Biogas – 7. Safety: Approval and Regulation

Jens J. Haugaard

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Biogas - ATEX

Biogas – 7. Safety: Approval and Regulation

Denmark In Danish

Safety is the alpha and omega of any biogas plant. Danish Technological Institute helps Danish and foreign biogas plants with standardized controls and advice on safety.

Biogas plants are subject to the ATEX directives

All places where a hazardous explosive atmosphere can occur during operation are subject to the ATEX directives. The term ATEX comes from the French ATmosphère EXplosible. The directives are often referred to as the Equipment Directive (Directive 2014/34/EU) and the User Directive (Directive 1999/92/EC).

The Equipment Directive deals with equipment and protective systems for explosive atmospheres and the certification of this equipment.

The user directive deals with work in explosive atmospheres, including the preparation of the legally required ATEX-APV (also known as U-APV and explosion protection document).

Biogas, indgang til ATEX-zone   ATEX-symboler 400px

Door marking entrance to ATEX zone - and examples of ATEX symbols

Responsibilities of biogas plants

The purpose of a biogas plant is to convert biological material such as animal manure into a combustible gas - methane. Methane is explosive in the right mixture with atmospheric oxygen. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the employer or plant owner to ensure that work can be carried out safely. This responsibility includes:

  1. The areas (zones) where the explosive atmosphere may occur during operation are identified and defined.
  2. The equipment to be installed in the zones must be suitable for the explosive gas atmosphere in question.
  3. Develop a plan for inspection of plant and equipment in ATEX zones.
  4. Personnel working in ATEX zones must be properly trained, including knowledge of maintenance.
  5. Initial inspection. No installation with ATEX zones may be put into operation until the initial inspection has been carried out. The inspection must be performed by persons with in-depth knowledge of zone classification, selection of equipment for ATEX zones and execution of installations in ATEX zones. The person performing the inspection must not have participated in the project to build the installation.

How can Danish Technological Institute help?

Danish Technological Institute can help with equipment selection, zone classification, ATEX laws and regulations, staff training and the initial inspection.

You can read more about our many ATEX services on this page.

If you have questions about ATEX and safety at your biogas plant, please contact us.