Biomass Plant Fire Sends Workers to Hospital

A high-voltage electricity panel arc reportedly sparked a brief fire at the 100-MW Nacogdoches Power, LLC biomass power plant under construction in Sacul, Texas, and sent two workers to hospital in critical condition on Tuesday.

The arc flash occurred on the east side of the wood-fired biomass project at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday. The fire was reportedly extinguished within 30 minutes. “We are talking 440-volts,” Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss told Jacksonville newspaper Daily Progress on Tuesday. “It’s a lot of electricity. It’s not like a wall plug shorting out, but the two individuals were injured from electrical burns.”

The two workers, whose names have not been released, were employed by Minnesota firm Fagen Inc., which is building the plant for Southern Power. “The incident is contained, and it poses no threat to the plant site,” said Evan Fagen, president and COO of Fagen, in a statement. “It is proper protocol. We have closed the site to facilitate an investigation which is currently under way. The safety of our workers and the surrounding community is of the utmost importance.”

The incident is not expected to delay the Nacogdoches Power project, which is scheduled to come online later this year. It will include a wood fuel handling system, a bubbling fluidized bed boiler, and a condensing steam turbine generator with an evaporative cooling tower. Nacogdoches Power has secured all necessary permits and owns the project site. Construction began in 2009.

Sources: POWERnews, Fagen Inc., Daily Progress

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