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  THE REALITIES OF FIRE & EXPLOSION CAN BRING YOUR OPERATION AND A LIFE TO A HALT... IN A HEART BEAT.


If you are burning coal, converting to PRB either blended or straight, or considering biofuels, having a baseline risk assessment of your coal handling system is an absolute must. Don't reinvent the wheel... there are plants that have suffered major fire loss simply because they were not prepared for the effects of PRB coal....learn from them....do not become one of them.

Bituminous coal is no exception to the rule....fires and explosions can be just as deadly with bituminous as with PRB (a sub-bituminous).

Give us the opportunity to preform an in-depth on-site assessment that will identify where fire and explosions are likely in your operations. Discovery Assessments that identify problem areas up front are much more palatable than answering Discovery for a legal case after an event has occurred.

OUR INVESTIGATIONS INCLUDE:
  • Pulverizer Explosions
  • Stacker Fires
  • Silo Fires of a recurring nature
  • Dust Collector explosions


  • The origin of these types of events are typically much more difficult to pinpoint than more obvious types of fires associated with lube oil, hydrogen and electricity. So, we specialize in investigating those events that are the most difficult to solve.

    For example:
    For a stacker fire, we were asked to provide an independent analysis as to cause. The plant had already performed their investigation and reached a conclusion. In our investigation, we determined that the evidence indicated quite a different outcome. Our investigation mapped a 6 step occurrence that lead to the fire and the spread of the fire. Plant management agreed with our results and proceeded with implementing our recommendations.

    CO GAS EXPLOSIONS MASQUERADE AS DUST EXPLOSIONS
    That's right... CO gas explosions inside a silo/bunker can emulate a dust explosion to the point that most investigators have no idea that it was gas instead of dust. Science tells us what to look for in comparing the two types of explosions and we have applied this knowledge to actual investigations. In a recent event, we proved that a bunker explosion was from CO gas, not dust as OSHA and the local fire department had suspected.

    From origin to aftermath, there are very specific differences in evidence between gas and dust explosions... however, to the untrained eye, there is no difference in what they observe and it is easy to walk away pinning the blame on dust. The indiscriminate use of water prior to ventilating CO gas can cause gas to pocket and ignite prematurely. We have even trained fire departments on how to tell the difference between a CO gas and dust explosion.

    We know how to correlate CO PPM's to the 12.5%-74% flammable range of CO gas. PPM's are simply a measure of human health hazard, not explosion probability. Observing CO detector PPM readings do not provide an indication of the explosive potential in a silo. However, through mathematics, we are able to make a correlation that a PPM level is or is not in the 12.5%-74% flammable range of CO gas. The value of CO detector readings is that it tells us that an abnormality is developing in the silo.

    We are the only consultant to include the variable of CO gas explosion and its characteristics in its training programs. If you don't know what you don't know... things can get deadly very quickly.

    HOW DO YOU PREVENT EVENTS LIKE THIS?
    What many fail to realize is that Mother Nature has built certain characteristics into fossil fuels that we can not change. The good news is that coal burns well.. the bad news is that until it reaches the furnace, it will behave as nature intended... and herein lies the root cause of many issues that we fail to compensate for. Instead we expect coal to just lay there in an inert state, causing no problems. In fact, chemistry is fast at work the minute coal leaves the ground....chemistry that can result in fires and explosions.

    Prevention is easy....much easier than dealing with the aftermath of fires and explosions. But it takes the unique knowledge of what's happening to the coal AND how it impacts transport from delivery to the furnace to lay out an effective, practical prevention plan. By prevention, we include the elements of dust control, spillage control, early warning detection and fire protection. Each of these has a number of subsets elements that must be evaluated and a plan implemented. If every plant followed one of these plans to the letter, there would be no fires and no explosions... guaranteed!

    WHAT IS EARLY WARNING DETECTION?
    Early Warning Detection is the very best investment you can make...period! EWD detects the pre-combustion off-gassing (carbonaceous oxidation) of CO (carbon monoxide) days before actual burning is evident. The precursors to silo fires, tunnel fires and dust collector fires can all be detected days before any harm materializes. Left to accumulate as the combustion process grows, CO is flammable in the 12%-74% range and deadly to life.

    We were the first to advocate CO detection for areas outside of bunkers-silos. However, the best application for the money can only be determined by a skilled assessment that takes many important variables into account. Whether its a spot assessment or a full scope assessment of the entire coal handling system, we provide a detailed written report and a schematic of the areas where investment improvements will benefit you most.
      "AREN'T COAL FIRES & EXPLOSIONS INEVITABLE?"
    Absolutely Not!
    Every fire and every explosion that has ever occurred and those that will occur in the future are preventable. Most investigations stop short of identifying the root cause. In haste to flag a cause and move on, many internal investigations miss the circumstances that will most likely result in a recurrence of a similar event in the future.



    "WE BURN BITUMINOUS SO WE'RE NOT AT RISK."
    This is a DANGEROUS misconception. The major different between bituminous and sub-bituminous in relation to explosion is the Kst value which predicts the magnitude of the boom.

    However, an explosions from a dust with a Kst of 105 can be just as devastating as one with a Kst of 225, depending on where it happens and who is in the area when it happens.



    THE SHORT STORY ON BIOFUELS
    BioFuels ten to be thought of as less dangerous and more inert when it comes to fires and explosions. This couldn't be further from the truth! All biofuels burn (that's why we put them in the boiler).

    All biofuels liberate combustible dust. Some biofuels bring the same explosive energy as coal dust...fuels such as cellulose, paper dust, wood dust, saw dust, and peat.

    The energy industry will undoubtedly become focused on optimizing coal-biofuel blends. Respect these fuels and the issues they bring.

    BioMass Explosion Canada

    LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION...
    to permanently implement temporary measures that eventually lead to disaster.



    CLICK HERE
    for an official MSDS on CO from the NIH Center for Disease Control.

    EXPLOSIVE, DEADLY & IT'S IN YOUR SILOS, TUNNELS AND PULVERIZERS...

    EXPLOSIVE:
    at 12.5%-74% concentration
    DEADLY
    to human life at 3200 ppm.

    Why would you ever want to chance its presence in your system? CO detection is your best investment and should be your first investment in coal handling improvements.