Interest in biofuels sank, and that was a particular drag for one Seattle start-up called Imperium Renewables, which built a gigantic biofuels production plant in Grays Harbor County. Earlier this year, the company laid off most of its staff at the plant--which now turns out to be a good thing, because yesterday there was a massive explosion there.
A pressurized tank containing glycerin blew up, sending chunks of the tank at least a hundred feet away and crashing through a chain link fence, according to a report on the Grays Harbor news site. Nearby businesses were evacuated after sulfuric acid came leaking out of the plant. No one was hurt, and needless to say, there is absolutely no cause for alarm.
The company explains:
As a result of the rupture, heated glycerin in the tank mixed with the cold air, creating a large vapor plume. The glycerin, a co-product of biodiesel production which is a dark, liquid non-toxic substance that resembles molasses, was spread across the incident area, giving the appearance of charred material.
So what might have seemed like a fiery catastrophe was really more like a big, slathery Aunt Jemima party.
Meanwhile, a few miles east at the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant, seen below, all was quiet (possibly because the plant has never actually been in use).