Important to validate test results in larger scale

Even though the reduced scale tank fire tests in Phase 1 were conducted with considerably more fuel, a longer preburn time and a more severe foam application compared to standard test conditions, the test scales used were very limited compared to a real tank fire situation. Due to the larger scale in a real tank fire situation, the severity of the firefighting operation would likely increase even further.

Confirming the most promising test results in larger scale is therefore very important to gain acceptance and to develop recommendations to the tank storage industry, fire protection industry, first responders and standardisation organisations. Although a well-known fact, the tests demonstrated even further that the foam application impact force is critical when applying foam to a burning water-miscible fuel. However, an even more important finding was that improved foam characteristics could compensate for high impact conditions and result in efficient control and extinguishment, even with a reduced application rate.

However, the conditions used during the tests are very hard to translate to real, large scale conditions, particularly since existing real scale foam equipment (foam nozzles) might not be able to generate the enhanced foam properties that were successful in the tests. The total flow rate will also be significantly higher due to the larger fire area, which will increase the momentum and impact force of the foam stream even further. The question is whether enhanced foam characteristics can compensate for the increased application severity in larger scale. Such answers can only be given based on large scale tests.

Large scale validation tests could also provide unique possibilities to improve foam system standards, e.g. NFPA 11 and EN 13565-2 for extinguishment of water-miscible fuels. The current versions of these standards contain only very limited guidance for water miscible fuels and no reference to tests or well documented real incidents. The recommendations given in these standards are only based on application rates with reference to approval standards for foam concentrates (e.g. UL 162, EN 1568-4). According to the Phase 1 ETANKFIRE results, these standard tests do not adequately simulate tank fire scenarios. The large scale tests could thereby also support the development of more relevant foam test standards to provide an incentive for manufacturers to formulate their foam to handle more severe fire conditions. The tests could also contribute to the development of foam hardware that produces improved foam characteristics.

The aim is 10-15 m diameter tank fire tests

A minimum of four tests would be sufficient to confirm the findings from the Phase 1 tests. The large scale validation tests will require a fire test facility having (or the possibility to arrange) access to a “storage tank” with a diameter in the range of 10-15 m (about 80 - 180 m2), a fuel depth of at least 0.5 m, and a preburn time of at least 15 min. In order to mimic a real tank fire situation, and to some extent correlate with the Phase 1 test conditions, the main tank should have a depth of 1-2 m and at least a part of the test tank perimeter should have an extended tank wall construction to provide for backboard application and arrangement of a foam pourer.
Based on the laboratory scale results, a preliminary test program to validate the most interesting parameters could involve at least the following tests

• Aspirated low expansion foam, AFFF-AR 3x3 at 6 %, monitor application towards tank wall
• Aspirated low expansion foam, F3-AR 3x3 at 6 % monitor application towards tank wall
• CAF (using the “best” foam concentrate), monitor application towards tank wall
• CAF (using the “best” foam concentrate), foam pourer application from top of tank wall

The final test program will be decided by the ETANKFIRE partners that join the Phase 2 project and will be influenced by both the available test facilities and the funding situation. Of course, using an even larger tank and wider range of tests would add value to the results. Parameters such as foam application method and application rate, confirmation of the test results using 3 % foam in combination with cellular glass, etc. could be considered in a larger test matrix.
One option to reduce costs or make it possible to extend the test program might be to conduct preliminary tests in a “medium” scale using a tank with a diameter of 6 - 7 m (about 30 – 40 m2) and then select the most promising alternative(s) to be conducted in the final larger scale test(s).

Finding a suitable location is highest priority

Currently our planning work is focused on finding a suitable large scale test location in Europe, the US or elsewhere. When evaluating possible alternatives, it will also be important to consider the logistics for supply of the large quantities of ethanol required and handling of the waste fuel after each test.

If you have any suggestions for a possible test location, please contact Henry Persson or Francine Amon.

Indicate your interest to become a Partner

It is essential to find more partners to join the ETANKFIRE consortium and thus secure the necessary funding. All partners will be able to influence the detailed planning and will be invited to participate when the actual tests are conducted. They will also have access to the results as soon as they are available.

ETANKFIRE is open for participation to all stakeholders. International participation is encouraged to ensure that the project adequately addresses international concerns about safe storage of large volumes of ethanol and to facilitate fast implementation of results. 

As there is currently no selected test location, it is impossible to define a budget and thereby the necessary funding level for each partner. However, to realize the project, we can foresee that a significant number of partners will be required, and the more partners, the lower the cost for each. The general basis of the “ETANKFIRE Consortium rules” and the “ETANKFIRE Agreement” will apply to the Phase 2 work, although some revisions might be necessary (see ETANKFIRE Administration). The funding levels for Phase 2 will be established when a first budget estimation has been made. The “Description of Work” (DoW) will also be updated when more details about possible test locations are available.

If you are interested in becoming a partner and would like to receive more detailed information about the planning or provide input, please send us an e-mail with a short description of your organization and your contact details. Contacting us will not be considered a formal commitment to become a partner; the process for becoming a partner will be formalized when the planning has progressed further.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss participation in more detail, please contact any of us in the project group listed below:


Henry Persson Francine Amon Niall Ramsden
+46 10 516 5198

+46 10 516 5166

+44 1296 399311


The RISE institutes SP, Swedish ICT and Innventia are merging in order to create a unified institute sector and become a stronger innovation partner. At the beginning 2017 we changed our name to RISE.

Related Information

Contact Persons

Henry Persson

Phone: +46 10 516 51 98

Francine Amon

Phone: +46 10 516 51 66

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Phone 010-516 50 00, E-mail

The RISE institutes SP, Innventia and Swedish ICT have merged in order to become a stronger research and innovation partner for businesses and society.
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