Canadian Biomass Magazine

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WPAC releases report on dust in pellet mills


August 29, 2012
By WPAC

August 29, 2012 – The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) has released a report that outlines steps that pellet mills can take to assess and minimize the risk of dust explosions in their facility.

Penned by research director Staffan Melin, Determination of Explosibility of Dust Layers in Pellet Manufacturing Plants, looks at dust explosions in the pellet industry and outlines a dust management scheme that would eliminate much of the risk at a minimal cost. The report also discusses risk assessment, dust sampling and categorization methods.

Part of the problem, says the report, is the limited understanding of the complex behavior of dust explosions among plant operating personnel as well as corporate management. The report concludes that a successful dust management scheme is built upon a sharing of responsibility between management, operations and maintenance personnel and at the same time providing a robust safety record as the basis for safety inspections and audits.

The allowable dust level is determined by a model and inexpensive instrumentation, which can be used by plant operating personnel and based on characterization of the dust by scientific means.

As a guideline, the report states that, “without knowing the Minimum Explosible Concentration (MEC) and dust bulk density the safety rules for a production plant and safety management becomes a guessing game. A safety margin policy of 50% or better should be established for any pellet manufacturing plant.”

Download the entire report, including graphs and tables, from WPAC’s website.