Gexcon and DNV GL collaborate in large-scale dust explosion research

Dust explosionDNV GL has partnered with Gexcon in a collaborative project to investigate dust explosions at a larger scale and produce new guidelines for industry on how best to mitigate these events

Dust explosion incidents are immediate releases of small particles like chemicals and metal dusts in large volumes, which can have devastating effects to people and the facilities involved, stated DNV GL.

The project combines Gexcon’s capability in dust explosion modelling with the large-scale experimental capabilities at the DNV GL Spadeadam research and testing centre in the UK.

Hari Vamadevan, regional manager at DNV GL oil and gas for the UK, added, “The primary role of the Spadeadam research and testing centre is to provide our clients with knowledge and understanding to ensure risks are reduced and operations are safer. The availability of Spadeadam’s infrastructure allows DNV GL to respond so effectively across a number of sectors.”

Common dusts that are involved in reported incidents include lumber and wood products, chemicals, metal dusts, plastics and foodstuffs. However, changes in the nature of the threat develop along with new technologies. For example, the use of biomass in large scale power generation can involve containment volumes of the order of 100,000 cu/m, said the company.

According to the company, the new guidelines aims to result in reliable and cost-effective safety designs and a better understanding of the extent of the hazards in large volumes.

Clara Huéscar Medina, safety engineer at DNV GL Spadeadam, said, “Though considerable research has been done on dust explosions, experimental work has taken place in small enclosures of less than 250 cu/m.”

“The increasing use of biomass, particularly wood material, in the power generation industry is raising safety concerns around the potential of dust explosions occurring and we are taking measures to help the industry understand the implications,” Medina explained.

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