The proposed systematic approach is based on the fact that Inherently Safer Design is best implemented in the early stages of a plant. Ethanol can be made by a dry mill process or a wet mill process. Most of the ethanol in the U.S. is made using the dry mill method. In the dry mill process, the starch portion of the corn is fermented into sugar then distilled into alcohol. The first stage of the technical approach will be to determine which portion of the ethanol production process has the largest area of opportunity. Early literature review is showing that dust explosions and transportation may be the most significant areas of opportunity. After the area of opportunity is identified the next step is to determine which inherent safety principle (intensification, substitution, attenuation, simplification, limitation) will best minimize or eliminate hazards from the ethanol production process. Because safety must be balanced with profitability, the last step in this approach is to determine the financial impact of proposed changes.
Task 1: Identify specific areas of opportunity (dust explosions, transportation)
Task 2: Develop inherently safer recommendations for each area of opportunity
Task 3: Evaluate financial impact of proposed changes