Testing Lab in biodiesel production facility

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Epower

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I have a test lab in a biodiesel facility and I was wondering if I am right to assume that it would be classified as a class 1 div. 2 area.
 

don_resqcapt19

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Staff member
Location
Illinois
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retired electrician
I wonder if biodiesel is different...we are working on a biodiesel plant and it is mostly Class I, Div 2, Group B. It could be that the classification of the plant is based on the products at the intermediate processing steps and not the final product. I am not on the job so I don't have all of the details.
Don
 

Epower

Member
Thnaks,
I understand that biodiesel has an extremely high flash point. I have a client that is not providing me with much info, as far as what chemical will be used. I know that methyl alcohol is used during the process and i am trying to obtain some information on my on.
 

Epower

Member
don_resqcapt19 said:
I wonder if biodiesel is different...we are working on a biodiesel plant and it is mostly Class I, Div 2, Group B. It could be that the classification of the plant is based on the products at the intermediate processing steps and not the final product. I am not on the job so I don't have all of the details.
Don
I am new to the biodiesel plants and maybe you can help. I am also treating the plant building as class 1 div. 2. I do not have drawings to go by and I am trying to get an understanding on this project without much help from client. If you have any suggestions to help enlighten me I would appreciate it.
 

chris kennedy

Senior Member
Location
Miami Fla.
Occupation
60 yr old tool twisting electrician
500.5(b)

500.5(b)

"Class 1 Locations. Class 1 locations are those in which flammable gases or vapors are or may be present in the air in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitible mixtures." I must have missed school that day, I'm not qualified nor do I have the testing equipment to classify a location. Of course a lot of common sense on the EC part comes into play here but let the PE handle the classification.
 

don_resqcapt19

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Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
I haven't been on the job site. Our project has engineered drawings and they specified Class 1, Div 2, Group B. That is about all I know about. It is not likely that I will be working on that project.
Don
 

bobgorno

Senior Member
Location
Colorado
Some syn-diesel processes use hydrogen in the process, hence the Group B designation. Other gases may be used, some are Group C. Your methanol is a Group D liquid.

Syn-diesel is probably heated way above its flash point, so it is a Group D.

At least the client recognizes he is a hazardous area, some do not. It is his responsibility to provide you with the classification documentation. NEC and OSHA require it. It is not your responsibility as an installer to provide the classification, only to install to his classifcation.

He may not be much help because he does not understand it very well. He should hire someone to provide a proper electrical area classification, complete with extents/boundaries.

Building is only Div. 2 if the ventilation is adequate. Proper ventilation study is required before performing the EAC.

Some try to make test labs unclassified. Not usually a good idea. A hazardous classification is required if the site is really a pilot plant or used for small scale production.

Good Luck!
 

dereckbc

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Location
Plano, TX
FWIW Bio-Diesel is like Ethanol in terms of percentages. Most is what is called B-5 which means it is 5% vegtable oil and 95% diesel.
 

rbalex

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Location
Mission Viejo, CA
Occupation
Professional Electrical Engineer
Part of FedOSHA?s Process Safety Management (PSM) requirements is up to date Process Flow diagrams and Material Safety Data Sheets. These are a facility owner?s responsibility. With these documents in place, electrical area classification (EAC) is fairly straight forward.

Section 500.4(A) requires that the EAC be properly documented and ??shall be available to those authorized to design, install, inspect, maintain, or operate electrical equipment at the location.? (It?s a PSM requirement too)

Both Don and Bob Gorno are right on. The end product (biodiesel) may be fairly benign, but the process creating it may be quite hazardous from an NEC Chapter 5 viewpoint.

If the test lab itself is built to NFPA 45, it may need little or no classified equipment.

EAC is not a trivial exercise. It needs to be created by someone who understands the project and the processes. The owner must provide this information as a matter of law and code.
 
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