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Deflagration Isolation

by Wood Pellet Association of Canada

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada (WPAC), BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC) and Dalhousie University recently partnered on an initiative to improve pellet industry practices regarding equipment isolation with an eye on minimizing the impact of potential combustible dust fires, explosions and deflagrations within wood pellet plants.

Process safety and hazard analysis expert Kayleigh Rayner Brown, P.Eng., M.A.Sc., Director of Obex Risk Ltd. was commissioned to lead a project on analyzing deflagration isolation for safer operation and conducted the work alongside BCFSC safety advisor Bill Laturnus. Funding for the project was provided by Dalhousie University, arranged by Dr. Paul Amyotte.

The project focussed on best practices aimed at isolating the potential for this kind of event and involved speaking with subject matter experts from wood pellet plants across Canada, engineering consultants with expertise in combustible dust, as well as experts in deflagration isolation equipment supply.


According to Rayner Brown incorporating deflagration isolation follows a four-step roadmap:

  1. Conduct Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA)
  2. Purchase equipment for recommended deflagration isolation points
  3. Install deflagration isolation equipment
  4. Maintain deflagration isolation equipment


You can read the following supporting materials here:

The full report Analysis of Deflagration Isolation in Wood Pellet Production for Safer Operation

Deflagration Isolation Overview

Deflagration Isolation Factsheet for Operators

Our most recent article in Canadian Biomass Magazine

In 2022, we hosted a symposium to review the report details and findings with presentations from industry experts. You can watch the webinar here  or read the summary story in Canadian Biomass Magazine.