Existing lessons on public safety, referred to as new biotech plants, suggest that the development of effective, responsive and responsible safety standard can improve the trust of the public in the new generation plants such as biorefineries. This implies the need for specific risk assessment aimed at defining the mitigation measures, which can minimize the impact of hazards on workers’ health. The main hazards, referred to biogas production process, are biohazard, fires and potentially explosive atmospheres. In particular, the last two hazards strictly depend on the presence of methane in the biofuel. This chapter presents the results of a work aimed at providing the biogas industry with a practical tool, which can be used to carry out the analysis of hazards of biogas plants. The adopted method for developing the tool is based on the well-known checklist approach. The checklist is a valuable support for the plant operator to evaluate periodically the actual effectiveness of the overall safety measures and ensure a safer management of the biogas plant. The checklist can meet these requirements. This chapter reports the main preventive, protective and managerial measures, which can be adopted to decrease the hazardous outcomes on workers’ health and safety.
Part of the book: Advances in Biofuels and Bioenergy
With reference to the framework for energy and climate, the European Union (EU) has stated that at least a 32% share of renewable energy consumption has to be achieved within 2030. This context generates attention to the potential hazards, which are associated with flammable biofuels, such as the bioethanol. One of the main hazards, referred to such biofuel, is the formation of potentially explosive atmospheres due to its evaporation from pools in case of accidental releases. In fact, in a bioethanol production plant (biorefinery), there are several components (flanges, valves, pumps, etc.), which can become potential emission sources in case of failure. Bioethanol is a high-boiling liquid, because its boiling temperature (Tboiling = 78°C) is higher than ambient temperature. Therefore, in case of release and spreading on a certain medium, evaporation occurs because of vapor diffusion. The chapter is focused on a case study. In particular, the chapter illustrates a comparison between two predictive models aimed at estimating the bioethanol evaporation rate, which is a fundamental parameter for determining the dilution degree and classifying the workplaces, where potentially explosive atmospheres could occur. The study investigates the influence of bioethanol release temperature and therefore of its vapor pressure on evaporation rate.
Part of the book: Biorefinery Concepts