Combustible Dust Testing

Laboratory testing to quantify dust explosion and reactivity hazards

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Gas and Vapor

Laboratory testing to quantify explosion hazards for vapor and gas mixtures

Classification of hazardous materials subject to shipping and storage regulations
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Thermal Stability

Safe storage or processing requires an understanding of the possible hazards associated with sensitivity to variations in temperature

Adiabatic Calorimetry
Data demonstrate the consequences of process upsets, such as failed equipment or improper procedures, and guide mitigation strategies including Emergency Relief System (ERS) design
Reaction Calorimetry
Data yield heat and gas removal requirements to control the desired process chemistry
Battery Safety

Testing to support safe design of batteries and electrical power backup facilities particularly to satisfy UL9540a ed.4

Safety Data Sheets

Develop critical safety data for inclusion in SDS documents

Cable Testing
Evaluate electrical cables to demonstrate reliability and identify defects or degradation
Equipment Qualification (EQ)
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Water Hammer
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent unwanted hydraulic pressure transients in process piping
Acoustic Vibration
Identify and eliminate potential sources of unwanted vibration in piping and structural systems
Gas & Air Intrusion
Analysis and testing to identify and prevent intrusion of gas or air in piping systems
ISO/IEC 17025:2017

Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the field of Testing

ISO 9001:2015
Fauske & Associates fulfills the requirements of ISO 9001:2015
Dust Hazards Analysis
Evaluate your process to identify combustible dust hazards and perform dust explosion testing
On-Site Risk Management
On-site safety studies can help identify explosibility and chemical reaction hazards so that appropriate testing, simulations, or calculations are identified to support safe scale up
DIERS Methodology
Design emergency pressure relief systems to mitigate the consequences of unwanted chemical reactivity and account for two-phase flow using the right tools and methods
Deflagrations (Dust/Vapor/Gas)

Properly size pressure relief vents to protect your processes from dust, vapor, and gas explosions

Effluent Handling

Pressure relief sizing is just the first step and it is critical to safely handle the effluent discharge from an overpressure event

FATE™ & Facility Modeling

FATE (Facility Flow, Aerosol, Thermal, and Explosion) is a flexible, fast-running code developed and maintained by Fauske and Associates under an ASME NQA-1 compliant QA program.

Mechanical, Piping, and Electrical
Engineering and testing to support safe plant operations and develop solutions to problems in heat transfer, fluid, flow, and electric power systems
Hydrogen Safety
Testing and consulting on the explosion risks associated with devices and processes which use or produce hydrogen
Thermal Hydraulics
Testing and analysis to ensure that critical equipment will operate under adverse environmental conditions
Nuclear Safety
Our Nuclear Services Group is recognized for comprehensive evaluations to help commercial nuclear power plants operate efficiently and stay compliant
Radioactive Waste
Safety analysis to underpin decomissioning process at facilities which have produced or used radioactive nuclear materials
Adiabatic Safety Calorimeters (ARSST and VSP2)

Low thermal inertial adiabatic calorimeters specially designed to provide directly scalable data that are critical to safe process design

Other Lab Equipment and Parts for the DSC/ARC/ARSST/VSP2 Calorimeters

Products and equipment for the process safety or process development laboratory


Software for emergency relief system design to ensure safe processing of reactive chemicals, including consideration of two-phase flow and runaway chemical reactions


Facility modeling software mechanistically tracks transport of heat, gasses, vapors, and aerosols for safety analysis of multi-room facilities


Our highly experienced team keeps you up-to-date on the latest process safety developments.

Process Safety Newsletter

Stay informed with our quarterly Process Safety Newsletters sharing topical articles and practical advice.


With over 40 years of industry expertise, we have a wealth of process safety knowledge to share.

Published December 19, 2013

Developing Good Engineering Practice in Biomass Industry

Biomass Background - Forest, Sawmill and Agricultural Perspective

Biomass energy is a suggested replacement for fossil fuel combustion and is producedWood pellets on fire by combusting sustainable biomass materials such as wood and agricultural residues. An aggressively growing industry, biomass encompasses many combinations of production and storage, all with potentially hazardous interactions.  Biomass generally includes forest, sawmill and agricultural residue. When processed into pellets, the moisture content is lowered and biomass is rendered logistically and economically suitable for transportation and for use as fuel in power generation and steam production plants. Biomass is an attractive fuel because the carbon dioxide emitted from burning biomass does not increase total atmospheric carbon dioxide if done on a sustainable basis. For this reason, many European utilities and private consumers are considering the change from coal-based power to biomass fueled-plants.


Because the biomass and pellet industry is primarily wood based, there are ongoing concerns about the safe processing and operation of biomass, whether during the pelletizing or fuel burning processes.


How Regulations are Driving Biomass Safety

In the US, different organizations have different responses to the biomass industry. At a recent conference, leaders from the United States Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) stated that the biomass industry is a young industry. As such, it is unlike developed industries (the chemical industry) in that the hazards of production are not well defined and that there are no standard practices for good engineering or for safety.  In spite of such concerns, the USDA recently committed to support the Biomass Power Association and other related organizations by stating, "Wood-to-energy efforts are a part of our 'all of the above' energy strategy. Appropriately scaled wood energy facilities also support our efforts to remove hazardous fuels and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires."

In Europe, The Climate and Energy Package is driving consumers and utilities to use more sustainable fuels (the 20,20,20 Targets). In the UK, new solid biomass sustainability standards are set to go into effect in 2015. Once the standards take effect, the biomass industry will be required to show its fuel is sustainable to receive financial support, per the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change. 

WorkSafeBC (the enforcing and educational agency for British Columbia's Occupational Health and Safety Regulation bureau) publishes Notice of Incident (NI) reports to help prevent similar accidents in the workplace.  A recent focus has been lumber yards with relation to fumes associated with storage.  In addition, "Wood Dust in Sawmills: Compilation of Industry Best Practices" published in May 2012 emphasizes the need for risk assessment and audit for preventing and mitigating the potential for combustible dust explosions via a control program as well as the need for overall fire prevention assessments. 

Tim Cullina, Senior Consulting Engineer at Fauske & Associates, LLC adds, "It's all about the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) when it comes to risk assessment.  What does the building department say? NFPA may write a code, OSHA may have mandates, but what does your insurance company say about what you need to have? What is really going to protect your people and your facility?"

New Developments in Biomass

New processes are being developed to make Biomass more efficient. Specifically, companies in the US are working on a process called "torrefaction", a mild form of pyrolysis by which pellets are upgraded to have a higher quality energy and carbon carrier to augment coal.  According to Shahab Sokhansanj at Biomass Magazine, "Torrefaction following pelletization currently appears to be a promising strategy to obtain torrefied wood pellets which are transportable with improved durability, reduced moisture content and higher energy value."  While these new technologies are promising, they also raise new questions about how to safely process, transport, and burn fuels.

With all this focus and growth in the biomass industry, it is critical that managers are watching for risk management strategies to reduce the hazards associated with handling materials.

Risk Management is Key to New Biomass Technologies

Per Ashok Dastidar, PhD, MBA, Vice President, Dust & Flammability Testing and Consulting Services for FAI,  "Combustible particulates in other industries tend to be addressed using cookie cutter approaches, often those mandated by OSHA.  Using a generic risk based approach for biomass can be expensive and end up being a hybrid of other programs designed more for combustible dusts, for example. By taking a risk approach, you can have a custom designed risk safety engineering strategy."

The benefits of a comprehensive risk management strategy for biomass are: 

  • Understand and address hazards that pose the highest level of risk to your process facility

  • Ensure compliance with relevant national, local and industry standards

  • Implement best engineering practices

  • Reduce overall level of risk

  • Increase productivity and employee morale

  • Make organization more competitive

  • Decrease insurance premiums

A comprehensive risk management strategy can include:


•  On-Site Hazard Assessment
•  Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) - Required per NFPA 652, NFPA 654, NFPA 664 and NFPA 484
•  OSHA Combustible Dust NEP Compliance Support
•  Training
•  Policy Development and Implementation


•  Satisfy OSHA PSM Requirements
•  Facilitate, Revalidate, Re-do PHAs
•  Audit/Review PHAs
•  Process, Equipment, Management of Change (MOC)
•  Combustible Dust Operations


•  Flammability (Gas/Vapors)
•  Combustible Dust
•  Reactive Chemicals


•  Fire and Explosion Hazards
•  Vessel Overpressure Scenarios
•  Chemical Reactivity Hazards
•  Chemical Releases
•  Vapor Cloud Dispersion


•  Develop or Review Process Safety Programs
•  Support Kilo Lab, Pilot Plant, Medium Scale and Commercial Scale Plants
•  Auditing, Reporting, Documentation
•  Identify and Prioritize Safety Gaps
•  Consulting for Management of Change (MOC) Impact
•  Combustible Dust Program Development


Fauske & Associates, LLC (FAI) offers a complete range of Risk Management Services including those mentioned above.  For 34 years, FAI has been a leader in the process safety engineering needs of the nuclear, chemical and industrial industries.  Our full-service laboratory provides analysis of thermal hazards in support of our consulting services. For more information, please contact Jeff Griffin,, 630-887-5278

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