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Explosion at refinery

Published on 21/06/24 354 Views

A piece of equipment in the air side of the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit called the expander vibrated forcefully enough that the refinery’s control system automatically transitioned the FCC unit to standby mode known as safe park. During safe park mode, the flow of hydrocarbons into the reactor is turned off and the flow of air into the regenerator is also stopped. The two slide barriers are closed too. The electrostatic precipitator (ESP) remains energised during safe park. One slide valve had eroded and could not maintenance a catalyst barrier. A flammable hydrocarbon mixture was flowing through the air side of the FCC unit and moved towards the ESP with its multiple ignition sources. The flammable hydrocarbon mixture then violently exploded.

Original material courtesy of CSB