– by John Lippman, August 4, 2018, Valley News
Biomass power plants, a warren of hazardous machinery, can be dangerous places to work, especially if care is not taken to ensure a safe working environment. This was made tragically clear when a young man was killed while working at Springfield Power last year.
And it could have been prevented had the biomass plant followed proper training procedures for employees and ensured that the plant’s equipment was properly safeguarded, according to a recent finding by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
– November 3, 2016, CBS Minnesota
POET biorefining (Photo: POET)
Federal investigators have found multiple safety violations at a South Dakota ethanol refinery expansion project following the death of a worker in May.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it cited the worker’s employer, North Dakota-based Bilfinger-Westcon, with five major safety violations.
Investigators found the 38-year-old pipefitter was removing a vent line May 6 when 190-proof ethanol spilled onto him, flowed through a grated floor and was ignited by welding operations on a lower floor. The fire engulfed the man.
– by Brian Parkin, October 26, 2016, Bloomberg
Fukushima (Photo: Christopher Furlong)
Japan is turning to a small German company to generate power from timber irradiated by the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear meltdowns.
Closely held Entrade Energiesysteme AG will sell electricity from 400 of its container-sized biomass-to-power machines set up in Fukushima Prefecture, said the Dusseldorf-based company’s Chief Executive Officer Julien Uhlig. The devices will generate 20 megawatts of power by next year and function like a “biological battery” that kicks in when the sun descends on the the region’s solar panels, he said.
– October 3, 2016, Gainesville Sun
Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (Photo: GRU)
The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, or GREC, announced late Monday afternoon that it accidentally discharged some 9,000 gallons of industrial-process water onto the ground.
The water, which contained a higher concentration of minerals than the water the plant uses to make power, spilled because of a power outage that led to an equipment failure at the biomass plant, according to a report by Alachua County’s Environmental Protection Department.
The 9,225 gallons would ordinarily have been pumped to a cooling tower basin, but instead mostly flowed to a storm water retention pond, company officials said.
– by Katie Nelson, May 13, 2016, Argus Leader
Federal workplace safety officials are investigating a fatal fire last week at a Lincoln County ethanol plant.
One person was killed and another injured in the fire, which started about 6 a.m. May 6 at a Poet Biorefining plant about two miles south of Hudson.
The worker who died was working inside a distillation unit at the time of the fire, which was sparked by a welding incident, according to Sheila Stanley, the Sioux Falls area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The first worker was flown to a burn unit in St. Paul where he died. The other worker was treated and released.
– by Associated Press, May 2, 2016, Washington Times
A recent Iowa rail safety study says Dubuque County remains vulnerable to crude oil or biofuels spills more than a year after several railcars carrying ethanol derailed along the Mississippi River.
The state’s Department of Transportation and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department released the study last week, the Telegraph Herald (http://bit.ly/21qc7Vv ) reports. It examines each county’s oil and ethanol transportation routes and volumes, previous incidence of spills, derailment and fire, likelihood of future incidents and public safety and environmental risk factors.
– by Jeni Diprizio, March 18, 2016, Local Memphis
This isn’t the first time Memphis firefighters have been called to the Agrileum plant.
Neighbors say there was a small fire there just a few weeks ago. And in 2014, the facility was under state and county investigation.
Senior investigator Jeni Diprizio was at the plant after a chemical spill. Neighbors have been concerned about the facility for quite some time.
“When it first blew up, we were sitting right here,” recalled Andrew Blanton.
Residents who live near the biofuel plant say it’s been a concern for decades.
“It shouldn’t be here. It should be on Presidents Island or something,” said Ricky Blanton.
They say they are worried about fires and chemical spills.