Biomass Plant Explosion

Monday, April 29, 2013 @ 05:04 PM gHale

Investigators are still working to find the cause of a biomass plant explosion in Shakopee, MN, just south of Minneapolis.

The explosion occurred at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Koda Energy, a joint venture with Rahr Malting Company, which produces malt.

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By mid-afternoon, the city tweeted there are no air quality or environmental concerns following the Koda Energy silo explosion. The fire caused damage to two biomass fuel silos and their conveyor system, as well as the truck unloading facility, Koda Energy said. A smoldering fire remained, but that burned itself out.

Koda produces energy from oat hulls and wood chips, byproducts of malting, and the explosion happened in two of its silos, the company said. All seven employees on site are accounted for and safe.

Koda Energy does not yet know the cause of the fire, or when it will resume operations.

The city of Shakopee had asked all residents and visitors within a mile radius of Koda Energy and Rahr Malting to stay indoors until they investigated safety issues.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regulates Koda Energy and the plant became fully operational in May 2009. Rahr dates back to 1847.

“We still have to do some investigating to determine the cause,” Koda Energy Director of Supply Mike Marsollek said. “The main concern was getting everybody outside, accounted for, and making sure the public was safe.”

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