Transportation risk assessment for ethanol transport

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2009-05-15

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Abstract

This research is aimed at assessing the quantitative risks involved with an ethanol pipeline. Pipelines that run from the Midwest, where the vast majority of ethanol is produced, to the target areas where reformulated gasoline is required (California, Texas Gulf Coast, New England Atlantic Coast) will be of particular interest. The goal is to conduct a quantitative risk assessment on the pipeline, truck, and rail transportation modes to these areas. As a result of the quantitative risk assessment, we are able to compare the risk associated with the different modes of transportation for ethanol. In order to perform and compare the quantitative risk assessment, the following challenges are addressed: ? Identify target areas requiring reformulated gasoline ? Map detailed route for each transportation mode to all three target areas ? Perform a quantitative risk assessment for each transportation mode ? Compare quantitative risk assessment results for each route and transportation mode The focus is on California, Texas Gulf Coast, and New England Atlantic Coast because of the large volume. It is beneficial to look at these areas as opposed to the smaller areas because pipeline transportation requires very large volumes. In order to find a meaningful comparison between all three transportation modes, only the areas with the three large volumes were evaluated. Since the risk assessment is completed using historical data, each route is segmented in a way that is consistent with the data that is available. All of the curves support the hypothesis that pipeline transportation poses the least societal risk when transporting ethanol from the Midwest to target areas. Rail transportation poses the largest amount of societal risk. While overall rail incidents are not as frequent as road incidents, the frequency of a fatality is much higher when an incident does occur.

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