The fire hazard of an ethanol process facility


  • It was originally presented at the 7th Global Congress on Process Safety, Chicago, Illinois, March 13-16, 2011.


A large release of high purity ethanol has been shown to pose a significant hazard to the structure and sensitive equipment of an unprotected process facility. A new methodology was developed that provides a practical means of measuring the maximum heat flux from an unprotected fire and the relative effectiveness of various water-based protection schemes. These results were combined with large-scale testing, using a representative multilevel process structure, to evaluate the performance of several sprinkler and water spray systems designs common to the industry. Several of these protection systems were shown to be inadequate to reduce the hazard below an acceptable level. However, when designed properly, sprinkler systems were shown to provide acceptable protection of the process structure, though local area water spray was needed for protecting objects near the pool fire surface. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Process Saf Prog, 2011