Port of Tarragona - Wood Chips

Port of Tarragona Removes Over 12,000 Tons of Wood Chips as Safety Precaution

Dec. 2, 2020 - The Port of Tarragona, together with a stevedoring company, has completed the removal of the 12,626 tons of wood chips located in the docks of Navarre and Aragon of the Tarragona port area.

Since October 21, about 600 tons per day of wood chips (biomass) have been hauled away by truck. The aim of the Port of Tarragona has been to speed up work to remove the chip to its destination and final function to prevent any future incidents of self-combustion.

The operation has served to remove material that went into self-combustion on September 25, fueled by strong gusts of wind present in those days. At the time of the incident the biomass batteries located at the Aragon dock were waiting to be loaded onto a ship.

In addition, the Port of Tarragona intends to pass along the removal costs to the owners of the biomass material.

The Port of Tarragona has also tightened the conditions for admitting wood chips to prevent new incidents arising from the deterioration of stowage. At this time, it is essential that any wood chip storage is assigned a confirmed ship departure date that, in addition, does not exceed the estimated period of biomass deterioration that could generate self-combustion episodes.

Since last November 2019, the Port of Tarragona has had an authorized occupation of wood chips distributed at the pier of Navarra with 6,700 tons and at the pier of Aragon with 5,926 tons.

After an extended period of outdoor storage, wood chips can undergo self-combustion processes. Inside the chips are a series of physical, chemical and biological processes that lead to an increase in temperature and variations in moisture content, causing a chimney effect, with air circulation from the sides towards the top of the stack.

In the event of this eventuality, the Port of Tarragona ensures that preventive measures are taken to cool the goods in order to avoid risks, such as: reduction of the height of the wood chip piles to 1.5 meters, separation of wood chips into several smaller piles, and expanding the area where the chips are stock piled. In addition, the wood chips will be actively and continuously removed in order to cool and stabilize the temperature.

Source: Port of Tarragona