Faulty piston caused explosion at Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant

Hydrogen explosion at Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant in Charleston, Tennessee
The hydrogen explosion at Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant in Charleston was caused by a faulty piston – Image: @Dchap22 on Twitter

The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) has released its findings on the hydrogen explosion that occurred at Wacker’s U.S. polysilicon plant on September 7, 2017.

According to the TOSHA report, the 20-inch head piston of a hydrogen compressor had been replaced with a 24-inch piston in a revamp. “The new piston failed during operation resulting in the head of the compressor being blown off and a deflagration of the escaping hydrogen resulted in extensive damage to the building.”

Wacker has commented: “To restart the plant, we will be returning to our original compressor design that has operated safely for decades at Wacker sites and many other global companies.”

TOSHA charges the company with $25,400 in fines for seven violations of rules and another $20,000 for two more violations.

Wacker is planning to restart the plant this spring.

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