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Wabash Petcoke Gasification Plt – Accident 2 dead

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Charles Randall 13 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #3659

    Charles Randall

    <Couple versions Wabash Accident News from Reuters & Legalelectric – not sure explosion detail is accurate…CER>

    Coal gasification explosion: metal fitting broke, released gas
    April 28th, 2008 Posted by Carol A. Overland / Legalelectric
    Update on the explosion at the Wabash River IGCC coal gasification plant. This article from the Frankfort Times says that a metal fitting broke, pressurized gas leaked and ignited:
    Explosion Kills 2 at Indiana Plant That Turns Coal Into Gas
    Monday, April 28, 2008 
    WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) – A leak at a plant that turns coal into gas in western Indiana caused an explosion that killed two workers Monday, authorities said.
    The explosion at the SG Solutions coal gasification plant occurred just before 11 a.m. when a metal fitting broke and released pressurized gas, plant manager Richard Payonk said. The gas ignited immediately.
    Production at the plant stopped immediately after the explosion pending an investigation.
    The workers who died were employees of Evansville, Ind.-based Sterling Boiler & Mechanical Inc. Payonk said about 15 to 20 Sterling employees work at the facility each day, and many are from the Terre Haute area.
    The victims’ identities were being withheld pending notification of next of kin, Payonk said.
    Sterling Boiler Controller Ken Wahl declined comment Monday beyond a company statement. In it, Sterling Boiler officials acknowledged the accident and offered condolences to the workers’ families.
    Payonk said it is too early to know what might have caused the leak.
    ‘We will determine the nature of the failure and what occurred,’ he said. ‘And we will put corrective actions in place based upon what we can find.’

    Two dead in Indiana plant explosion: company

    updated 4:46 p.m. CT, Mon., April. 28, 2008

    HOUSTON – Two contract workers were killed in an explosion at a West Terre Haute, Indiana, petroleum coke gasification plant on Monday morning, one of the plant’s owners said in a statement.
    The accident occurred “when a flanged opening on a high pressure vessel containing synthetic gas failed,” according to a statement issued by Wabash Valley Power, a 50-percent owner of SG Solutions, which operates the plant.
    The contract workers killed were employees of Sterling Boiler and Mechanical Inc, headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, according to a statement from that company.

    Firefighters from the Sugar Creek, Indiana, Fire Department were called to the plant shortly before 11 a.m. EDT, said Fire Chief James Holbert.
    “They had some type of vessel failure up there,” Holbert said. “There were some injuries.”
    Local media reported the explosion in southwest Indiana rattled windows several miles away.

  • #6893

    Charles Randall

    Here are couple versions News Wabash Accident from Reuters & Legaleclectric – not sure detail on explosion is accurate. One my contacts indicate that although media have tended to report that there was explosion it is more likely that there was sudden pressure release that made lot of noise.
    The plant will return to operation after the investigations & repairs since there was no significant physical damage to the plant itself.  The workers that were killed were long time workers at the facility, but not COP employees & they will be missed.  The two boilermakers (Top notch & experienced workers) were attempting to tighten down a slightly leaking flanged manway as I understand.
    Legalelectric had follow-up article out today suggesting someone thinks the failure might be related to Hydrogen Embrittlement of fastners – I will try find and post it as follow-up.
    Charlie Randall

  • #6892

    Charles Randall

    <Here is follow-up article today from Legalelectric on accident info – even if it isn’t cause the item on counterfit fastners & H2 Embrittlement action on all fastners if food for thought……CER.>
    Hydrogen embrittlement is a major cause of fastener failure”
    Legalelectric Wednesday April 30th, 2008

    The day before yesterday, the Wabash River IGCC’s pet coke gasifier blew up, or had a majorly pressurized blast (did it ignite?  not sure.) that was felt and heard far beyond the plant boundaries.  A cover over a flange opening “failed” and it failed while two workers, Danny Turner  and David Shoemaker, were tightening bolts 150 feet up in the air.  They were killed, and there have not been reports of other workers injured, nor has there been a statement that there were no other casualties, so we don’t know.
    Anyway, a little birdie sent me a link, with the hypothesis that hydrogen embrittlement may be related to the failure.  Here’s the link:
    Hydrogen embrittlement     And here’s the short version, taken directly:[/blockquote]
    Hydrogen embrittlement is a major cause of fastener failure.  Prevailing thought is that steels with Rockwell hardness above C30 are vulnerable.  The phenomenon is well-known although the precise mechanism has eluded extensive research.  A number of proposed mechanisms have been proposed, and most have at least some merit.  Current thinking is that the susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement is related directly to the trap population.  Generally, hydrogen embrittlement can be described as absorption and adsorption of hydrogen promoting enhanced decohesion of the steel, primarily as an intergranular phenomenon. [/blockquote]
    Hmmmmmm, makes sense to me!  A quick google brings up a boatload of references, the second one is:
    Hydrogen embrittlement of high strength fasteners
    Even through reported incidences of fastener failure due to hydrogen embrittlement are low, the consequences of failure can be great in equipment and piping in high pressure, flammable or toxic services. In one incident, two bolts holding the body of a ball valve together failed due to HE, separating the attached piping and releasing a propane cloud. In another instance, seven of twelve body studs in a pump containing high pressure isobutane failed due to HE. Fortunately, no one was injured in either incidence. The risk associated with bolt failures in critical services warrants prudent action to minimize this occurrence.
    The following inspection and management practices associated with bolted connections are recommended:
    1. Locate and document all corroded bolted connections during external visual inspections of equipment and piping, especially inspections preceding a scheduled maintenance shutdown. Corroded, high strength fasteners should be replaced during the outage and protected with a barrier coating, anti-seize compound or rust preventative.
    2. Incorporate inspection of bolted connections in risk-based inspection management programs.
    3. Include provisions in maintenance management procedures to protect newly installed fasteners from corrosion.
    The role of counterfeit fasteners in fastener failures has received much publicity. A potentially greater hazard in the sudden failure of fasteners due to hydrogen embrittlement is less well appreciated. [/blockquote]
    So it sounds like the little birdie is on to something here. 

  • #6351


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