Power sources that can be turned into electricity are everywhere. Gasoline and diesel fuels are perhaps some of the most famous of these power sources, and they contain extremely energy-dense hydrocarbons that can be harmful for a variety of reasons if not handled carefully. Even if you deal in more eco-friendly fuel sources like biodiesel, you will quickly find out that you need to take a lot of precautions to stay safe.
If you are looking for more ways to stay safe in the small-scale biodiesel market, here are some steps you can take to preserve your health.
What to Wear
Dangerous fumes and splatters can cause more damage than you would expect. You will be far better off if you do your best to keep as much of the biodiesel off of you as possible; getting it on your clothing makes them far more flammable, getting biodiesel in your eyes can cause serious irritation or damage, and if there is a spill it will be a hassle to clean up.
If your job involves handling the fuel directly, making sure you are properly outfitted to handle interaction with biodiesel is important so you do not create an excessively hazardous environment for yourself and your coworkers.
Full-body coverings that can keep you isolated from toxic chemicals is a must, and uvex safety glasses can provide protection for your eyes without exposing them. Uvex safety glasses also have a few different models to choose from, depending on your needs; a standard framed lens may be helpful under many circumstances, but if you are physically handling dangerous chemicals you may need to buy glasses that form a seal around your eyes instead. These safety glasses are chemical, fog, and scratch resistant making them relatively durable as well.
Just because biodiesel isn’t being actively burned for energy doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Indeed, accidental fires are a very real problem that you will need to prevent if you are storing or transporting any kind of flammable, volatile substance and it should be your first concern when storing your chemicals.
You also need to prevent the degradation of your biodiesel, too, and you should be careful to not store it in containers made of containers made of materials like brass, bronze, or zinc, amongst others. You should also take into consideration the composition of your biodiesel and the temperatures at which it can effectively be stored since some kinds of biodiesel turn into a gel at a higher temperature than others. Condensation is also an issue, since water can also lower the quality of your fuel.
Knowing what is biodiesel and what isn’t can help you to some degree when it comes to getting reasonably sourced fuel, but you may have to take extra precautions depending on the blend of your fuel of choice; biodiesel has a tendency to degrade hardware like hoses and seals if they aren’t made of the right kind of material, so regular inspection and replacement of your equipment is a must if it sustains heavy wear over the course of its operation.
If a spill does occur, you must be careful to not inadvertently increase the risk of a fire while cleaning up by using wood shavings or similar fibrous substances and allowing them to accumulate. Instead, use rags and store them submerged in water or in an airtight container until you can properly deal with them later.
As an additional safety precaution, extension cords should not be used in the vicinity of your operations and all electrical equipment should be rated as explosion-proof and installed by individuals who are both qualified to do so and are familiar with the local regulations surrounding that equipment.
Biodiesel can cause some problems, and you need to be ready to handle them for your own safety; small-scale biodiesel production is an admirable trade, but a dangerous one if not done properly. Still, if you stay on top of these safety precautions you will find that you have a renewable energy source that can power the future.