Ethanol Vapors + Safety


What’s everyone doing ventilation-wise to deal with their ethanol vapors? I’m trying to keep people from exploding during refinement.

For reference, the lower explosive limit of ethanol as defined by OSHA is 3.3%, or 33,000ppm. Our plant is using a sizable, open room with a couple of points that are prone to vapor output. We have two big 600L dewatering/winterization kettles that leak vapors when we open their ports, multiple poly drums that are leaking 20000-30000 ppm of EtOH vapor through their openings, and a couple of filter trolley devices that leak around 1000-2500 ppm of vapor while they run. We’re pumping a lot of the filter trolley vapor out of the room and onto the much larger extraction floor (probably at least 15-20k square footage but I don’t have an exact number) through some HVAC tubing to get it cleared, but that’s really our only defined exit point. Even then, the lid is partially open so it still doesn’t get all the vapor out of the trollies. Our ambient air never appears to get above 100-500ppm by my measures. I was getting all this data with an Eagle 2 gas meter.

I feel like we’re probably okay, but I just wanted a second opinion. What is everyone else doing to explosion-proof their refinement labs?

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