Ethanol Refining

Ethanol refineries are a unique opportunity for Hazard Control Technologies because there are so many applications where F-500 EA excels. To help reduce our dependency on foreign oil, the U.S. has been using gasoline with ethanol added.  Ethanol and ethanol-blended fuels, like the E10 we use in our cars today are a Class B, polar solvent, which describes solvents that are miscible in water.  This presents a problem for foams, because most foams dissolve in water.  To solve this problem, AR-AFFF was developed which maintains a foam blanket on polar solvents.  In extinguishing ethanol and ethanol-blended fuel fires, AR-AFFF foam has several problems.  Most fires at a refinery are three-dimensional, such as a leaking pump or a flange spewing ethanol.  NFPA 11 (Annex A.1.1) states, “Foam is not suitable for three-dimensional flowing liquid fuel fires or for gas fires.”  Secondly, foam must form and maintain a perfect blanket.  Large ethanol fires are very hot.  In the case of a silo fire, trying to lob foam on a silo is challenging since the heat causes many of the bubbles to rise into the air.  The water in the foam evaporates as super heated steam.  Since the foam that lands on the ethanol does little to cool the fire and vessel, the heat is trapped.  Any break in the foam will result in reignition.  Finally, AR-AFFF is expensive.  An ethanol plant also has Class A fire hazards in the form of the corn or grain raw materials.  These raw materials are a combustible dust hazard and must be handled properly.  So, why would you want to inventory Class A foam for grain or corn fires and AR-AFFF for ethanol fires when F-500 EA is very suitable for both applications?

Combustible Dust Training

Grain and corn are capable of spontaneous combustion in the right conditions.  The finer the particulate, such as dust, the more volatile it is.  HCT has expertise in the field of combustible dust fires and prevention.  It begins with awareness that a hazard exists and a desire to make the workplace as safe as possible.  Training will teach employees how to avoid fires and will also help employees recognize the signs of a problem.  The first step is vigilant housekeeping to prevent the dust from building up.

F-500 EA Piercing Rod Systems

If an employee reports a burning odor in one of the silos or a CO monitor alarms, a FLIR thermal imaging camera can be used to locate the hot spot and direct a piercing rod to the source of the heat.  F-500 Encapsulator Agent can be injected to extinguish it.  The F-500 EA Piercing Rod System comes with everything you need for the plant’s fire brigade or local firefighters to extinguish a deep-seated fire.  HCT can also provide training to use the piercing rod.

F-500 EA Fire Extinguishers

Vulnerable areas, such as rail car unloading, can create potential dust hazards.  An F-500 EA fire extinguisher can be used by a first responder to extinguish the fire before it escalates.  The penetration capabilities of F-500 EA are well-suited to corn and grains to get deep into the fire.

F-500 EA Portable Carts

In areas where fire extinguishers might not have enough capacity, 26 and 40-gallon carts are available carrying concentrated F-500 EA.  Just connect to a 1 ½”-fire hose and you’re ready for over an hour of Class A firefighting or 21 minutes of Class B firefighting.

F-500 EA Concentrate Control Supply (CCS) Systems

Larger areas may need to be protected by a fire suppression system.  Even if a system is already installed, an F-500 EA CCS system can enhance the performance of plain water.  Applying water to burning grain or corn can stir up dust that ignites, causing a flashover.  Adding just 1% F-500 EA to water prevents this dangerous effect.  In process areas, F-500 EA handles three-dimensional fires, cools and encapsulates the fuel resulting in rapid extinguishment.


F-500 EA should be the agent of choice for its versatility.  On Class A fires (corn or grain), F-500 EA is applied at 1%; for ethanol fires, 3%.

  • Fast knockdown
  • Perfect for three-dimensional fires
  • Cools fuel and surrounding structures
  • Encapsulates the fuel rendering it nonflammable
  • Interrupts the free radical chain reaction – reduces toxic smoke