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Fire Rocks Biodiesel Refinery at Port of Toledo, Ohio
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Fire Rocks Biodiesel Refinery at Port of Toledo, Ohio

"Blade (Toledo, OH) -- June 16, 2009 -- A faulty safety valve was blamed for a fire at a biodiesel refining business at the Port of Toledo Monday afternoon.

No one was hurt in the 3:30 p.m. blaze, but it destroyed one of two production lines at Midwest Biorenewables LLC, 3270 St. Lawrence Drive, which had been producing diesel fuel from soybean oil for about a month.

A vacuum-control valve that should have regulated a vacuum-refining vessel failed to work, causing the vessel to implode, said Alex Johnson, a company co-owner. The biodiesel inside was hot enough that it ignited upon contact with air."

"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error." ~John Kenneth Galbraith






 
Location: ลึก ประเทศอินเดีย | Registered: March 03, 2001Report This Post
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WOW!!!!!!!!

A "Safety Valve" caused the explosion.

And, I thought that Safety Valves were redundant, and really should never be used in ordinary usage of any apparatus. For example, the "Safety Valve" on your HOT Water Heater doesn't spew out hot water all day long. It only releases if the thermostat fails.

One certainly wouldn't blame the fire on a design fault of the equipment.
  • Why were they running a high vacuum in a vessel that couldn't withstand a 1 ATM vacuum at the temperature they are running it?
  • Why did their equipment's normal operation depend on a "Safety Valve" releasing pressure, with no other redundant safety devices? I.E. use a pressure regulator PLUS a safety valve.
  • How hot was their oil? Hot enough to spontaneously ignite with contact with air? It sounds awfully hot to me. And, would a safety valve letting air into the system cause an explosion? Perhaps they could redesign their process to work at lower temperatures.
  • What kind of a secondary safety system did they have in place to isolate the "distillation" from the rest of the processing & storage?
They have been in business for a month, and nearly burnt their entire system to the ground?? It sounds like they need to redesign the entire system with far better fault tolerance.

Ok, they did have internal fire suppression in the plant.

But, I think they need to completely review all their design, equipment and processing, or the next time an employee will be sprayed with very hot oil that will ignite on contact.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Report This Post
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Biodiesel is apparently inherently unsafe, and should be banned in favor of petroleum.

Roll Eyes
 
Location: Colorado | Registered: March 20, 2008Report This Post
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I think I'll file this under "Who gives a flying F".
 
Location: West Michigan | Registered: April 26, 2006Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by fabricator:
I think I'll file this under "Who gives a flying [...]".


You can say what you want.

Everybody cuts corners.
I look at these as the importance of SAFETY.

These postings should be a wake-up call to build in safety and redundancy into one's systems.

You have to just step back from this and ask what were they thinking? Heating the fuel above it's flashpoint, AND pulling a high vacuum in a vessel that wasn't designed for it?

Then blaming the whole thing on a faulty valve rather than poor engineering & design.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Report This Post
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And then there's that old hold out, stupidity. Some people confuse ignorance with stupidity but that is not the case; ignorance can be cured with a little education while supidity is a foregone conclusion.



** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.


 
Location: :-) Great White North eh ? | Registered: December 10, 2004Report This Post



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