Quick and Careful Mobilization
December 14, 2022
In May 2022, an explosion collapsed grain silos at the BioUrja Renewables Ethanol Plant in Peoria, Illinois. The next day, the owner called NDA member Alpine Demolition Services LLC to see if the company could safely remove the damaged silos.
“The large corn bin roof was blown off its base and into the adjacent four corn silos,” says Karsten D. Pawlik, vice president of operations for Alpine. “It was a twisted mess and next to existing facilities that needed to remain to get the plant back in operations as soon as possible.”
Alpine was chosen for the job due to the company’s capability to perform this type of difficult work, its work plan to perform the work, and its ability to mobilize in a few days. Alpine mobilized on May 20, one week after initially being called on the project, and demolition began on May 22.
“Alpine had the resources to jump on this project quickly,” Pawlik says.
Ahmen Amir Khalil of Applied Engineering was contacted immediately to come up with a computer generated work plan. Applied Engineering worked quickly and around the clock to come up with plans as the silo demolition progressed.
Alpine utilized these computer-generated plans to simulate the demolition of the structures. “This is the first time Alpine worked with Applied Engineering, and it was a great experience,” Pawlik says. “Due to the silos being twisted and unstable, the demolition plan was critical in the projects success.”
Although the strategy was careful and calculated, there was also an “urgency to the situation,” Pawlik says, because the fire was being fueled by corn dust and could not be distinguished after days of pouring water on it. The first silo with the fire was safely taken down the first day, and the fire was eventually able to be distinguished.
Alpine performed top down demolition with its Volvo 750 high-reach excavator with LaBounty UPX250 shear. “We have a special trailer by Doonan (developed by Walter Reeves) that makes it very easy to move the high reach,” Pawlik says.
The company also used a Volvo 480 with a LaBounty UPX450 shear for the lower parts of the structures and to process the material for load out. All structures were safely taken down by May 28.
“Work was slow as the work plan was continuously being updated as structures were coming down,” Pawlik says. “Corn product had to be removed and salvaged by others to make room for demolition. Alpine worked closely with the owner and fire department during every step.”
All in all, the demolition was performed safely, with all material able to be recycled. Alpine considers the job highly successful.
- Performed site visit and met with client, fire department and other interested parties.
- Met with the client and Applied Engineering to come up with preliminary plan.
- Met to review initial demolition plan.
- Mobilized to the site and set up equipment.
- Approval by all parties of demolition plan and release of structures for demolition.
- Met to review the demolition plan again.
- Removed first silo and extinguish fire.
- Analyzed remaining silos.
- Removed large bin lid and corn product to make room for additional silos removal.
- Removed remaining silos following demolition plan.
- Cleaned up the site.