Fertilizer Plant Explosion After Lying to the EPA
Following the massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co plant in Texas, killing up to 15 people and injuring over 160 Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency discovers that the company had lied about the presence of such risks.
In an emergency planning report to the EPA and local authorities, the company wrote that there was “no” risk of fire or explosion, indicating that the 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on hand but nothing dangerous enough to cause a devastating incident.
In 2006, the company also failed to get or qualify for a permit, according to the Associated Press. Complaints of the smell of ammonia also led to investigations under the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the same year when the company failed to provide an adequate risk management plan to the EPA.
Seeing that the $10 billion industry continues to grow, the risk factors involved, though uncommon, will become of increasing importance. Because a lot of fertilizer is made with natural gas, the fertilizer market will especially be growing in the US, where fracking activity is seeing a boom period.
At this point, it appears the Texas plant explosion was not the result of criminal activity, but “we're not ruling that out,” Seargeant W. Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police said in a press conference Thursday morning.
Hydrostor receives $4m funding for A-CAES facility in Canada
Hydrostor has received $4m funding to develop a 300-500MW Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) facility in Canada.
The funding will be used to complete essential engineering and planning, and enable Hydrostor to plan construction.
The project will be modeled on Hydrostor’s commercially operating Goderich storage facility, providing up to 12 hours of energy storage.
Hydrostor’s A-CAES system supports Canada’s green economic transition by designing, building, and operating emissions-free energy storage facilities, and employing people, suppliers, and technologies from the oil and gas sector.
The Honorable Seamus O’Regan, Jr. Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Investing in clean technology will lower emissions and increase our competitiveness. This is how we get to net zero by 2050.”
A-CAES has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions by enabling the transition to a cleaner and more flexible electricity grid. Specifically, the low-impact and cost-effective technology will reduce the use of fossil fuels and will provide reliable and bankable energy storage solutions for utilities and regulators, while integrating renewable energy for sustainable growth.
Curtis VanWalleghem, Hydrostor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are grateful for the federal government’s support of our long duration energy storage solution that is critical to enabling the clean energy transition. This made-in-Canada solution, with the support of NRCan and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, is ready to be widely deployed within Canada and globally to lower electricity rates and decarbonize the electricity sector."
The Rosamond A-CAES 500MW Project is under advanced development and targeting a 2024 launch. It is designed to turn California’s growing solar and wind resources into on-demand peak capacity while allowing for closure of fossil fuel generating stations.
Hydrostor closed US$37 million (C$49 million) in growth financing in September 2019.