Oil and gas

Large-scale dust explosion research underway by DNV GL and Gexcon

Dust explosion at Spadeadam Research and Testing, Cumbria, UK

Dust explosion incidents are immediate releases of small particles (i.e. chemicals, metal dusts) in large volumes. Such incidents can have devastating effects both in terms of harm to people and the facilities involved. DNV GL and Gexcon have therefore joined together to seek partners in a collaborative project to investigate dust explosions at a larger scale and produce new guidelines for industry on how best to mitigate these events.

Clara Huescar Medina, DNV GL
Clara Huéscar Medina Medina, Safety Engineer, DNV GL – Spadeadam
Hari Vamadevan, DNV GL
Hari Vamadevan, UK regional manager, DNV GL – Oil & Gas

Common dusts involved in reported incidents ranges from, among others; lumber and wood products, chemicals, metal dusts, plastics and foodstuffs (sugar, flour).  However, changes in the nature of the threat develops along with new technologies, for example the use of biomass in large scale power generation can involve containment volumes of the order of 100,000m3. The new guidelines will result in more reliable and cost effective safety designs and a much better understanding of the extent of the hazards in large volumes.  

“Though considerable research has been done on dust explosions, experimental work has taken place in small enclosures of less than 250m3,” said Clara Huéscar Medina, Safety Engineer with DNV GL – Spadeadam. “The increasing use of biomass, particularly wood material, in the power generation industry is raising safety concerns around the potential of dust explosions occurring and we are taking measures to help the industry understand the implications.” 

The project combines Gexcon’s capability in dust explosion modelling with the large-scale experimental capabilities at the DNV GL Spadeadam Research and Testing centre in Cumbria, UK.  

Hari Vamadevan, UK regional manager, DNV GL – Oil & Gas, adds: “The primary role of the Spadeadam Research and Testing centre is to provide our clients with knowledge and understanding to ensure risks are reduced and operations are safer. The availability of Spadeadam’s infrastructure allows DNV GL to respond so effectively across a number of sectors.” 

Companies interested in joining the JIP can contact Clara Huéscar Medina.  

Read more about the JIP here. 

About DNV GL 
Driven by our purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. Operating in more than 100 countries, our professionals are dedicated to helping our customers in the maritime, oil & gas, energy and other industries to make the world safer, smarter and greener. 

DNV GL is the technical advisor to the oil and gas industry. We bring a broader view to complex business and technology risks in global and local markets. Providing a neutral ground for industry cooperation, we create and share knowledge with our customers, setting standards for technology development and implementation. From project initiation to decommissioning, our independent experts enable companies to make the right choices for a safer, smarter and greener future.

About Gexcon
Gexcon AS is a world-leading company in the field of safety and risk management and advanced dispersion, explosion and fire modelling. Gexcon’s experience arises from detailed knowledge of explosion phenomena built up throughout years of extensive research projects, carrying out safety assessments, performing accident investigations and performing physical testing at the company's own dedicated facilities on the Norwegian island of Sotra outside Bergen. Gexcon has, over several decades, developed unique expertise in safety and risk management and today the company enjoys a leading and reputable position in its field.