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Combustible Gas

by Adam Dras

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC) and the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) have released a new report that summarizes the key actions plant operators can take to manage the risk of combustible gas in drum dryers.

In wood pellet production, there is the potential for the formation and ignition of combustible gas, primarily in dryers and burners. Combustible gas, also known as synthesis gas or syngas, is a mixture of flammable hydrocarbons and volatiles (such as methane), carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Combustible gas is formed when biomass is heated in low-oxygen environments. It can accumulate in enclosed areas, like dryers, ducts, cyclones and piping. Ignition of combustible gas can lead to explosions that cause injuries, facility damage and production downtime.

The report, Combustible Gas Risk Reduction in Wood Pellet Production Drum Dryers, is a result of a bow tie analysis workshop conducted in collaboration with staff at Premium Pellet in Vanderhoof, BC and Kayleigh Rayner Brown, MASc, P.Eng. (Obex Risk Ltd.). Bow tie analysis is a hazard analysis tool that wood pellets and medium-density fibreboard manufacturers have previously used to evaluate combustible dust hazards.