Production of alcoholic beverages and spirits

steve66

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
Engineer
Are areas around either brewery's or distilleries considered classified hazardous locations?
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steve66

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
Engineer
I'm looking at a small distillery with a small bar area in an adjacent room. There won't be any classification documentation unless I create it. I was wondering what codes or standards might apply, and my first internet search returned this:


which pretty much confirmed my fear - there really aren't any codes or standards that fit the unique requirements of these micro-distilleries.
 

augie47

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee
Occupation
State Electrical Inspector (Retired)
There have been (2) built in this area recently. As don states, they both had Class 1 and Class II areas (an unclassified)
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Previously discussed here, this should give you some insight.
I didn't post at the time because the issue had been resolved by the time I saw it. But I did some work for both a brewery (Full Sail) and a distillery (Pear Brandy). The Full Sail brewery did not mill their own grain (at that time), they bought a mash already processed. The alcohol is not considered a Haz Loc because the threshold limit is 16% ABV and beer is below that.

The brandy distillery didn't use grain at all, but the Alcohol content was high enough to trigger the need for Classification (Class 1 Div 2) in a 25' perimeter of the still and 3 feet above the floor in the building where the still was.
 
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steve66

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
Engineer
The brandy distillery didn't use grain at all, but the Alcohol content was high enough to trigger the need for Classification (Class 1 Div 2) in a 25' perimeter of the still and 3 feet above the floor in the building where the still was.

Did they have light fixtures rated for Class 1, Div 2?

I assume the danger is from ethyl alcohol, and it looks like it is heavier than air. So it makes sense to have a classified area near the floor.

https://www.fireengineering.com/leadership/ethyl-alcohol/#:~:text=Ethyl alcohol’s flash point is 55°F, its ignition,in all proportions. Its chemical formula is C2H.

But I also saw a reference to rated light fixtures in the NFPA document I posted.

I guess there would also be classified areas near the openings on top of the tanks, which might include the light fixtures.
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Think of a virtual 25ft dome over the still. If you put fixtures inside of that dome, yes, they have to be rated C1D2. Most places just use a higher ceiling though.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
I'm looking at a small distillery with a small bar area in an adjacent room. There won't be any classification documentation unless I create it. I was wondering what codes or standards might apply, and my first internet search returned this:


which pretty much confirmed my fear - there really aren't any codes or standards that fit the unique requirements of these micro-distilleries.
There are no specific codes and standards that cover the area classification of industrial facilities. Each has to be evaluated based on the potentials for flammable concentrations of vapors and the electrical installed based on that evaluation. The area classification is really more of a function of process and mechanical engineers as they more fully understand the potential for flammable concentrations.
That is why the code requires area classification documentation.

If you are doing an install for areas covered by Articles 511 through 516 you can use the classification guidance provided in those articles, but other than that, you need area classification documentation documentation.

As this type of facility becomes more common, maybe there will be a new article to address this type of installation. There is a proposed new article, "Article 512 Cannabis Oil Equipment and Cannabis Oil Systems Using Flammable Materials" for another process that is becoming more common for the 2023 code.
 

chrisplusian

Member
Location
Orange Park, FL
Occupation
Automation Systems Engineer
Ultimately this will fall to the AHJ, and knowing what codes/standards are adopted in that area. I have done plenty of Hazardous areas designs/installations. There are companies that specifically do this type of study. Much of it surrounds parameters defined in NFPA 497, NFPA 30, and NFPA 499. I have seen one or two locals which incorporated ISA requirements rather than NFPA, but the majority default to NFPA.

Things such as flash point, ventilation, chemical composition, and specific gravity play into what classifies an area. If you are not thoroughly experienced with this kind of thing, and supported by a team who can do the required testing/analysis required then your position should be they need to have a study done.

One last word of caution: Some alcohol plants will fall back on DISCUS and documents provided by insurance companies. While these are considerations the customer needs to consider, they are not the determining factor. Ultimately that falls on the engineer and AHJ. In the case where you cannot convince yourself the area is not classified, and the customer refuses to pay for a study.... then the area is classified.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Ultimately this will fall to the AHJ, and knowing what codes/standards are adopted in that area. I have done plenty of Hazardous areas designs/installations. There are companies that specifically do this type of study. Much of it surrounds parameters defined in NFPA 497, NFPA 30, and NFPA 499. I have seen one or two locals which incorporated ISA requirements rather than NFPA, but the majority default to NFPA.

Things such as flash point, ventilation, chemical composition, and specific gravity play into what classifies an area. If you are not thoroughly experienced with this kind of thing, and supported by a team who can do the required testing/analysis required then your position should be they need to have a study done.

One last word of caution: Some alcohol plants will fall back on DISCUS and documents provided by insurance companies. While these are considerations the customer needs to consider, they are not the determining factor. Ultimately that falls on the engineer and AHJ. In the case where you cannot convince yourself the area is not classified, and the customer refuses to pay for a study.... then the area is classified.
They will also look at the operating pressure and temperature as well as the if there are valves and other such process piping fittings that have an potential for leakage.
 
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