SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Koda Energy announced today that it has reopened its biomass facility with a new design to enhance safety, increase reliability, and reduce emissions. Koda suspended operations on April 25, 2013, when a fire started in two of the facility’s silos that contained wood chips and oat hulls.
One of the only heat and power plants in the nation to burn this specific blend of natural materials, Koda Energy will continue to provide environmentally friendly biomass energy by burning a blend of agricultural and plant seed byproducts, such as wood chips, oat hulls, malt byproducts, sawdust, and ground-up wood pallets. Following its $7 million improvement project, it will have a new horizontal system inside a two-story unloading and storage building connected to the existing fuel processing facility.
The lower-profile design brings many benefits, including:
- Improved safety
- Reduced particulate emissions
- Increased reliability
- More efficient fuel unloading
The new design also virtually eliminates trucks idling outside the facility; there will be the same level of truck traffic into and out of the facility as before. The improvement project did not expand the facility or its output levels.
“Koda Energy is excited to get back to the business of generating environmentally friendly energy from local biomass sources,” said Stacy Cook, vice president and general manager of Koda Energy. “This experience, while unfortunate, has given us the opportunity to incorporate the newest technologies and best practices into our facility with a more robust fuel receiving system. Safety is and will continue to be our top priority.”
Koda Energy employs 18 people, all of whom worked full-time to support the rebuilding efforts.
Cause of 2013 fire
The cause of the April 2013 fire was determined to most likely be an ember from a piece of equipment igniting a dust particle or wood chip, which ignited material in two of Koda Energy’s silos. This determination helped inform the planning process for the facility’s new design and operations. Specifically, the type of fire that occurred in the previous facility could not occur now, based on the fact that the new facility does not include silos, containment, or explosive concentrations of airborne dust; and it does feature infrared detectors that would help identify a potential ignition source before it could spread through the system.
About Koda Energy
Koda Energy is a partnership between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Rahr Corporation. It provides environmentally friendly biomass energy for Xcel Energy as well as Rahr Corporation, which uses the residual heat from electricity generation in its malting process. Koda Energy originally opened in May 2009 as one of the first facilities of its kind in the United States.