Natural Gas + Ethanol = Explosion

- by Larry Phillips, June 30, 2014, Leader and Times

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"216","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 480px; height: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;","title":"Photo: Chris Linenbroker"}}]]Firefighters responded to an explosion Sunday evening at Conestoga Energy’s Arkalon Ethanol Plant. Fortunately, no one was injured from the blast or subsequent fire, according to Seward County Fire Chief Mike Rice.

“We got the page at 7:04 p.m. (Sunday) about a possible explosion at the plant at 8000 Road P,” Rice said earlier today. “Preliminary reports from plant staff is they had a natural gas explosion in a combustion burner in the feed dryer system on the second floor.”

Firefighters had contained the fire and left the scene at 3:18 a.m. today, but were called back out at 5:23 a.m.

“We’re, basically, on standby right now (9:27 a.m.) while plant staff cuts some holes in equipment so they can get to some smoldering insulation that’s around some of the piping and duct work in that area,” Rice said.

Though no injuries occurred in the incident, Rice said preliminary reports indicate significant damage was caused by the explosion.

“Early, early damages  – from reports of the plant’s staff – indicate damages could be in the $1- to $2-million range,” Rice said.

The exact cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, and Rice said further investigation is under way.