EXTRACTION SAFETY HAZARDS & OUR SOLUTION
It’s an unfortunate truth, but plant oil extraction can be quite dangerous. That’s why it’s crucial to perform extractions in a safe, controlled environment when extracting with butane, propane, ethanol, carbon dioxide, and/or other solvents.
Fortunately for those already in the extraction industry, or those just entering it, we’ve developed an ideal, self-contained extraction booth that’s designed to mitigate the hazards associated with plant oil extraction while meeting the demands of fire marshals, code officials, state regulators, and OSHA inspectors. Our Class I, Division 1 extraction booths are ideal for small batch, commercial, and industrial scale plant oil extraction, and they’re designed to reduce the hazards of hydrocarbon and ethanol that you’ll encounter in the extraction environment.
We’d like to touch on some of these hazards, and how they can be mitigated by our turn-key HAL Extraction Booth solution.
Ventilation Is Necessary
When working with the solvents used hydrocarbon and ethanol extraction, adequate ventilation isn’t just recommended, it’s necessary to maintain the safety of workers using the extraction equipment. Extraction with these flammable solvents can be hazardous for two reasons: it can be dangerous to inhale foreign gasses, and these gasses are flammable. With proper ventilation, asphyxiation and the risk of an explosion are significantly reduced. Take note, even a slow leak or controlled release of butane, or any other hydrocarbon, can accumulate, combust, and potentially cause an explosion.
Fortunately, the work environment can be made safe with the proper ventilation. The HAL Extraction Booth is designed to provide ideal ventilation for these extraction processes. Our C1D1 extraction rooms are outfitted with explosion-proof supply and exhaust fans and motors. No need to pay extra for those! The supply pulls in fresh air from either the surrounding environment or from outside the building, while the exhaust removes the hazardous atmosphere from the inside of the booth.
The base air-flow rate continuously provides fresh air across the workspace, significantly mitigating the risk of toxic and flammable gas buildup. In the event of a buildup of potentially toxic/flammable gas, the ventilation system will increase to the purge air-flow rate and will quickly exhaust the contaminated atmosphere.
Reduce the Possibility of Ignition
All possible sources of ignition should be controlled, prevented, or removed. Since a gas buildup can result in an explosion, even with the smallest ignition source, it’s critical to utilize explosion-proof fans, motors, lighting, sensors, and any other fixtures and fittings in your extraction facility. That’s precisely how our extraction rooms are designed and built.
A Class I, Division 1 environment is defined as a classified space where ignitable amounts of hazardous gasses may be present under normal operating conditions. In this environment electrical equipment is required to be rated as explosion-proof, or intrinsically safe. Explosion-proof equipment is designed to contain an interior explosion and prevent interior sparks from igniting the surrounding atmosphere. Intrinsically safe equipment uses less electrical and thermal energy than is necessary to ignite a hazardous atmosphere mixture.
Facility layout can be just as important as the equipment you choose. Tight spaces can restrict airflow and cause a buildup of toxic/flammable gas. Outlets and switches should be placed outside of the work environment or should be specifically rated for the Class I, Div. 1 space and all circuits should be ground-fault protected.
Detect, Monitor, and Mitigate Dangerous Gasses
Gas detection and monitoring are crucial to ensure a safe environment. We utilize state-of-the-art detection equipment in our extraction booths, as well as a patent-pending controls solution to ensure that both operators and supervisors aware of the condition of the atmosphere within the extraction room. Our sensor, located within 12” of the floor on the exhaust side of the booth, continuously monitors the amount of flammable/toxic gas in the room as a percentage of the Lower Explosive Limit (LEL). We designed a system that we, fire marshals, building code officials, and now Underwriters Laboratories (UL) feel provides an economical and safe working environment. Below 10% of the LEL, the ventilation system remains at the base air-flow rate. At >10% of the LEL, the ventilation system increase to the purge air-flow rate and the light alarm starts flashing. If the concentration of flammable/toxic gasses continues to increase at or above 25% of the LEL, the sound alarm starts blaring. The control panel (outside of the booth) and the sensor (inside of the booth) provides a real-time display of the percentage of the LEL to anyone in the extraction facility.
Extraction Safety Made Simple
With HAL Extraction Booths, extraction safety couldn’t be simpler. Built and designed from over 20 years of Industrial Hygiene experience, safety and code compliance are the foundation of the HAL Extraction Booth. Our booth has a 3rd Party Engineering Peer Review stamped by Pressure Safety Inspectors, and is UL Certified. Learn more about our plant oil extraction rooms, or view our brochure for further tips surrounding the safety of extraction. If you’re curious about our extraction booths, or if you’d like to learn more about safe plant oil extraction, feel free to get in touch with us! If you’re in the area, stop by our showroom in beautiful Golden, CO.