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Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Plant Tests Pollution Abatement System

A Control Room operator monitors the initial light-off process of the first Thermal Oxidizer (TOX) unit, part of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant’s pollution abatement system. Credit: BPBG

Technicians at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) last week began the light-off process for part of the pollution abatement system.

The BGCAPP is a state-of-the-art facility that will safely destroy the chemical weapons stockpile currently in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Kentucky.

Two Thermal Oxidizers (TOX) will thermally cleanse the gases leaving the Metal Parts Treaters. They will operate from 1,100 to greater than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the area within each unit, said Dave Lee, start-up supervisor, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG).

“The TOX system is a major part of the process that cleans plant emissions before they are released to the atmosphere,” said Steve Ramsey, environmental engineer, BPBG. “Our number one focus is the safety of our workers, the community and the environment, so the air that goes out of the stacks has to be clean.”

The system must be thoroughly tested before the units can be put into operation, Lee said.

“Our light-off process is akin to someone trying to start their barbecue grill or gas fireplace for the first time in a season,” said Lee. “It might take several tries to get the gas to the burner and get everything properly set before it lights. And we run a 15-minute purge cycle after each attempt, so it’s not a very fast process.”

The workers are testing the repeatability of the light-off process with this activity, said Lee. Each TOX will need to demonstrate it can reliably start and stop its light-off before the next activity, the curing of the liner brick within each unit, can begin. Once the cure is complete, the TOX units can be tested at their full operating temperatures to get them ready to perform their essential jobs.

Source: BGCAPP, edited for context and format by CBRNE Central.

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