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Koda Energy reopens plant damaged by fire after $7 million redesign

Koda Energy announced last week that the facility is open again after changes it said enhance safety, increase reliability, and reduce emissions. The plant is one of the only heat and power plants in the USA to burn this specific blend of natural materials, it  burns a blend of agricultural and plant seed byproducts, such as wood chips, oat hulls, malt byproducts, sawdust, and ground-up wood pallets.

Koda suspended operations on April 25 last year when a fire started in two of the facility’s silos that contained wood chips and oat hulls..

Koda officials said the cause of the fire was determined to most likely be an ember from a piece of equipment igniting a dust particle or wood chip, which ignited material in two of Koda Energy’s silos. The suspected cause helped in the planning process for the facility’s new design and operations.

Koda Energy has now a new horizontal system inside a two-story unloading and storage building connected to the existing fuel processing facility.  This lower-profile design brings in many benefits, including:
Improved safety, Reduced particulate emissions by 20%, Increased reliability, More efficient fuel unloading. It also includes infrared detectors that would help identify a potential ignition source before it could spread through the system.
Previously, Koda Energy had a vertical silo system.

Koda Energy is a partnership between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Rahr Corp. in Shakopee. It produces biomass energy for Xcel Energy as well as Rahr Malting, which uses the residual heat from electricity generation in its malting process. Koda opened in May 2009 as one of the first facilities of its kind in the United States. Koda Energy employs 18 people, and all of worked full-time in the plant rebuilding, the company said.

“Koda Energy is excited to get back to the business of generating environmentally friendly energy from local biomass sources,” said Stacy Cook, vice president and general manager of the company.