A Critical Planning Tool for Your Aboveground Storage Tank

There are countless design and material options when it comes to covering your aboveground storage tank: Floating aluminum, geodesic, fixed carbon steel, or composite. Each option or combination of options comes with its own benefits and limitations. With so many factors to consider, it becomes difficult to determine the optimal path forward. What storage tank design will provide safety, long-term durability, regulatory compliance, and hassle-free operations?

A Total Cost of Ownership Analysis is an important part of your planning process. This evaluation compares the capital investment and the long-term operating cost.

The initial capital investment is the cost associated with building or purchasing your aboveground storage tank.  The long-term costs include what it will take to operate and maintain your asset through its entire life cycle.

In broad terms, this analysis can help operators make lease vs. buy comparisons, prioritize capital investments, and assist with corporate budgeting. On a smaller scale, as in our example, this analysis can help identify the best material and design choices.

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example. (Simplified for the sake of brevity.)

An AST  owner/ operator has narrowed down their design choices to a carbon steel roof floating roof or a floating aluminum roof. Both roofs meet load capacity requirements and pair well with the product to be stored.

The carbon steel roof will be considerably more expensive to build and will need periodic coating and recoating to prevent corrosion, a significant expense. The aluminum floating roof will cost considerably less to build due to competitive pricing and lower installation costs. However, aggressive cycle frequency will put significant strain on the lightweight aluminum roof and thus it’s lifespan may be shorter.

In this analysis, routine maintenance and repair costs should also be included.  Equally important, is the ability to spot problems through non-destructive examination (NDE) techniques or traditional inspection.

As you can see, initial savings on your capital investment can quickly erode with roof repairs or outright replacements, drain mediation, coating costs, and emissions. A Total Cost of Ownership Analysis may take time and additional resources, but it will prove a wise investment through smart decision making that will pay off in the years to come.