Investigators determined a mechanical failure caused a fire and explosion last Monday at an ethanol plant in Fergus Falls, MN.
A hydraulic pump that controls the damper in the dryer building of the Green Plains Renewable Energy plant failed Monday afternoon, said Fergus Falls Fire Chief Mark Hovland.
It caused higher than normal temperatures in an attached chamber that destroys hazardous emissions. A fire started in the chamber and smoke from the fire ended up drawn into the dryer building causing a smoke explosion.
The explosion tore apart the building, Hovland said. No one suffered an injury in the fire or subsequent explosion.
Green Plains officials are still assessing the damages, which plant manager Anthony Hicks said are “significant,” but he could not give a dollar amount.
The plant, which produces corn-based ethanol, corn oil and distiller’s grains, has been in operation since 2008.