Sedgwick, Kan., plant destroyed by fire plans to rebuild

An update on the Green Energy Products plant destroyed by fire in Kansas, and how you think the industry can improve its safety record
By Ron Kotrba | August 14, 2013

While the biodiesel industry has come a long way in its fight to improve fuel quality over the years (check out the upcoming September/October issue of Biodiesel Magazine for more on fuel quality), perhaps another industry weakness that needs greater attention is plant safety.

A few months ago a fire that was thought to begin with biodiesel-soaked filter media damaged the acclaimed Piedmont Biofuels facility in Pittsboro, N.C.

Most recently, a couple of weeks ago in Sedgwick, Kan., the 2 MMgy Green Energy Products commercial biodiesel plant and testing facility, owned by WB Services LLC, was destroyed by fire.

“The fire occurred in the building that housed part of the Green Energy Products plant,” Bernie Hoffman of WB Services tells me. “The cause is undetermined at this time but is known to be accidental. The plant was not running at the time of the fire. Thankfully there were no injuries.”

Some of the components of the plant were from Healy Biodiesel and were acquired during the construction phase last year. WB Services has been involved in several process technology developments such as enzymatic biodiesel and renewable diesel production.

Hoffman says while the fire destroyed the plant, plans to rebuild are “very much underway.”  

Readers of Biodiesel Magazine's FAME Forum blog are some of the most knowledgeable biodiesel industry stakeholders out there. I'd like to hear how you think the biodiesel industry can improve plant safety. Please post your comments and ideas below.