Thanks to John Blair for sending around this head up about the coal gasification plant at Wabash River … more as it appears. Looks like a gasifier blew. This one has a video too:

Explosion at SG Solutions in Terre Haute

Posted: April 28, 2008 10:21 AM

Updated: April 28, 2008 05:14 PM

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Just before 11 a.m. Monday an explosion at the SG Solutions Coal Gasification Plant killed two people. Black smoke poured from the plant which is located near the Duke Energy power plant in northwestern Vigo County off of State Road 63.

Ed Utterback, who lives near the plant told News 10 “I’ve lived here since 1957 and I’m accustomed to the power plant periodically blowing down the boilers and it sounds like steam being released… [T]oday it sounded much louder with a little bit of rumble to it and lasted much longer, maybe a minute and a half or two minutes.”

Power plant officials say two men from Sterling Boiler Local 374 were working on an opening of one of the gasification units when it opening exploded. The men were said to be tighting bolts from nearly 150 feet in the air when the explosion occurred.

Richard Payonk, the plant manager of SG Solution announced in an afternoon press conference “To our knowledge they were tightening bolts on this particular flanged opening on the gasifier. Beyond that, I would be speculating on what occurred and how it occurred, except that we do know in hindsight that the opening did fail and come off, yes.”

Parts of the plant were immediately shut down as rescue crews raced to the scene. According to the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, the fire from the explosion was out before fire crews ever arrived.

The names of both men killed in the explosion have not been released yet, pending notification of family.

John Sisco, a man who says he knew both victims, expressed his anguish to News 10. “What can you say? There’s nothing you can say. It’s just tragic and so sad. These guys were top notch, Grade A boilermakers,” Sisco said. “Great people, great people to be around. And it’s just tragic. It’s a tragic loss and it’s a shame that it happened.” Sisco wanted folks to know “The prayers of every single worker at this facility are with them entirely. These were our close friends as well and we feel we’ve lost family members as well here very much so. It’s a very sad day for that.”

Federal state and local officials are still investigating the exact cause of the explosion. Hamilton Center sent counselors to the power plant to help workers deal with the accident.

By: Joe Stoll and Susan Dinkel WTHI-TV


Production at coke gasification to resume after investigation

Press Release

TERRE HAUTE, IND.—SG Solutions plant manager, Richard Payonk, addressed the media this afternoon following a fatal accident at its pet coke gasification plant in Terre Haute, Ind. Two contractors employed by Sterling Boiler & Mechanical, Inc. were killed.

The accident occurred at SG Solutions just before 11 a.m. today when a flanged opening on a high pressure vessel containing synthetic gas failed. Federal, state and local officials have been notified, and the investigation is ongoing. There is no danger to those nearby the plant.

“The safety of our workers and contractors is our top concern, and we’re vested in working with officials to find the cause of the accident and to make sure we’ve done everything in our power to prevent future accidents from occurring,” plant manager, Richard Payonk said.

Sterling Boiler Controller Ken Wahl issued a written statement this afternoon stating: “Sterling is assisting local authorities in every way possible in determining the cause of the explosion,” the statement said. “Our hearts and prayers are with the families of these individuals.”

Production at the plant stopped immediately following the incident and will resume once an investigation is concluded and all safety procedures are evaluated. Prior to today’s incident the facility had experienced no fatalities since opening in 1995. Wabash Valley Power owns 50 percent of SG Solutions, which operates the gasification plant that transforms petroleum coke into synthetic natural gas.

Wabash Valley Power is a generation and transmission cooperative (G&T) headquartered in Indianapolis. The G&T provides wholesale electricity to 28 electric distribution cooperatives in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. Collectively, they serve more than 350,000 homes, farms, businesses and industries. SG Solutions is a national leader in the development of synthetic gas for use in the generation of electricity for homes and businesses.

As one of only two Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) facilities in the United States, SG Solutions has received national recognition as a flagship project of the Department of Energy Clean Coal Program. Source: SG Solutions

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