1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Canuck Expat May be anywhere

    Default Bio Diesel explosions, fires

    Below is a brief arcticle on some hazards in the Bio Fuels industry. I know some of you probably have these facilities in your areas. Probably could be well worth the time to study up on the hazards and visit the plant for preplanning

    Explosion at Biodiesel Plant - July 2009
    July 22nd, 2009 | by Dr. Saraf |


    The biodiesel and biofuel industry is demonstrating a disturbing trend of unsafe operations. The biodiesel industry is experiencing one fire/explosion incident EVERY two-and-a-half months. Last Friday, there was an explosion at a biodiesel plant in Chicago injuring two workers. The following video from NBC provides details of the incident.
    According to the video, the explosion was caused by mixing of glycerin and sulfuric acid. Recognizing incompatibility between chemicals is often not intuitive. For the benefit of the readers of this blog and biodiesel manufactures, below is an incompatibility matrix for commonly used chemicals in biodiesel plants.


    The above table was created using Chemical Reactivity Worksheet from NOAA.
    Reactivity Summary:
    A6 - Reaction proceeds with explosive violence and/or forms explosive products;
    A9 - Heat generated from chemical reaction may initiate explosion;
    B1 - May become highly flammable or may initiate a fire, especially if other combustible materials are present;
    B4 - Spontaneous ignition of reactants or products due to reaction heat;
    B5 - Combination liberates gaseous products, at least one of which is flammable. May cause pressurization;
    B6 - Combination liberates gaseous products, including both flammable and toxic gases. May cause pressurization;
    C - Exothermic reaction. May generate heat and/or cause pressurization;
    D3 - Combination liberates gaseous products, at least one of which is toxic. May cause pressurization;
    D5 - Combination liberates combustion-enhancing gas (e.g., oxygen). May cause pressurization;
    D6 - Exothermic, generation of toxic and corrosive fumes;
    D7 - Generation of corrosive liquid;
    G - Reaction may be intense or violent.
    .................................................. .......

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Small town (pop 500) has a biodiesel plant

    3 years ago, the day before they were to start production, the owner's son was killed in an explosion welding on a tank.

    Set the company back a year, damaged a family permanently

    Our department's engine was drafting out of a canal about 2000' away to provide enough water. We also sent our ladder truck

    It was a real mess

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    I Actually built a bio diesel plant out of an old water heater. The process is really simple. You mix methanol with Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide, to create the4 catalyst. You then heat the oil to about 140 degrees F and mix it all together. You let it settle and the glycerin drops out. It was working good until the price of vegetable oils went through the roof. My supplier started using the oil a lot longer and it was useless. Worse thought was the food they were serving was being cooked in much older oil. Oh yea, the reason the oil price went up was because the corn was being used to make ethanol. An experiment that has failed miserably.

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