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Power Plant Explosion Risks

explosion pentagon

One group most at risk from the likelihood of a dust explosion are Power Plant, Energy & Biomass industries. When processing coal and biomass products such as wood and other small organic materials, there is a high risk of creating optimum conditions to host a catastrophic explosion that can put livelihood at risk.

Some specific areas of risk in the process can be internal and external transporting conveyors of the material being used, heating plants, sorters, cyclones, mills and tanks to the boilers. These areas of the process can create environments that have the potential to ignite, setting off an explosion that can then propagate into other areas of the production, growing in size until the entire facility is affected and in danger.

Areas of Risk

When we talk about the conditions for an explosion to occur, we are talking about a variety of factors that can differ at various stages in a plant that can vary at any time. In Power, Energy and Biomass, examples of these conditions often include:

Faulty conveyor belt producing ignition source
  • coal humidity
  • temperature of the coal
  • the oxygen content in the carrier medium
  • the grain size

Ignition sources can present themselves in different forms, such as a spark from faulty machinery, static electricity, friction from conveyor belts or even the friction caused by material becoming stuck in the process. When plant production itself involves heating of material, such as biomass, the risks of an explosion occurring are naturally high because of the presence of hot surfaces and high temperatures.

Transportation Routes & Mill Circuits

The two areas of the power & energy process where an explosion is most likely to happen would be the transportation routes and the mill circuits, as it is in these parts of the process where there is the greatest risk of explosion of flammable dusts, gases, and hybrid mixtures.

There are two area types of transportation routes; closed and open transportation. Closed transportation routes include:

Fire on a conveyor
  • chain conveyors
  • screw conveyors
  • pneumatic transport
  • suction routes
  • bucket elevators
  • filtration units

Both closed and open transportation routes are at risk of an explosion, but even more so the closed transportation routes as the material producing the risk is confined within the route.

The Solutions

To protect against the effects of an explosion in the power and energy industry, it’s important to identify all the areas of risk and apply adequate protection methods to suit those areas. We offer a range of explosion protection solutions that can be used separately or together in a cooperative system. The types of explosion protection that we provide for use in the power and energy industry are typically; explosion suppressionexplosion ventingflameless venting and explosion isolation (HRDGatEx or B FLAP).

Explosion Suppression for Power Plants

Explosion Suppression

One of the most common, flexible and effective solutions for explosion protection within the power & energy industry is explosion suppression.

The HRD suppression system by RSBP for explosion suppression is a highly reliable system that provides a solution for indoor and outdoor applications, and can protect toxic and otherwise dangerous materials. It is suitable for a variety of applications including filters/filtration units, industrial vacuum cleaners, silos, mills, dryers, cyclones, conveyors, elevators, mixers, crushers and more.

Pressure detectors or spark detectors constantly monitor the application’s operating conditions and are able to immediately detect the start of an explosion at an early stage. The detectors then transmit a signal to the control unit which in turn initiate the suppressants discharge for rapid extinguishing. Not only does the control unit handle all signals, but it also serves as a user interface for the operating personnel. The HRD bottles themselves allow for easy handling, simple maintenance and rapid and effective explosion suppression.

Explosion Isolation for Power Plants

An important aspect of explosion protection within the power & energy industry is ensuring an explosion will be isolated from other parts of the process. To achieve this, explosion isolation solutions are required.

The HRD suppression system by RSBP can also be used for explosion isolation to act as a suppression barrier between one part of the process to another. An alternative solution is the use of a barrier valve or explosion flap valve.

B FLAP Isolation Valve

The B FLAP features capabilities for push and pull systems, with the possibility of installation on horizontal and vertical pipes. The mechanical function of the isolation valve means there is no need for electrical supply for the core mechanism to function. The B FLAP offers low pressure losses and high pressure resistance. There is the possibility of equipping the equipment with additional accessories such as a position indicator that shows from the outside of the valve the status of the flap (whether it is opened or closed). The inspection hatch design means servicing is quick, easy and effortless.

Contact us today to discuss your explosion protection needs.

Stephanie Cooper - Operations Manager

Author: Stephanie

Operations Director

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