Bio diesel fire in Tennessee
By fsadmin | Published: August 4, 2011
Cleanup was underway at Tennessee Bio Energy near Manchester after a massive fire.
Officials said a trench was dug around the warehouse that burned Saturday.
More than 100 firefighters worked for hours Saturday afternoon to get the blaze under control.
Officials said about 30,000 gallons of methanol burned in the fire.
After several explosions, 10-15 homes around the biodiesel plant had to be evacuated around the biodiesel plant had to be evacuated. Those residents have since returned to their homes.
At one point, firefighters had to move back 500 feet due to dangerous fumes from the methanol tanks that were exploding inside.
One plant worker was injured and had to be taken to the hospital, but he has since been released and is expected to be okay.
No word yet from fire officials on what caused the blaze.
I'd bet dollars-to-donuts it will come down to "human error".
What have we seen so far for the ultimate causes for Biodiesel Plant fires?
There was one where a guy mistaken re-routed the concentrated sulfuric acid line into a methoxide holding tank, or something like that. That was a "smart" one: nothing like a rapid acid-base reaction in a sealed container full of flammables.
I recall one where a guy was welding on an empty methanol holding tank, without the tank being purged. Misinformed or careless, I can't recall. Though I do seem to think the poor guy was misinformed: told it was purged and took their word for it.
What I DON'T recall are any of the mistakes home-brewers make: i.e., I've never read an article where the oil heating system was left on. Or a pump overheated and shorted out. Or a plastic washing tank was melted by a heating element. Those could almost be considered "equipment failures"; as in you should have built with better equipment!
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