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Fire Reported at Fergus Falls Ethanol Plant

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We have breaking news to report out of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Fire crews are on scene at the ethanol plant after a call about a fire in one of the dryers. One eyewitness tells us the Green Plains Renewable Energy ethanol plant is on fire with visible smoke and flames.

 

Several emergency crews are on scene and the call has gone out to neighboring communities for assistance. People in downtown Fergus Falls report hearing a loud boom, but a representative at the Fergus Falls Fire Department will not confirm an explosion occurred.

 

Green Plains Renewable Energy is located at 24096 170th Avenue in Fergus Falls, which is just to the west of Interstate-94.

 

We have a team on the way to Fergus Falls and will bring you more information as it becomes available. Stick with Valley News Live and www.valleynewslive.com for updates to this breaking news story.

 


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I too hope no one has been hurt. Understand though that fires in distiller dryers are quite common and GENERALLY a long distance to ethanol lines, tanks, & distillation towers with a lot of flame proof materials between. Typically what happens in these dryer fires is that some distillers cakes onto a hot surface, moisture drops, temps rise and suddenly you have a smoldering hot spot. There is normally an automatic fire system that suppresses the flame by opening valves to dump C02 into the space. These valves/sensors are not infallible.

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One of the plants down here had a mini explosion in the RTO ductwork in January  that caused a bigger explosion in dryer A. Somehow the plant is still producing since dryer B is still operating and repairs will eventually be made. One of the plants I'm in is a Delta T design and has a ring dryer that in completely different that the drum dryers that work like a cement mixer barrel.

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http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/10836/fire-under-control-at-minnesota-plant-no-injuries-reported

 

...No injuries have been reported, and Stark confirmed that everyone onsite has been accounted for.

The initial fire in the dryer system was followed by a small explosion. The fire department was already onsite when that incident occurred. Regarding the fire, Stark said that the fire deluge system performed as designed, pushing a lot of water into the dryer and helping to contain the fire...

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Yes Cessna- the one I was at was a Delta T and the ring dryer was not even at the plant. Due to local ordinances it was located 5 miles away. :lol: It had a number of small fires which were CO2 contained. Water would not have been as good in that application. Perhaps water dumped into a drum drier is ok but in a ring dryer it might have blown the blast doors out with steam.

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http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/10855/gpre-announces-restart-of-otter-tail-ethanol-plant

 

...Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. has announced the restart of its Otter Tail ethanol plant. The 60 MMgy facility located near Fergus Falls, Minn., was temporarily idled after a March 10 fire. According to information released by GPRE, the facility began producing ethanol again on March 16.

The fire broke out in the plant’s dryer system at approximately 4:30 p.m. on March 10. Information released by GPRE indicates the facility will produce “wet cake” until the dryer system can be repaired, which may take approximately 60 days...

 

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Nice to see that this only set them back 6 days of production.

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