Fire Response at Landfill Gas Plant

Date Completed: 2010

Project Scope

Venture Engineering & Construction was contracted to provide fast-track design, equipment selection and construction/repairs for a 6 million cfd High BTU gas
plant that caught fire in July 2010 at a landfill in the mid-west. The plant uses Dimethyl Ethers of Polyethylene Glycol (DEPG, a.k.a. Selexol™ or Coastal AGR®) to capture moisture, non-methane hydrocarbons, and carbon dioxide.

Fortunately the damage was localized, and there were no injuries. In response, a two pronged approach was adopted to restoring the facility:

  1. Assessment and repair/replacement of fire damaged equipment, and
  2. A more comprehensive facility-wide assessment and review. Fire damage assessment tasks included metallurgical sampling, stripping of insulation, removal of pooled solvent and water, internal inspection of vessels, review of alarm and event logs, operator interviews, etc. Instrument and transmitters were identified as destroyed, functional but needing checkout/rebuild,  or unaffected. Approximately 3 dozen instruments were affected, as well as one gas cooler, two high horsepower pumps, a marshaling panel and numerous conduits.

A process review meeting involving the chemical supplier, the instrumentation supplier, the customer and Venture identified several problematic areas that were a legacy of practices prior to new ownership at the end of 2009. Bypassing safeties and interlocks was a common practice, especially as instruments went bad and were not replaced. Documentation was sparse and unreliable. No functional description existed.

Venture assisted the owner with a multi-disciplinary team of senior staff who inspected, tested, and measured to define the extent of the damage. Venture, with the owner, mobilized and supervised contractors for various demolition and repair tasks, undertook planning and scheduling, and directed work in the field. Commissioning occurred during the last two weeks in October, and the plant returned to operational status on October 28, 2010, one day ahead of schedule.