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Biogas Safety

Anaerobic digestion systems and associated manure storage and handling present many safety hazards. A good designer and responsible digester owner will learn about and be concerned with safety from the very beginning of any digester project.

A qualified digester designer, builder or equipment supplier should have excellent knowledge about and be sensitive to the safety needs of workers and visitors around a biogas system.

Areas of concern will likely include:

  • Gas releases that are flammable, explosive or immediately toxic.
    • Hydrogen Sulfide gas, which can accumulate in the bottom of tanks and pump sumps, can kill almost instantaneously.
    • Carbon Monoxide gas can accumulate in engine and machine rooms from engine exhaust and poorly operating boilers.
    • Biogas can accumulate under roofs and ceilings in explosive mixtures.M
  • Confined spaces that may be immediately hazardous to life and should only be entered using appropriate procedures and equipment.
  • Noise levels that require workers to wear hearing protection.
  • Liquid tanks and ponds that may result in drowning.
  • Pumps and other machinery that are entanglement hazards due to rotating shafts, pinch points and other moving parts.
  • Biogas and manure liquids that cause rapid corrosion or failure of electrical equipment, gas handling piping and building components.
  • Small children and unaware visitors who can wonder into areas of danger and become serious injured or drown.
  • Ladders, platforms and roofs without guards, cages or other fall prevention measures.
  • Dirty liquids and gases escaping under high pressure.

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Biogas Safety

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