Explosion caused by grain

Grain exploded as it was being unloaded at Skretting fórproduksjon in Stavanger Thursday morning.

09.01.04 15:40

The grain was being unloaded from a boat into a grain silo at Skretting fórproduksjon in Stavanger when it exploded. The explosion was so powerful that several windows in the area shattered.

The grain ignited as a result of the explosion, but the fire department soon managed to get control over the flames. The entire area was evacuated, but the facility is now up and running as normal. No one was hurt in the explosion.

Dust explosion

Foto: Professor Rolf K. Eckhoff

“This was a dust explosion,” said Atle Skretting, force commander at Rogaland police district to TV 2 Nettavisen. “We got the call regarding the explosion at 9:40 a.m. and the fire department informed that the fire was out 40 minutes later.”

Well known phenomena

“It is not common with dust explosions today,” said Rolf K. Eckhoff, professor in production safety technology. “We had a number of them in Norway for 20 to 30 years ago.”

Eckhoff has written several books on the topic, and he functioned as secretary in the committee that wrote the current safety regulations.

“When a thick cloud of dust particles is ignited, the flames will expand as fast as in a mixture of propane and air,” Eckhoff sated. “When this occurs in a closed area like a silo, the pressure will increase so much that something eventually will give, and the result is an explosion.”

Eckhoff stressed that it is not the actual grain that is ignited, but the fine, thick dust which is released during the loading process when grain particles rub against each other and the walls of the silo.

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