Third Quarter 2013 Newsletter
Q3, 2013 Newsletter
With the growing demand for energy coupled with the political turmoil over fossil fuels, biomass power plants have become more and more prevalent in the United States. In the third quarter edition of the Plant Protection Report, we will be highlighting these plants and putting a spotlight on the fire hazards unique to biomass power plants.
We hope that the featured article, "Biomass Power Plants: What fire hazards are hidden within the fuel?" will clear up the confusion that is often associated with the risks of a plant with varied fuel sources.
With our world's ever growing energy demands and the pollution produced by the combustion from fossil fuels, we have begun to "re-discover" the usefulness of wood and biomass as energy sources. A major advantage of biomass energy as a source of fuel is it is renewable. With approximately 140 billion metric tons of biomass produced every year, there is a trend in this fuel type being utilized in lieu of fossil fuels as coal burning power plants are being replaced more often due to EPA regulations, increasing the demand for a cheap, efficient renewable fuel source.
What causes biomass fires and explosions?
Self-heating Fuel Piles
Biomass fuel has a wide range of possible refuse items: pellets, chip logs, forestry, sewage sludge, methane, meat and bone, palm kernels, cereal, sawdust, bioenergy crops, or landfill gas. When a biomass fuel is stored in a pile, waiting for transport or use, the biomass can spontaneously heat through oxidation. In order for this to happen, three conditions must sync: rate of heat generation, air supply, and insulation properties of the immediate surroundings. With most biomass material, there is a high moisture content combined with air and/or bacterial fermentation - both of which can cause spontaneous combustion through oxidation.
In heavy industrial plants, everyday tasks can involve potential exposure to danger. When carrying out a specific construction duty, system inspection, or service job a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) shall be completed to ensure the highest regard is given to safety. Not only is personnel safety a priority, equipment, facilities and their continued operations shall be considered as well.
A JSA should force an individual to keep safety at the forefront of their mind. The first step is to think about each step involved in completing the specific task at hand. While doing a mental run-through of the task, consider the possible hazards you may encounter. Once all possible hazards have been identified, recommended actions or procedures shall be reviewed to avoid or eliminate those hazards. By taking the time to consider all possible hazards and their solutions, everyone involved will know how to complete the task the safest way possible.
If a JSA is not available, it is simple to create. A JSA should include:
• Steps to complete the task; hazards associated with each step
• Tools/materials needed for the task; hazards the tools/materials may cause
• Individuals involved in each step
• Safety equipment and or procedures needed to complete the task safely
• Strategies to reduce any hazards or unintended events.
• Steps individuals will take to complete the task safely
Developing a JSA will only take a small amount of time to create, but can save lost man hours due to injury and/or damage to property.
Montana Power Project
Location: El Paso, TX
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems supplied a fire pump and several fire alarm panels.
BP Crude Oil Tank
Location: Whiting, IN
Installed linear heat detector and fire panel for this atmospheric storage tank.
Deer Park Energy Center
Location: Deer Park, TX
Alarm and deluge sprinkler systems for two transformers and an Ammonia Tank.
Location: Pasadena, TX
Alarm and deluge sprinkler systems for one transformer.
Mayo ZLD Building
Location: Roxboro, NC
F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is providing 1 wet fire sprinkler system for this chemical storage building.