques-
tions is yes.
Are flammable vapors or gases likely to be present?
Are liquids having flash points at or above 100F likely to be handled,
processed, or stored at temperatures above their flash points?

1512 Responsibility for Classification


The responsibility for area classification is normally that of an experienced engi-
neer in consultation with a fire protection engineer. The fire protection engineer or
an engineer experienced in area classification should be consulted in cases of
conflict with local codes, or if clarification of the codes is needed.
In some areas, such as offshore platforms, the authority having jurisdiction may
specify a document (e.g., API RP 500) to follow. However, classification is not
always based on strict requirements, but rather on good engineering judgment. In
classifying a location, one should use guidelines referenced herein along with a
practical understanding of the products and processes involved, the climatic and
physical conditions, and past experience.
For assistance in areas not addressed by this practice, or for interpretation of this
and related industry standards, consult an engineer experienced in area classifica-
tion. Such a person might be a plant or area engineer, an electrical engineer, or a
member of the ETC Fire & Process Safety team.

1513 Industry Standards and Codes


Use the industry standards and codes listed below as guides in classifying locations.
Refer to these documents for definitions of terms and basic design philosophy. This
section is intended to supplement these standards and codes. Section 1560 is a more
complete list of Company and industry documents related to area classification.
American Petroleum Institute RP 500Classification of Locations for Elec-
trical Installations in Petroleum Facilities (included in this manual)

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National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 30 Flammable and Combus-


tible Liquids Code (Included in this manual)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 497A Class I, Hazardous
Locations for Electrical Installations in Chemical Plants

1514 Selection of Equipment


After area classification drawings are made, select and install electrical equipment
as governed by the following local laws and codes:
Applicable codes of cities, municipalities, or states
Applicable codes for other countries
NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC)
API RP 14F, Design and Installation of Electrical Systems for Offshore
Production Platforms
Canadian Electrical Code
For further guidance on selecting and installing electrical equipment, refer to the
Electrical Manual, Section 300.

1515 Legal Requirements


The design engineer should verify compliance with appropriate federal, state, and
local codes. Many local municipalities have adopted NFPA 30 into their codes.
Also, NFPA 30 is referenced by some enforcement agencies.
API RP 500 is required by the National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Order for
offshore facilities.
If no other requirement is in force, it is recommended that API RP 500 be used as
appropriate to determine area classification. The Electrical Manual, Section 300, the
National Electrical Code (NFPA 70), or API RP 14F should be used to select and
install electrical equipment.

1516 Modifications to Existing Facilities


Two questions often arise related to electrical classification of existing facilities:
What standards should be used when developing as built area classification
drawings of existing plants or updating the original area classification draw-
ings?
What standards should be used for modifications to existing facilities?
In general, updated area classification drawings should be based on the area classifi-
cation standard in effect when the original facility was built. For example, if the
facility was originally designed to the Engineering Departments Recommended
Practice No. 1 (RP-1), the updated drawings should be based on RP-1 with explana-

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Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

tory notes to that effect. There is no requirement to retrofit existing facilities to


the new API 500 standard. A copy of the original standards used should be avail-
able in the facility files. (RP-1 can be obtained from the ETC archives by contacting
the Technical Standards group.)
Small modifications to the existing facilities which are internal to the facility and
within the framework of the existing electrical system should use the original area
classification standards of the facility as the design basis. New plants, or large modi-
fications to existing plants that are segregated from the original facilities and require
the addition of new motor control centers, transformers, etc. should use API 500 as
the design basis.

1517 Plant Roads


In defining the area surrounding a pump where flammable vapors may be present, it
is common for the area classification to end at a plant road, because fixed electrical
equipment is not normally installed on a road. However, vehicular traffic on the
road can be a source of ignition and it may be desirable to control the road for
vehicular entry.
See Section 1300 for additional information on restricted and unrestricted roads.

1520 Classified Locations

1521 Classes and Groups


To determine the type of electrical equipment to use for a specific service, classify
the area in which it will be used. Of primary consideration is the likelihood that a
flammable atmosphere may be present.
Factors to consider for classification include the quantity of flammable material that
might escape, the adequacy of ventilation, the total area involved, and the history of
incidents in the industry with respect to explosions or fires. The term flammable
refers to any material that ignites easily and burns rapidly. A flammable liquid is a
liquid with a flash point below 100F and a vapor pressure not exceeding 40 psia at
100F.

Classes
The National Electrical Code (NEC) designates hazardous locations as Class I
(flammable gases or vapor), Class II (combustible dusts), or Class III (easily ignit-
able fibers). Because the majority of Company facilities are either Class I or unclas-
sified, this section focuses primarily on those areas.

Groups in Class I
Class I locations are further divided into Groups A, B, C, and D, based on maximum
explosion pressure, maximum safe clearance between mating parts in an enclosure,
and minimum ignition temperature of the atmospheric mixture. (See Figure 1500-1
for a listing of materials by group.)

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Fig. 1500-1 Materials in Class 1 Areas, by Group


Group A Atmospheres
acetylene
Group B Atmospheres
acrolein (inhibited)(1) manufactured gases containing more than
butadiene(2) 30% hydrogen (by volume)
ethylene oxide(1) propylene oxide(1)
hydrogen
Group C Atmospheres
acetaldehyde epichlorohydrin
allyl alcohol ethylene
n-butyraldehyde ethylenimine
carbon monoxide hydrogen sulfide
crotonaldehyde morpholine
cyclopropane 2-nitropropane
diethyl ether tetrahydrofuran
diethylamine unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine
(UDMH 1, 1-dimethyl hydrazine)

Group D Atmospheres
acetic acid (glacial) isopropyl ether
acetone mesityl oxide
acrylonitrile methane (natural gas)
ammonia(3) methanol (methyl alcohol)
benzene 3-methyl-1-butanol (isoamyl alcohol)
butane methyl ethyl ketone
1-butanol (butyl alcohol) 2-methyl-1-propanol (isobutyl alcohol)
2-butanol (secondary butyl alcohol) 2-methyl-2-propanol (tertiary butyl alcohol)
n-butyl acetate petroleum naphtha(4)
isobutyl acetate pyridine
sec-butyl alcohol octanes
di-isobutylene pentanes
ethane 1-pentanol (amyl alcohol)
ethanol (ethyl alcohol) propane
ethyl acetateethyl 1-propanol (propyl alcohol)
acrylate (inhibited) 2-propanol (isopropyl alcohol)
ethylene diamine (anhydrous) propylene
ethylene dichloride styrene
gasoline toluene
heptanes vinyl acetate
hextanes vinyl chloride
isoprene xylenes
(1) Group C equipment is permitted for this atmosphere if the equipment is isolated in accordance
with Section 501-5(a) of the National Electrical Code by sealing all conduit 1/2-inch size or
larger.
(2) Group D equipment is permitted for this atmosphere if the equipment is isolated in accordance
with Section 501-5(a) of the National Electrical Code by sealing all conduit 1/2-inch size or
larger.
(3) For classification of areas involving ammonia atmosphere, see Safety Code for Mechanical
Refrigeration (ANSI B9.1-1971) and Safety Requirements for the Storage and Handling of
Anhydrous Ammonia (ANSI K61.1-1972).
(4) Saturated hydrocarbon mixture boiling in the range 68F to 275F. Also known by the
synonyms benzine, ligroin, petroleum ether, or naphtha.

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Certain chemical atmospheres, such as carbon disulfide, may have characteristics


that require safeguards beyond those required for any of the above groups.
Most hydrocarbon atmospheres are in Group D. Hydrogen sulfide is in Group C.
Hydrogen is in Group B. Because of hydrogens special properties (wide flamma-
bility range, high flame-propagation velocity, low vapor density, and low minimum
ignition-energy level), it requires special consideration. Such consideration includes
source, quantity, and relative confinement or ventilation for each situation.
However, hydrogen is much lighter than air and, except when it occurs in enclosed
spaces, will seldom produce a flammable atmosphere close to grade where most
electrical equipment is installed (see Section 1546).

1522 Class I, Division 1 Locations


Locations classified as Class I, Division 1 are likely to have ignitable concentra-
tions of gas or vapors under normal conditions. As defined by NFPA 70, a Class I,
Division 1 location has any one of the following properties:
Ignitable concentrations of flammable gases or vapors can exist under normal
operating conditions.
Ignitable concentrations of such gases or vapors may exist frequently because
of repair or maintenance operations or because of leakage.
Breakdown or faulty operation of equipment or processes might release ignit-
able concentrations of flammable gases or vapors, and might also cause simul-
taneous failure of electric equipment, which could become a source of ignition.
Any area located within a Division 2 facility that allows hazardous vapor or gas
concentrations to collect and remain under normal operating conditions requires a
Division 1 classification. Examples are pits and trenches where flammable fluids
can accumulate.

1523 Class I, Division 2 Locations


Class I, Division 2 locations are those likely to have flammable gases and vapors
only under abnormal conditions. The rationale for Class I, Division 2 is:
arcs, sparks, and hot surfaces do not occur unless electrical equipment fails,
flammable mixtures are only present if process equipment fails and
one failure is not likely to cause the other.
Therefore protective measures can be much less restrictive for Division 2 than for
Division 1. As defined by NFPA 70, a Class I, Division 2 location has any of the
following:
Volatile flammable liquids or flammable gases are handled, processed, or used,
but such liquids and gases normally are confined within closed containers or
closed systems. They can escape only by accidental rupture or breakdown of
such containers or systems, or by abnormal operation of equipment.

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Ignitable concentrations of gases or vapors are normally prevented by positive


mechanical ventilation, which might become hazardous through failure or
abnormal operation of the ventilating system.
It is adjacent to a Class I, Division 1 location, and could be exposed to ignit-
able concentrations of gases or vapors. Such exposure can be prevented by
adequate positive-pressure ventilation from a source of clean air, and by
providing effective safeguards against ventilation failure.

1524 Unclassified Areas


Areas not classified as either Division 1 or Division 2 are unclassified. In these
areas, any normal type of electrical equipment can be installed if it satisfies the
authority having jurisdiction and is acceptable for the environmental conditions
present.
Flammable atmospheres can occur in an unclassified area. Some areas can be desig-
nated as unclassified even though a periodic escape of flammable gas may occur,
provided that the escaping gas is in small quantities and has been found by experi-
ence not to present a hazard.

1530 Determination of Classification

1531 Methods
Area classification can be determined in two ways, as described in this section.

Codes, Ordinances, and Industry Recommended Practices


The American Petroleum Institute (API) has published API RP 500 Classification of
Locations for Electrical Installations in Petroleum Facilities.
This document gives the basic philosophy of area classification in the petroleum
industry and, as indicated in Section 1515, may represent legal requirements. The
API document was used as a reference in developing this section. The document is
included at the end of this manual. Refer to it for additional background and guid-
ance.
For certain specific occupancies, the extent and type of area classification may
also be established by other codes and ordinances, as listed in Section 1560. For
example, NFPA 70, in conjunction with NFPA 30A, includes specific guidance for
area classification in gasoline dispensing and service stations. NFPA 497A is appro-
priate for small chemical plants and low risk facilities containing small quantities of
flammable liquids (see Figure 1500-2).

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Fig. 1500-2 Relative Magnitudes of Process Equipment and Piping Handling Flammable
Liquids or Gases
Process Small/ Large/
Equipment Units Low Moderate High
Size gal <5000 5000 to >25000
25000
Pressure psi <100 100 to 500 >500
Flow Rate gpm <100 100 to 500 >500

Operating and Engineering Judgment


Although you can usually use API RP 500 to determine area classification, major
facilities in the petroleum industry are sometimes too complex to base area classifi-
cations on only one standard or recommended practice. In units such as these, area
classification is best determined by good engineering judgment and experience and
guided by the available standards. This section contains information to assist in
applying good judgment. Using the expertise of an engineer experienced in area
classification ensures reasonable uniformity throughout the Company.
The extent of a classified area may be influenced by the pressure in the system
under consideration and by the quantity of flammable liquid, vapor, or gas that
could be released. In cases where pressures are 500 psi or greater, or where a flam-
mable atmosphere from a large release of volatile liquid or vapor would extend
beyond 50 feet, the size of the Division 2 area should be increased.

1532 Evaluating the Location


The following questions and answers can help in evaluating locations:
Are flammable concentrations of vapors present under normal conditions, or
only under abnormal (including normal and unplanned maintenance) condi-
tions? If vapors are normally present, the location requires a Class I, Division 1
classification. If vapors are present only under abnormal conditions, the loca-
tion normally is classified Class I, Division 2.
Is ventilation adequate to prevent the accumulation of ignitable vapors?
Section 1534 gives guidelines to determine if the ventilation is adequate.
Are other fixed ignition sources (furnaces, boilers, heaters) located in the area?
If so, these sources preclude fixed electrical equipment as a primary ignition
source. Therefore, this area is unclassified. Expected sources of vapor release
should not be located in the vicinity of fixed ignition sources. It may be prudent
to classify portions of these areas. For example, electrical equipment may be
exposed to flammable gas during burner blind changes on a fired heater.
Has experience shown similar locations to be correctly classified? If so, use
good engineering judgment and classify the location according to similar expe-
rience. Refer to API RP 500 for guidance and document the justification for
classification.

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Do the classification boundaries minimize unnecessary changes and conduit


seals? Often it is practical and economical to extend classified areas between
facilities to avoid unnecessary transitions in area classification.

1533 General Rules


Most areas in the vicinity of equipment containing flammable hydrocarbon liquids
and vapor are considered either unclassified or Class I, Division 2 areas. Division 1
area classifications are rare.
In choosing between a Division 1 and a Division 2 classification, you might
consider the contaminants in the air during normal operations. Ignitable concentra-
tions of gases and vapor frequently occur in Division 1 locations during normal
operations; in Division 2 locations, this is not true.
Records of employee exposure levels during normal work conditions can indicate
contaminants in the air, even though this is unrelated to electrical area classifica-
tion. It may be helpful to ask, Are the air contaminant levels in the work environ-
ment below OSHA-permissible exposure limits or below the Threshold Limit Value
(TLV)? If the answer is yes, you probably wont designate the area a Division 1
location, unless an accident could simultaneously release ignitable gas or vapor and
also damage electrical equipment so that it could cause a fire.
Health and safety codes place limits on the concentrations of most flammable
vapors where people work. The limits are always a small fraction of the lower flam-
mable limit concentrations. Where a small release of vapor (continuous or intermit-
tent) occurs, such as leakage from valve packing, it probably will not present a fire
or explosion hazard that would demand Division 1 classification, if the atmosphere
meets the requirements of respiration. However, if a reasonable possibility exists
that unusual amounts of flammable liquid or vapor may be released (for example, a
spill or equipment failure), Division 2 (or even Division 1) classification may be
warranted. If the location is an enclosed space, use one of the methods described in
Section 1534 to determine if the space is adequately ventilated.

1534 Ventilation
Definition of Adequate Ventilation
A critical factor in area classification is determining the degree of ventilation neces-
sary to meet the requirements of NFPA 30, the Flammable and Combustible Liquid
Code. NFPA 30 defines adequate ventilation as follows:
An area is adequately ventilated if it is ventilated at a rate sufficient to main-
tain the concentration of vapors within the area at or below 25% of the lower
flammable limit. This shall be confirmed by one of the following:
a. Calculations based on the anticipated fugitive emissions; or
b. Actual vapor concentration sampling under normal operating conditions,
conducted at a radius of 5 feet from equipment.

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Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

An acceptable alternative is to provide ventilation at a rate of not less than 1


cubic foot per minute per square foot of solid floor area.
Ventilation shall be accomplished by natural or mechanical ventilation, with
discharge of exhaust to a safe location, without recirculation of the exhaust air.
Open outdoor locations are usually considered adequately ventilated.
Subject to approval by the authority having jurisdiction, an enclosed or partly
enclosed space is usually considered adequately ventilated if any of the following
conditions exist:
Numerical calculation shows that the ventilation, either natural or mechanical,
is sufficient to prevent the accumulation of vapor-air mixtures above 25% of
the Lower Flammable Limit (LFL). Such a method requires a quantitative anal-
ysis of normal hydrocarbon emissions from all sources, including small leaks
from flanges, valve stems, pump seals, compressor rod seals, and other sources
of fugitive emissions. (Fugitive emissions are discussed in Section 1550.)
Note This method is not acceptable in offshore OCS areas unless calculations are
approved by the Minerals Management Service (MMS).
Actual vapor concentration sampling conducted under normal operating condi-
tions confirms that the vapor-air mixture is less than 25% of the LFL. Samples
should be taken at a 5-foot radius from the potential source(s) and locations
where vapor may accumulate. The sampling results need to be documented and
retained.
Note This method is not acceptable in offshore OCS areas under the jurisdiction
of the MMS.
It meets the alternate ventilation requirements from NFPA 30 of one cubic foot
of air per minute per square foot of floor area.
Note In offshore OCS areas, the air flow rate required by the MMS must also
provide a minimum of 6 air changes per hour. See API RP 500, Section 4.6.2.2.2.
It is substantially open and free to the natural passage of air, vertically or hori-
zontally. The guideline used in API RP 500 (and required in offshore OCS
areas) is that an area is considered adequately ventilated if less than two-thirds
of the wall/floor/ceiling total surface area is enclosed, or if it meets the require-
ments of Section 4.6.2.2.4.

Design Considerations
If mechanical equipment provides the required ventilation, safeguards are needed to
protect against its undetected failure.
Discharge or exhaust must be to a safe location outside the building.
Ventilation rates can be achieved either by continuous introduction of fresh make-up
air into the enclosure, or by recirculation of air in the room. A recirculation system
should ensure that the air is monitored continuously using a system that automati-
cally alarms, stops recirculation, and provides full exhaust to the outside in the event

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that vapor-air mixtures over 25% of the lower flammable limit are detected. The
MMS limit is 20% in offshore OCS areas. See API RP 500 4.6.2.2.5.
Recirculation should be designed with adequate air movement and direction to mini-
mize dead areas where vapor may collect. If other criteria are lacking, a recircula-
tion rate of 1 cubic foot per minute per square foot of floor area can be used.
Some designs include contingency for introducing large quantities of fresh make-up
air upon detection of vapor-air mixtures over 25% of the lower flammable limit. For
Class I, Division 2 locations, this precaution may not always be warranted because a
concurrent failure of the electrical equipment, which would create a source of igni-
tion for the vapors, is deemed improbable.
Whether or not ventilation is achieved through make-up air or recirculation, good
mixing is required to ensure adequate ventilation of all floor areas, pits, or pockets
where flammable vapors may collect.
If conditions include the risk of a large flammable vapor release occurring in a
confined space, and the calculated rate of diluent ventilation is not sufficient to
dilute and disperse the released vapor to below the LFL within a reasonable time
(i.e., four hours), then supplemental emergency ventilation should be provided.
Emergency ventilation can be natural ventilation through panels or louvers, or
switching recirculation fans to full fresh air make-up or exhaust. The travel direc-
tion of ventilated vapor should avoid its reaching an ignition source outside the
enclosed space being ventilated.

1540 Applications
This section discusses general application of electrical area classification principles.
Applications for specific types of facilities are covered in Sections 3100 to 4100.
Specific applications are also discussed and illustrated in API RP 500 NFPA 30,
NFPA 30A, NFPA 70 (NEC), and NFPA 497A.
Standard Drawing GF-P99987, in the Electrical Manual, Standard Drawings
Section, shows the area classification of a typical processing facility.

1541 General Rules


Based on experience and engineering judgment, the Companys position for facili-
ties handling volatile stocks in outdoor locations (other than producing) is that a
distance of 50 feet from a possible source of vapor is far enough to extend the clas-
sified area in most instances. If the pressure is high (500 psi or greater), or if an
unusual condition might release large volumes of volatile liquid or vapor, consider
extending the classification further.
Under certain conditions it is acceptable to have a Division 2 classification extend
less than 50 feet from a source of release. For example, in outdoor producing loca-
tions that handle crudes at lower pressure in lower volumes, the area that needs clas-
sification around the leak source is generally smaller (e.g., a 10-foot radius for gas
compressor or pump) as specified in API RP 500.

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Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

An adequately ventilated location is normally classified as Division 2. Under


normal conditions, vapor is not released in concentrations that could produce a
flammable atmosphere. For adequately ventilated indoor locations, it is often neces-
sary to classify the entire building or enclosure Division 2, unless it is clear that a
credible abnormal release could not possibly fill the entire building.
For inadequately ventilated indoor locations, it is usually necessary to classify the
entire building or enclosure as Division 1, unless sufficient mechanical or natural
ventilation with clean air exists in other parts of the building or enclosure to
disperse the vapors below 25% of the LFL.

Changes in Service
In determining area classification, consider possible future changes in service of the
equipment. Tanks are particularly susceptible to changes in service. If an area is
likely to require classification because of a change in service, you might want to
install equipment suitable for the anticipated classification at the outset. Electrical
retrofitting is costly.

1542 Purging Control Rooms or Electrical Equipment Buildings


Electrical classification restricts the choice of electrical equipment and instruments
suitable for the process or plant, and increases the cost. Therefore, it is desirable that
control houses and electrical switchgear rooms be unclassified. Often it is possible
to locate these buildings in an unclassified area.
Sometimes the control house or electrical switchgear room must be located within a
Division 2 area because of plot limitations or economics. In these situations, the
normal practice is to purge (often referred to as pressurize) the room. A source
of air is taken from an unclassified area (typically 25 feet or more above ground)
and introduced into the building with mechanical ventilating equipment. The elec-
trical power for the ventilating equipment should be connected to an emergency
power system.
Since doors and windows may be opened frequently, the term purged or pressur-
ized more realistically means supplied with clean air under slight pressure.
Alarms should be provided to warn personnel if the ventilating system fails.
Depending on the type of purging (x, y, or z) specified in NFPA 496, it may be
necessary to disconnect electrical power also. Part A of NFPA 496, Standard for
Purged and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Loca-
tions, contains additional information on this subject.
If purging is used in areas containing high humidity or corrosive air (e.g., offshore
and in some chemical plants), the purging air must be conditioned first to prevent
corrosion of the equipment in the purged area.

1543 Below Grade Trenches, Underground Sumps and Oil-water Separators


Underground sumps, oil-water separators, and the associated pump and tanks can
contain hydrocarbon and should be classified. See Figure 1500-3 for details.

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Fig. 1500-3 Underground Covered Sump or Oil-water Separator in Adequately Ventilated Area

Sumps or below-grade trenches located within a Division 2 area are normally classi-
fied Division 1, because these are low points where spilled liquid is more likely to
flow and heavier-than-air vapor may collect and remain. Consequently, its best to
avoid installing electrical equipment in these areas. Such equipment would have to
meet Division 1 requirements even though Division 2 equipment would be accept-
able if it were located a few feet away.

1544 Pumps, Manifolds, and Piping


Pumps, seals, valves, and piping connections and manifolds are all potential leak
sources. The area surrounding these types of equipment should be classified if the
equipment handles flammable material. This also includes piping manifolds with
multiple flanges. Outdoor, above-ground adequately ventilated pipelines and pipe
racks with occasional flanges are usually not classified.

1545 Tanks
Areas around tanks, including the roof and vent area, the drainage path and the
impounding basin should be classified in accordance with API RP 500 as appli-
cable, and with the Tank Manual, Section 200.

1500-14 1997 Chevron USA Inc. All rights reserved. January 1997
Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

1546 Hydrogen Processing Facilities


Hydrogen behaves differently from typical hydrocarbons. It is much lighter than air.
When a leak develops, it rises and disperses rapidly and does not spread far horizon-
tally. Hydrocarbon vapor stays low to the ground, is slower to disperse and tends to
move along the ground. According to petroleum industry experience, when leaks
occur, hydrogen frequently self-ignites even at ambient or moderate temperatures if
the leaks are from high pressure systems. Therefore, leaking hydrogen is often its
own primary ignition source and electrical arcs or sparks do not add significantly to
the likelihood of ignition.
For these reasons, the extent of area classification boundaries from a potential
source of hydrogen leakage do not have to be nearly as great as for hydrocarbon
vapor. In sections of plants containing only hydrogen, such as hydrogen manufac-
turing plants, the classified areas may be restricted to locations immediately adja-
cent to potential release points such as compressors or hydrogen vents. Leakage
from valve packing or flanges in other process equipment is so small and so infre-
quent that the Class I, Division 1, Group B area classification need not extend into
the remaining plant area. Also, hydrogen leaks from valve packing and flanges
disperse immediately and do not constitute a serious hazard.
Guidelines for classifying areas of process plants manufacturing hydrogen or
containing hydrogen streams follow. Figure 1500-5 (foldout at end of chapter) is an
example of area classification for a hydrogen-hydrocarbon process plant. Refer to
API RP 500 for other electrical classification issues.

Unclassified Areas
Process equipment such as piping, vessels, and exchangers are considered tight,
sealed systems. The area being evaluated does not need to be classified for
hydrogen if it doesnt contain mechanical reciprocating or rotating equipment,
sample draws, vents to the atmosphere, or other potential sources of hydrogen
leakage in significant quantities.
Valve packing leaks in hydrogen service are not a significant source of hydrogen.
Packing leaks will either ignite or disperse so rapidly that there is small probability
that electrical sources can or will increase the risk of ignition.

Class I, Division 2, Group B Areas


The area 15 feet horizontally and 25 feet vertically from a hydrogen compressor
should be classified Class I, Division 2, Group B. The distance is measured from the
packing gland or seal, or other potential source of hazardous quantities of hydrogen
leakage. If the compressor is on the elevated open structure, the classified area need
not extend more than 15 feet below it.
Other process equipment containing hydrogen or hydrogen-rich streams is normally
comprised of tight process equipment such as piping, vessels, or exchangers.
Tight systems exclude additional mechanical equipment such as pumps or compres-
sors which have the potential for hydrogen leakage in significant quantities. Tight
systems, therefore, need not be classified for hydrogen.

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1500 Electrical Classification Fire Protection Manual

Class I, Division 2, Group D Areas


Hydrogen manufacturing plants include areas where Group D hydrocarbons are
processed. These locations should be classified Class I, Division 2, Group D. This
provides reasonable protection, since any hydrogen that may be entrained in vapor
releases in these areas will quickly rise and dissipate.

Designation of Group B and Group D Areas


The process of designating area classification for facilities containing hydrogen
should use good engineering judgment and follow the same practical approach as
for facilities containing hydrocarbons. The Group B area classification should
include areas where there is reasonable risk that a flammable concentration of
hydrogen could accumulate.
Areas where both hydrocarbon and hydrogen are present (as in hydrocracking-type
processes) should be designated Group B and/or Group D, as applicable. Areas
containing flammable concentrations of hydrogen, such as areas around a hydrogen
compressor, should be classified Group B. In addition, API RP 500 recommends
that areas with mixtures of hydrogen and hydrocarbon gases be considered Group B
if the gases contain more than 30% hydrogen. Wherever practical, locate electrical
equipment (particularly electric motors) outside Group B areas to enhance safety. It
is good engineering practice to install electrical equipment approved for Class 1,
Division 2, Group D in intermediate islands between and adjacent to Group B
areas. This practice provides additional mechanical strength and weather protection
as well as an additional buffer zone of safety. It is common in a hydrogen
processing facility to have both Group B and Group D equipment.

1550 Using Fugitive Emissions to Determine Adequate Ventilation

1551 General
One way to provide adequate ventilation for an enclosed area is to make a reason-
able estimate of fugitive emissions from hydrocarbon-handling equipment within
the enclosed area and then provide sufficient diluent ventilation. This method has
been adopted by the 1990 edition of NFPA 30, Flammable and Combustible Liquids
Code, included in the Standards section of this manual. Using this method requires
certain calculations as described in NFPA 30, Appendix F.
Note This method is also used in API RP 500 for determining limited ventila-
tion. For offshore producing facilities under MMS jurisdiction, calculations for
ventilation requirements must be reviewed and approved by the MMS.
To calculate the required ventilation rate, first determine the anticipated hydro-
carbon leakage rate (under normal conditions). Then add sufficient dilution air to
the space in question to ensure that the concentration of flammable vapor/gas is
maintained below 25% of the LFL for all but periods of process upset, abnormal
operation, or equipment rupture or breakdown.

1500-16 1997 Chevron USA Inc. All rights reserved. January 1997
Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

You can obtain fugitive emission factors for specific hydrocarbon handling equip-
ment from emission testing at specific facilities or from existing publications such
as these:
API Publication 4322, Fugitive Hydrocarbon Emissions from Petroleum
Production Operations, Volumes I and II (1980)
An EPA/Radian Study conducted in 1979
EPA document, Protocols For Generating Unit-Specific Emission Estimates
For Equipment Leaks of VOC and HAP, 1987 (Document No. 87-222-124-10-
02)
These publications are available from the ETC Fire & Process Safety team. Emis-
sion data should be reviewed to assure emission rates are representative of condi-
tions during normal operation.
An example of how this method is usefula large enclosed process building that
requires environmentally controlled (i.e, heating or cooling) ventilation air. Deter-
mining ventilation rates by the fugitive emissions method can give a lower required
ventilation rate because it is based on a reasonable estimate of hydrocarbon leakage.
Thus, use of this method can reduce operating costs.

1552 Calculation Technique for Fugitive Emissions


An example of the fugitive emission method is included in API RP 500 and
NFPA 30, Appendix F (both documents are included in this manual).

1553 Natural Ventilation Rates Due to Thermal Forces


For naturally ventilated buildings, air flow due to thermal forces (stack effect)
provides adequate ventilation if the inlet and outlet ventilation openings are prop-
erly sized and located. The procedure for calculating minimum areas of ventilation
openings required for adequate ventilation is found in API RP 500,
Section 4.6.2.2.3. This method, acceptable for use in Company facilities, is
normally allowed by the MMS in offshore COS areas only for buildings of
1000 cubic feet or less.

1554 The IEC Area Classification System


The 1996 National Electrical Code (NEC) includes a new way to classify hazardous
areas, contained in Article 505, Class I Zones 0, 1, & 2 Locations. It is based on
the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), used in Europe and other parts
of the world. At this time Article 505 is simply a framework that explains the alter-
native system. It will be revised when documentation is completed and defines the
requirements for classification, designing, building and inspecting hazardous areas
classified under the Zone concept.
The main differences between the Zone and Division systems are wiring practices
and prevalent use of plastics in the Zone system. There is potential for lower costs

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1500 Electrical Classification Fire Protection Manual

in using Zone practices and equipment. However, at this time most manufacturers of
electrical equipment have not completed the testing and calibration required to
provide Zone system ratings for their equipment.
Figure 1500-4 compares the differences between the two systems with regard to
how areas are classified.
Fig. 1500-4 Comparison of IEC and NEC Classification Areas
Classified Areas
Time That Ignitable Hazardous
IEC Group II NEC Class I Gases are Present
Zone 0 Continuously
Division 1 Normally present
Zone 1 Occasionally in normal operations
Zone 2 Division 2 Not normally present

Cost savings are achieved by having three Zones instead of two Divisions, thereby
creating a narrower range of expected conditions. Equipment for each Zone is more
specifically tailored to those conditions, as opposed to Division equipment, which
may be over-designed for a given application
In the near future classifying areas under the Zone system will present less diffi-
culty than obtaining equipment rated for Zones. Assuming that eventually the Zone
system becomes a world-wide single standard, there will be a difficult interim
period during which both systems must coexist.

Selecting an Area Classification System


Information contained here is intended to provide awareness of potential changes in
electrical area classification practices, rather than instruction on how to use the Zone
system. In some cases new projects may be candidates for the Zone system, and the
Project Team should therefore investigate the option and obtain additional informa-
tion.
In deciding whether to consider using the Zone system in the near future, consider:
Zones and Divisions should not be mixed. A relatively large domestic facility
(expansions and new processes) with good separation from existing facilities
may be a candidate for a switch to Zones, but the Division system should be
retained for upgrades to existing domestic facilities.
For facilities located outside North America the Zone system may be well
established, and should be given greater consideration.
Equipment rated for Division 1 or 2 can be used in Zones 1 and 2 respectively,
but the reverse is not true.
Migration to the new standards may be relatively rapid, and the preferred
course of action for a specific project type will need to be revisited frequently.
The decision to adopt the Zone classification system will affect many func-
tional areas, including training, maintenance, and operations, and will tempo-
rarily create additional expense.

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Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

1560 References
American Petroleum Institute (API)
API 2G Production Facilities on Offshore Structures
API 2L Planning, Designing and Constructing Heliports
for Fixed Offshore Platforms
API 14C Recommended Practice for Analysis, Design
Installation and Testing of Basic Surface Safety
Systems on Offshore Production Platforms
API 14F Design and Installation of Electrical Systems for
Offshore Production Platforms (included in the
Electrical Manual)
API 14G Fire Prevention and Control on Open Type
Offshore Production Platforms
API 4322 Fugitive Hydrocarbon Emissions from Petroleum
Production Operations, Volumes I and II (1980)
API RP 500 Classification of Locations for Electrical Installa-
tions in Petroleum Facilities (included in this
manual)
API 540 Electrical Installations in Petroleum Refineries
(included in the Electrical Manual)

Canadian Standard Association (CSA)


CSA-C22.2 No. 30 Explosion-proof Enclosures for Use in Class I
Hazardous Locations
CSA-C22.2 No. 157 Intrinsically Safe and Non-Incendive Equipment for
Use in Hazardous Locations

Chevron References
Electrical Manual
Tank Manual

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)


Protocols for Generating Unit-Specific Emission Estimates for Equipment Leaks of
VOC and HAP, 1987 (Document No. 87-222-124-10-02)

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1500 Electrical Classification Fire Protection Manual

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)


NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (included in this
manual)
NFPA 30A Automotive and Marine Service Station Code
NFPA 45 Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
NFPA 58 Standard for the Storage and Handling of Liquefied Petro-
leum Gases
NFPA 70 National Electrical Code
NFPA 321 Basic Classification of Flammable and Combustible Liquids
NFPA 325M Fire Hazard Properties of Flammable Liquids, Gases and
Volatile Solids
NFPA 496 Purged and Pressurized Enclosures for Electrical Equipment
in Hazardous Classified Areas
NFPA 497A Classification of Class I Hazardous Locations for Electrical
Installations in Chemical Plants
NFPA 497M Classification of Gases, Vapors and Dusts for Electrical
Equipment in Hazardous Classified Locations
NFPA 505 Powered Industrial Trucks Including Type Designations,
Areas of Use, Maintenance and Operation

Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL)


UL 674 Safety Standard for Electric Motors and Generators for Use
in Hazardous Locations, Class I, Group C and D, Class II,
Groups E, F and G
UL 698 Standard for Industrial Control Equipment for Use in
Hazardous Locations, Class I, Groups A, B, C and D, and
Class II, Groups E, F and G
UL 844 Standard for Electrical Lighting Fixtures for Use in
Hazardous Locations (Class I and II)
UL 913 Intrinsically Safe Apparatus and Associated Apparatus for
Use in Class I, II and III, Division 1, Hazardous Locations
UL 1604 Electrical Equipment for Use in Hazardous Locations, Class
I and II, Division 2, and Class III, Division 1 and 2

See the Electrical Manual for other references.

1500-20 1997 Chevron USA Inc. All rights reserved. January 1997
Fire Protection Manual 1500 Electrical Classification

Fig. 1500-5 Typical Electrical Area Classification for Hydrogen Plants

NOTES

1. I GNI TI ON TEMPERATURE FOR AREAS WI TH G ROUP B AND D


MATERI ALS SHALL BE BASED O N THE M I NI MUMI GNI TI ON
TEM PERATURE O F THE GROUP D MATERI ALS.

2. ENCLOSED SPACE SUCH AS AN ANALYZER SHELTER


CONTAI NI NG A RELEASE SO URCE BUT HAVI NG ADEQ UATE
FORCED VENTI LATI O N I S CLASSI FI ED THE SAME AS THE
SURROUNDI NG AREA. ENCLO SED SPACE NO T CONTAI NI NG A
RELEASE SO URCE I S CLASSI FI ED THE SAM E AS THE
SURROUNDI NG AREA.

3. ALL EQ UI PMENT LOCATED BEYO ND THE CLASSI FI ED AREA


BUT WI THI N THE BATTERY LI MI T I S CONSI DERED
UNCLASSI FI ED FOR ELECTRI CAL PURPO SES.

4. COVERED O I L- W
ATER OR PRO CESS SUM PS & PLO T LI MIT
DRI P PANS ARE CLASSI FI ED CLASS I , DI VI SI ON 1,
GRO UP D.

5. DI STANCE I N W
HI CH THE AREA CLASSI FI CATI ON EXTENDS
FRO MTHE HYDRO G EN COMPRESSO R SHOULD BE M EASURED
FRO MSO URCE OF PO TENTI AL LEAK.

6. CLASSI FI CATI ON EXTENDS TO 15 FT. BELO WSO URCE O F


POTENTI AL LEAK I F CO MPRESSOR I S SUPPORTED O NA W ELL
VENTI LATED STRUCTURE. O THERWI SE, CLASSI FI CATI ON
EXTENDS TO G RADE.

7. 15 FT. I S CONSI DERED ADEQUATE SETBACK BETW EEN


FURNACE AND REACTO RS. ALL OTHER EQUI PMENT MUST BE
SET BACK 25 FT. O RM ORE.

8. SEE STANDARD DRAW I NG GF- P99987 FO R TYPI CAL PROCESS


PLANT AREA CLASSI FI CATI ON DI STANCES.

9. REVI EWAPI RP500 FO RO THER ELECTRI CAL


CLASSI FI CATI ON I SSUES.

January 1997 1997 Chevron USA Inc. All rights reserved. 1500-21