Explosions Due to Hydrogen and Hydrogen Sulfide Build-up

As paper mills have begun to close up their water systems and move toward zero effluent discharge, they are finding that closing a mill’s water system can lead to changes in a mill’s water chemistry. These can include a build-up of nutrients which can increase the amount of microbes in a mill’s system. In the absence of oxygen that might be found in tanks, chests, and pipes, anaerobic bacteria can thrive.

When certain types of anaerobic bacteria break down the organic material found in a mill, hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen gases can be formed and released. One group of anaerobic bacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria or SRB, produce hydrogen sulfide gas as a byproduct of their metabolic process. Other anaerobic bacteria, including clostridia, produce hydrogen gas as a byproduct of their metabolic processes.

Both these gases, if present in sufficient amounts, can be a safety concern — particularly for explosions — in a paper mill. Monitoring for these gases can help detect harmful levels of the gases before incident occurs.

RPTA issued Technical Bulletin 16, Hydrogen and Hydrogen Sulfide Gases, which provides guidance on monitoring for these gases.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board issued a Bulletin that provides guidance on hot work in such areas.


LATEST NEWS

Industry Benchmarking Survey
Based on membership feedback, we have decided not to conduct the Survey in 2024. We will use the temporary pause to consider ways to improve the Survey and to establish the new Survey frequency. All decisions will be communicated widely to our membership. All past Survey reports can be accessed at this member-only page.

Narrow Roll Safety Guideline
Available at this web page.

2023 RPTA Fall Roundtable
The annual member-only Fall Roundtable last year covered New Paper Mill Technology. It included presentations by Voith and Valmet and a tour of the new paper mill operations at Graphic Packaging International’s Kalamazoo Mill. Seminar slides are available at this member-only page.

2024 Winter Webinar
On January 25th, we held a webinar on Waste Reduction through Separation and Upcycling, presented by Drew Kinsel, Upcycling Product Manager at Kadant Black Clawson. Webinar slides and recording are available to RPTA members only at this web page, along with materials from other past webinars.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Production-Technical Seminar
Our next P-T Seminar will be on April 29 and 30, at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, co-located with TAPPICon 2024. Session topics are:

  1. Safer Operations
  2. Process Monitoring
  3. Multiply Machine Operations
  4. New Packaging Developments

As in past years, registration is through www.TAPPICon.org

Summer Webinar
The webinar will be on in-line freeness control. Details to follow.