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Thread: Biodiesel

  1. #1
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    Default Biodiesel

    Does anyone have info (Good or Bad) about this? We have a company interested in our industrial park. They claim it to be safe and not any big problem for our FD to handle. Just wondering if we need any special equipment? They will be processing 15000 gallons a day to start with an expansion in the future. Thanks you can also email me at Clfire401@aol.com


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    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    One of the biodiesel processes I'm aware of (reclaiming used cooking oil) uses methanol, lye, and water and creates glycerine as a byproduct. I would hazard a guess that plenty of foam will be the order of the day.

    Wikipedia has a prettyy good tutorial on biodiesel with some links to "homebrew" sites that are even more informative. Once you have some basic knowledge, you will probably be able to figure out the right questions to ask the folks looking to locate in your jurisdiction.

    Sorry I don't have anyting more specific, but I'm no expert, I just wanted to know a bit about what I might run into in the neighborhood garage fire. . .
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

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    Default biodiesel

    A range of processes can be used from the basic Methonol/caustic soda method to a new method British Petroleum are going to use to reprocess animal fats so they can get make B5 to offset their ultra low sulphur problems.
    Start by doing a quick check on the net. Not hard to get invited to somebodies home brew event to see how the back yarders do it.
    Just keep your trap shut and learn how it is done and stand at a safe distance.
    What feed stock do they intend using and what method is to be used? Bio diesel processing is happening with many backyarders and several small processing plants setting up in Australia.
    Probably no different to the local warehouse bottling imported liquor. A young teenager working by himself in a factory with no fire suppresion equipment bottling alcohol. etc - yea it makes me nervious to.
    Disclaimer
    These views are my own and not of either my brigade or any other organisation.

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    10 days ago a brand new biodiesel plant in my area burned down. Day before they were supposed to go into full production as a matter of fact. (New Plymouth Idaho July 7th, 2006)

    1 fatality, owner's son. He was welding near or on a mostly empty glycerine tank. An explosion occurred.

    Some things I have learned. The big commercial plants under discussion in our area use new vegtable oils, not used cooking oils, for their raw stock. This plant used soybean oil. Methanol is mixed with the oil and a catalyst (caustic soda) is added. Glycerine is a by product.

    In the case of this plant, the Methanol storage was in outdoor tanks. While it was threatened, the methanol never burned.

    Lessons learned so far, work hand in hand with any large facility. Plan Plan Plan. Then plan some more. Water supply became an issue on the fire in our area. If the Methanol tanks had been involved, the lack of Class B Polar foams might have been an issue as well.

    Take your people through the plant frequently. Be familiar with the valve systems. You never know, you might have to be the people closing them someday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JFRindfleisch
    Does anyone have info (Good or Bad) about this? We have a company interested in our industrial park. They claim it to be safe and not any big problem for our FD to handle. Just wondering if we need any special equipment? They will be processing 15000 gallons a day to start with an expansion in the future. Thanks you can also email me at Clfire401@aol.com
    I'm not a firefighter, but I am somewhat familiar with biodiesel. 15000 gallons a day is a large scale heavy industry plant. They will be using about 3000 gallons of methanol a day and storing up to 50,000 gallons (two week supply) of methanol on site. Some plants will use rail tankers as storage facilities for biodiesel, methanol and vegetable oil.

    Rick
    http://www.b100supply.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by ullrichk
    One of the biodiesel processes I'm aware of (reclaiming used cooking oil) uses methanol, lye, and water and creates glycerine as a byproduct. I would hazard a guess that plenty of foam will be the order of the day.

    Wikipedia has a prettyy good tutorial on biodiesel with some links to "homebrew" sites that are even more informative. Once you have some basic knowledge, you will probably be able to figure out the right questions to ask the folks looking to locate in your jurisdiction.

    Sorry I don't have anyting more specific, but I'm no expert, I just wanted to know a bit about what I might run into in the neighborhood garage fire. . .
    I'm not a firefighter, but I do have some limited knowledge of biodiesel production.

    There are three catagories of biodiesel production:
    1) industrial - these plants run around the clock and are required to meet all osha and epa regs and all codes. These make 500,000+ gallons a year

    2)micro producers - these are scaled down versions of the industrial application. They also need to meet all regs in order to operate. They will be making 10,000 to 500,000 gallons a year. Agri applications fall in this catagory.

    3) homebrewers - these are the ones people put in garages. There is a lot of encouragement on the various internet homebrew groups to place these in "disposable" outbuildings rather than in locations attached to a home.

    The biggest concern should be the half filled 55 gallon drum of methanol stored somewhere on site. Some homebrewers only purchase enough methanol to brew a single bacth, others will purchase a 55 gallon drum which will be enough to make 250-300 gallons of biodiesel.

    Most homebrew setups consume the biodiesel as fast as it is made. There will be some vegetable oil and or biodiesel in the process of being converted, typically under 100 gallons.

    There will be a small ammount of caustic soda or caustic potash stored in the area. Usually 2-50 lbs. Since it is a hazmat and hygroscopic, most homebrewers store it in sealed containers out reach of children and pets.

    Rick
    www.b100supply.com

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