Reducing Fugitive Dust Emissions from Process Equipment

The engineers here at CTI have had great success over the past several years in reducing risks associated with combustible dust fires and explosions.  Much of our work has focused on hazard analysis, design of fire and explosion prevention and protection systems, and safety procedures and training.  But there is another field we have been working on that I feel is worth discussing – mechanical design of equipment and processes to eliminate fugitive dust.

The greatest hazard associated with combustible dust comes from the threat of secondary explosions.  Secondary explosions occur when a primary explosion, often inside process equipment or in an isolated area, sends pressure waves through a facility that dislodges fine dust that has accumulated on floors, walls, and overhead surfaces.  This fine dust then forms a cloud that spreads into a large area.  If this dust cloud is ignited, a large, potentially devastating flash fire or explosion can occur. 

Preventing the dangerous accumulation of dust inside facilities is often an endless, seemingly unwinnable battle.  Housekeeping programs are the most common method used to combat this, but this can require a great deal of labor and are often not effective. Also, the act of housekeeping can present a number of hazards – by creating dust clouds while cleaning and by requiring work in elevated and confined areas.

CTI has had great success in helping facilities to mitigate fugitive dust accumulations while reducing the need for labor intensive housekeeping. We have done this by assisting facilities evaluate and modify process equipment to reduce dust emissions. We can assist with mechanical design that can minimize and hopefully eliminate fugitive dust from process equipment.  Some of the equipment we have worked with include:

  • Pneumatic and mechanical conveying systems
  • Sifters and screens
  • Bins and silos
  • Material feeders
  • Dryers and coolers
  • Grinders and hammermills
  • Bag loading and unloading
  • Truck and railcar loading and unloading

If you would like assistance with reducing the dust accumulations in your facility, please feel free to contact me.