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
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.
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.
Biodiesel is apparently inherently unsafe, and should be banned in favor of petroleum.
I think I'll file this under "Who gives a flying F".
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.
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.
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