Company investigators say they have found the cause of the explosion last month at the Imperium Renewables biodiesel plant near Grays Harbor, Washington state.
The DailyWorld.com reports a 10,000-gallon glycerin neutralization tank became over-pressurized to the point of an explosion when sulfuric acid caused an unexpected exothermic reaction:
“Personnel were unaware of the potential for such a reaction,” spokesman John Williams wrote in the release, “and the processing equipment itself was not designed with physical or mechanical safeguards to prevent an oversupply of sulfuric acid.”
Imperium CEO John Plaza said in the release the company is planning to install new mechanical safeguards to prevent a similar increase in the acid ratio from reacting in the future.
“We are taking steps to make sure this cannot, and does not, ever happen again,” he said.
Company officials say they are working on getting the plant back online but didn’t give a timeline as to when the repairs would be complete.