Minnesota Energy - Executive Summary
Accidental Release Prevention and Emergency Response Policies |
Minnesota Energy is committed to the protection of its employees, the greater community and the environment from hazardous substances used in the ethanol fuel production process, specifically the natural gasoline used as the ethanol denaturant. It is the policy of Minnesota Energy to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws.
Facility Description and Regulated Substance Handled
Minnesota Energy operates an ethanol fuel production plant located near Buffalo Lake, in Renville County, Minnesota. The facility produces fuel grade ethanol from corn and a process by-product known as dry distillers' grain with solubles, which is used as a livestock feed. The fuel ethanol production process requires use of a denaturant (natural gasoline) which is reported to contain 30 to 40 percent pentane, an RMP regulated substance. The maximum amount of natural gasoline on-site is estimated to be 78,000 pounds. The natural gaso
line is stored in a tank as a liquid and is introduced to the fuel ethanol in the final stage of production. The natural gasoline is added to the ethanol to make the ethanol unfit for human consumption. The denaturant tank is located in the facility's tank farm area which includes secondary containment.
Off-Site Consequence Analysis
In addition to identifying and reporting regulated materials at the Minnesota Energy facility, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Risk Management Plan (RMP) program guidance requires companies to share with their communities a look at the worst possible accident that could happen at a facility (as unlikely as that might be) and an alternative, more realistic accident scenario.
RMP*Comp?, a software tool developed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was used to perform an off-site consequence analysis for the Minnesota Energy facility. The worst case scenario defined by RMP Guidance is a failure of the natural gasol
ine storage tank resulting in a vapor cloud explosion. The software modeling program considered release of the entire contents of the denaturant tank, a wind speed of 3.4 miles per hour and an air temperature of 77 degrees F. The analysis projected an off-site endpoint for the release. The alternate case analysis also used RMP*Comp? and considered failure of the tank with a 27,550 pound release and a subsequent vapor cloud fire. Atmospheric conditions included a wind speed of 6.7 miles per hour, an air temperature of 77 degrees F and the modeling assumed the release occurred within the tank farm's containment basin. The resulting endpoint was off-site from the facility.
General Accidental Release Prevention Program
Through completion of this RMP, Minnesota Energy has complied with the EPA requirements under 40 CFR Part 68. Process safety information and operations/maintenance procedures are documented on-site. Periodic functions such as process hazard analysis, training, change mana
gement and incident investigation are conducted on a regular basis. Audits of the overall RMP will be conducted on a regular basis to assure compliance with EPA regulations.
Five Year Accident History
Minnesota Energy has not had a natural gasoline accident causing death, injuries, environmental of property damage, evacuations or in-place sheltering in the last five years at the fuel production facility.
The facility began operation in April of 1997.
The Emergency Response Program
In the event of an emergency, it is the policy of Minnesota Energy to notify the City of Buffalo Lake Fire Department and evacuate all employees from the facility.