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System and method to make a fuel tank inert

Image Number 4 for United States Patent #8128739.

A fuel tank safety system includes an ullage cooling assembly and a system controller. The ullage cooling assembly includes a compressor configured to extract a quantity of ullage gas from the fuel tank, a heat exchanger coupled in flow communication downstream of the compressor, wherein the heat exchanger is configured to receive the quantity of ullage gas from the compressor and reduce a temperature of the ullage gas. The ullage cooling assembly includes a turbine coupled in flow communication downstream of the heat exchanger, wherein the turbine is configured to further reduce the temperature of the ullage gas and facilitate channeling the ullage gas to the fuel tank. The system controller is operatively coupled to the ullage cooling assembly and is configured to transmit to the ullage cooling assembly one of a start signal to activate the ullage cooling assembly or a stop signal to deactivate the ullage cooling assembly.

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