Although diesel engines use electronics, the ignition system operates through compression to ignite the fuel. Consequently, simply turning off the key does not necessarily kill the engine. If a diesel engine has an uncontrolled external fuel source, it could accelerate to very high RPM and potentially explode. This condition is called diesel engine “overspeed” or is termed a “runaway” diesel engine. The most common occurrences of overspeed or runaway are environments where invisible external hydrocarbons are present in the atmosphere and are sucked into the intake manifolds of operating diesel engines.

The BP Texas City Refinery explosion in 2005 killed 15 people and injured over 180. The explosion was caused by an idling diesel pickup that ingested flammable gases thus leading to “overspeed”, which then ignited the gas cloud and subsequently the entire plant.

CSB Safety Video: Anatomy of a Disaster

Anatomy of a Disaster tells the story of one of the worst industrial accidents in recent U.S. history--the March 23, 2005, explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, which killed 15 workers, injured 180 others, and caused billions of dollars in economic losses. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency, investigated the accident. The CSB produced this video in March 2008 based on its comprehensive 341-page public report issued in 2007.

Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) Detail Report of BP America Refinery Explosion

Canadian Regulations

Search the ERCB Directive 37, Section 230 to learn about Canadian Law for Air Shut Off Valves.

ERCB Directive 37

ESD Valves in Action

ESD Valves has the smoothest actuator in the industry. This small Manual Control valve works great on little diesel engines that need protection from external hydrocarbons.

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