When woodchips at a mill in Alabama, United States, caught fire in January 2016, Atlas Copco’s WEDA 90 submersible electric water pump helped save the operation from disaster.
A pile of woodchips is a disaster waiting to happen. The heat generated by their compaction and decomposition can be intense enough to cause spontaneous combustion. That’s why a woodchip mill needs to have firefighting systems in place, as well as a solid backup plan. Unfortunately for a certain mill in Alabama, when a fire broke out in one of its two woodchip silos, the company had a plan A but no plan B.
The mill produces biomass pellets for use in power plants as a renewable energy source. Before being processed, the woodchips are stored in a massive silo. Concerned that the fire would cause another hot spot in the second silo nearby, the facility manager turned to United Rentals Pump Solutions in Alabama. With the threat to the equipment and supplies stored at the facility as well as the safety of staff, the race was on to find a speedy solution.
Plenty of water from the nearby river would be needed to put out the fire. Since the river and its surroundings are environmentally protected, a diesel-driven hydraulic pump was not a viable solution. The damaging effects of a hydraulic leak or fuel spill would contaminate the water, put wildlife at risk and incur hefty fines.
Tripp Brown, branch manager of United Rentals Pump Solutions, says, “We knew an electric submersible pump was the way to go.”That’s when he reached out to Atlas Copco, which recommended its energy-efficient WEDA 90 for the job.