biodiesel safety

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Information about biodiesel safety
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Published on November 8, 2007

Author: Jacqueline

Source: authorstream.com

Safety and Waste Disposal Considerations:  Safety and Waste Disposal Considerations Dr. Christie-Joy (C.J.) Brodrick Assistant Professor, JMU Lisa Schweitzer Assistant Professor, VT April 3, 2006 Slide2:  Safety Highlights at JMU Please note that safety would be an entire day course in itself. The following presentation is by no means comprehensive or intended to be used by others as a complete safety plan. We are not experts in safety. What we present here are highlights of how JMU approaches safe production of biodiesel. We touch on what we have found to be key areas with the intention of giving other users a starting point for developing their own safety plans. Safety plans are highly dependent on reactor design, setup, and location, and thus must be developed separately for each operation. We strongly encourage everyone to take the time to write their own plan. Slide3:  www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/npbf/pdfs/tp36182.pdf Handling of Commercial Biodiesel Chapter 11: Safety and Environmental Regulation Composition Information: Biodiesel contains no hazardous materials. Biodiesel contains a variety of fatty acid methyl esters with carbon chain lengths varying between 12 and 22, where 18 carbon chains are the most common. Small quantities (less than 1%) of other materials may be present and should not exceed fuel quality standards. Handling and Storage: Store in clean, dry, approved diesel equipment between 50° F and 120°F. Keep away from oxidizing agents, excessive heat, and ignition sources. Store and use in well-ventilated areas. Do not store or use near heat, spark, or flame. Store out of the sun. Do not puncture, drag, or slide drums or totes. Drum and totes are not pressure vessels; never use pressure to empty. Inhalation: Negligible danger unless heated to produce vapors. Slide4:  To thoroughly understand the hazards involved with working with specific chemicals substances, the biodiesel small-scale unit operator should be familiar with the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). MSDS contain information on product identification, ingredients and hazardous classification, physical/chemical characteristics, fire and explosion hazard data, fire fighting measures, accidental release measures, health hazard data, first aid measures, toxicology, reactivity (and stability) data, precautions for safe handling, storage and use, control measures, transportation, disposal, regulatory information, additional information. Safety Data Sheets MSDS LINKS Vegetable Oil http://sargentwelch.com/pdf/msds/sch94733.pdf Methanol http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/methanol.htm Glycerol http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/MSDS_Glycerol.pdf KOH http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/KOH.htm NaOH http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/NaOH.htm Methoxide http://www.sciencestuff.com/msds/C2658.html Glycerol http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/MSDS_Glycerol.pdf Biodiesel http://www.biodieselgear.com/documentation/MSDS_BD.pdf Slide5:  ** This is the classification for Flammable or Combustible liquids. Sample MSDS Health Info Slide6:  Table 2. Summary of MSDS Fire and Explosive Information Sample MSDS Health Info, con’t Slide7:  JMU’s General Safety Gear goggles gloves clothing aprons Slide8:  The following is a list of considerations we had when installing our processor units: Area must well ventilated No open flames (water heater, clothes dryer, or other device nearby) Adequate lighting Clearances for operation Limited access to the area to other adults, children, and pets Eyewash station Fire extinguisher Chemical reaction work area Fume hood (or some other forced draft system that vents to the outside) Location, Location, Location Slide9:  Hazards are dependent on system design and operation... Slide10:  ** This is the classification for Flammable or Combustible liquids. Table 4. Summary of MSDS Reactivity Information We looked at four processors… Slide11:  “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING AND COMPLYING WITH ALL APPLICABLE LAWS IN YOUR AREA REGARDING THE PRODUCTION, SALE DISTRIBUTION, TRANSPORTATION, STORAGE AND HANDLING OF OILS, ALCOHOLS (METHANOL), CAUSTICS (LYE) AND FUELS (SUCH AS BIODIESEL).” Sample Reactor Documentation Slide12:  Basic small-scale biodiesel processing steps for a generic reactor: Transfer oil to the processing tank Heat oil to 120F - 130F Check titration level Prepare methoxide - mix methanol and catalyst Combine oil and methoxide Mix (circulation and/or agitation) for fixed time Wait for glycerin to separate from biodiesel Remove gylcerine from processor tank Wash biodiesel Wait for water and biodiesel to separate Remove water from processor tank Transfer biodiesel to storage tank List of common hazards we identified involved with this process: Personnel exposure (to hazardous vapors, liquids, or solids) Fire or explosion Thermal exposure to hot surfaces Slick surfaces (oil) Examples of Common Hazards Slide13:  What if oil overheats? Hazard: The oil is usually heated to 110-130F. If the temp gets above 150F, the methanol (when combined with the oil) will boil and overpressure the vessel. The plastic cone-bottom processor tanks could have a vessel failure. Vessel failure could lead to personnel exposure to fumes and/or explosion hazard. Safeguards: Temperature indication (preferably one that is permanently installed in the system). Only the Appleseed reactor has a temperature indication for the operator and it has a vessel overpressure/temperature relief valve that would open to vent the tank (to the outside). JMU Approach: Install an easily viewable thermometer in the system for monitoring temperature while heating. Alternative to this is to use a DVM with a Thermocouple input or other type of portable temperature indication. Operation – Steps 1 and 2: Transfer and Heat Oil Slide14:  What if oil spills from the supply drum or while transferring? Hazard: A large spill of oil will cause slick surfaces. It could possible cause irritation to skin if the oil temperature is too hot. JMU Approach: Install simple secondary containment or at the minimum have materials available for quick cleanup in case of a large spill. Operation – Steps 1 and 2: Transfer and Heat Oil Slide15:  What if heating device (element) overheats? Hazard: Very high surface temperatures. This could lead to an operator being burned, or ignition of materials or vapors. Some systems have thermostatically controlled in-tank heating systems so this is unlikely. Others must be monitored closely. JMU Approach: Install a thermostat and internal heater. Operation – Steps 1 and 2: Transfer and Heat Oil Slide16:  What if operator is exposed to MeOH fumes or liquid touches the skin/clothing during titration? Hazard: Exposure to small amounts of Methanol fumes can lead to blindness or death. JMU Approach: Immediately wash if on skin and seek emergency medical treatment. Operation – Step 3: Check Titration Level Slide17:  What if the methanol leaks from the methanol barrel or methoxide tank? Hazard: This would be a fire hazard. If a leak develops in the Fuelmeister Methanol storage tank, this is a major hazard because of the potential volume of methanol involved (up to a maximum of 55 gallons). The most likely occurrence of a catastrophic barrel leak would be mishandling the barrel during delivery or transport to the processor location. JMU Approach: Leave area immediately. Vent. Use a purchased methanol cleanup kit. Hazard: Operator is or will be exposed to methanol or methoxide fumes. JMU Approach: Remove any exposed clothing and wash skin. Seek emergency treatment. Operation – Step 4: Prepare Methoxide Slide18:  What if the operator is exposed to catalyst? Hazard: Base catalyst (KOH and NaOH) are very corrosive Safeguards: Wear proper protective equipment. JMU Approach: Seek medical attention. **Note: An alternative to making your own Methoxide would be purchasing it premixed. Operation – Step 4: Prepare Methoxide Summary of Key Considerations:  Summary of Key Considerations Storing and handling of methanol… Consider the type, size, and location of methanol storage container(s) Determine safest way to transfer methanol from storage containers into the the system (to limit exposure) Use spill containment and have an emergency plan Methanol catalyst mixing and addition… Design of the methoxide system is critical and all safety aspects should be considered/modified. Methoxide addition to the processor should only be done using a closed system. A carboy Methoxide injection system similar to the Biodieselgear or the Appleseed processor could be added to this system. Summary of Key Considerations:  Summary of Key Considerations Heating Method… In-tank heating (Appleseed and Biodiesel Gear) is the safest and most effective heating method. Avoid external wrap-heaters. Also, integral tank insulation (standard water heater tank) is preferred. Use a temperature indicator such as a digital volt meter with a thermocouple input or other type of temperature indication so that the operator can easily see the fluid temperatures in the system. Processor Tank Design /Material Compatibility… Be aware of materials of construction and “weak points” in the systems that could be vulnerable to high temperature or pressure. Glycerol and Wastewater Disposal… Glycerol has residual methanol in it. If you don’t remove the methanol, consider this hazardous waste. Have a plan!

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