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Acid Plant Database  December 13, 2020

Owner Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Limited

Ravensdown-Logo.jpg (15986 bytes)

Location Waitangi Road
Awatoto, Hawke's Bay 4001

New Zealand

Private Bag 6012, Napier 4020

Background Formerly
- Kempthorne Prosser and Co.

Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Limited was established after a series of takeovers during 1977/78 by the amalgamation of the five fertiliser works formerly owned by Kempthorne Prosser & Co Ltd and Dominion Fertiliser Company.  Sixty per cent of its shares were held by Ravensdown Corporation Ltd, a farmer-owned co-operative whose members were farmers in the regions supplied by our three works. In 1987 Ravensdown merged with East Coast Fertiliser Co., a co-operative that owned and operated a single fertiliser works at Napier.  In July 1997, the New Plymouth operation of Farmers Fertiliser was purchased by Ravensdown.

Website www.ravensdown.co.nz
Plant Awatoto Plant
Coordinates 39° 33' 23" S, 176° 55' 18" E
Type of Plant Sulphur Burning
Gas Source Elemental Sulphur
Plant Capacity 650 MTPD
SA/DA 3/1 DA
Status Operating
Year Built 1976
Remarks 2013 - Annual report reports that $10.7 million was spent upgrading the acid plant replacing equipment including new Saramet absorbing towers and high efficiency mist eliminators
Pictures   Ravensdown-Napier-2.jpg (36008 bytes)   
General Ravensdown is the largest supplier of fertiliser in New Zealand, directly supplying more than half of all the fertiliser used in New Zealand agriculture.  We are 100% owned by New Zealand farmers, providing them with sound technical advice and a comprehensive range of key farming inputs, all at the lowest sustainable cost.  Less than a decade ago we were mainly a solid NPKS fertiliser supplier. Today we offer a comprehensive range of inputs – from soil testing through to anthelmintics, from lime through to agrochemicals – all backed by highly skilled technical specialists.  We use the ‘ground-up’ approach.  This involves working with farmers to test their soils, herbage and animals and then using the expertise of our Field Officers and technical representatives to analyse and interpret the results to provide recommendations to meet the exact needs of the farm.  It is about adding value to our farmers’ agri-businesses and helping them maximise their productivity.  The ground-up approach encompasses research, analysis, highly qualified field staff, an extensive product range, a Customer Centre which is always available to take queries and orders and a national distribution network.
References www.siteengineersltd.com  
News December 13, 2020 - Firefighters spent almost four hours battling a large sulphur fire that started after a car crashed into a Napier fertiliser plant on Sunday morning.  Emergency services were called to Ravensdown Napier Works on Waitangi Rd in Awatoto, Napier, about 2.09am on Sunday.  The fire, which required the presence of 10 fire trucks from around the region, forced the closure of State Highway 51 as a precautionary measure, until it was out.  Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell told RNZ that a car crashed through a fence at the plant and into a building and caught fire.  "We don't know how or why that has occurred," he said.  Fire and Emergency New Zealand said the car was reported on fire on the ground floor of the building and two fire trucks and a supporting unit attended and found a small sulphur fire.  But the fire quickly escalated and spread through part of the five-storey building.  An additional seven fire trucks were dispatched as a result.  The blaze was eventually brought under control by firefighters and was declared out at 5.45am on Sunday - almost four hours after the initial call.  RNZ reported that the fire may have been ignited by the crashed car's hot exhaust, but fire investigators refused to confirm this on Sunday.  In December 2016, firefighters battled a sulphur fire at Ravensdown Napier Works, with 12 fire trucks and 60 firefighters attending the blaze.  At the time, there was about 800 tons of sulphur in the building.  Campbell told RNZ there was no structural damage and the plant would open for business as usual on Monday after the "unusual" incident.  A police spokeswoman said an investigation into the circumstances is under way.

December 13, 2020
- An investigation is underway following a sulphur fire at a fertiliser plant in Napier.  Emergency services were alerted to the blaze at Ravensdown in Awatoto, just after 2am today.  Fire and Emergency NZ said when the first two crews arrived, they found a fire on the ground floor of the five-storey building.  FENZ Central Communications shift manager Mike Wanoa said at the same time, State Highway 51 had to be shut for traffic management, as smoke was impacting the visibility on the road.  Wanoa said by the time more fire crews arrived, they found that the fire was "well involved".  "It had extended to the sulphur products and to the ceiling of the building," he said.  Nine fire trucks responded to the blaze, as well as a command unit.  The fire was brought under control at around 5:40am and crews were withdrawn from the scene.  Wanoa said the police and a fire investigator are at the site this morning to determine the cause of the fire.  It is not the first time the Ravesndown plant in Napier has caught fire.  In 2016, firefighters had to battle a blaze which also involved sulphur.  Firefighters feared a possible explosion while battling the fire on 1 December 2016.  A fire broke out on a conveyor belt suspended over as much as 1000 tonnes of sulphur in a storage shed at the plant.  It took 60 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus to bring it under control.   At the time Area Commander Ken Cooper told RNZ the burning sulphur was difficult to extinguish.  "If you disturb it with water it goes into a sort of powder and dust and you can get a dust explosion," he said.  Two firefighters had to be treated at the scene after getting sulphur dioxide, a highly toxic gas, in their eyes.  The gas is produced when water comes into contact with the sulphur.  In the rural Awatoto area downwind, five houses had to be evacuated because of the toxic gases.

July 29, 2018
- Fertiliser company Ravensdown has been fined $1000 after an illegal discharge of sulphur dioxide earlier this year.  The penalty came with an infringement notice issued by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council after the discharge exceeded allowable limits in April.  A council spokesperson said the council operates an air quality monitor at Awatoto to measure concentrations of particles in ambient air in this industrial and coastal area.  The monitor could detect pollutant particles emitted from industry as well as windblown dust and sea salt.  In one hour-long period in April the sulphur dioxide averaged 620.5 micrograms, exceeding the National Environmental Standard by 50.6 mcg.  It came from the cold-starting of Ravensdown's acid plant, in which sulphur dioxide release is normal but limited by the air quality standard and resource consent conditions.  The council had taken enforcement action, issued the notice, and had since received the fine.  Another "exceedance" was recorded on June 12, when pollutant particles were 57 micrograms per cubic metre of air, just over the limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre.  But it was due to sea salt from a stormy sea and onshore wind, the statement said.  Ravensdown also operates an air quality monitor as part of its consent and provides data to the regional council.

December 1, 2016
- The sulphur fire at a Napier Fertiliser works was resolved this evening.  Hawke's Bay fire area commander Ken Cooper said the fire was contained at about 6pm but crew had stayed on site to decontaminate equipment.  There was no longer a risk to the public so the roads had been re-opened and residents were able to go back to their homes.  Fire crews dealt to the blaze this afternoon with concerns about a large amount of sulphur in the building.  Central fire service communications shift manager Mike Wanoa said they had received a call about 2.18pm from Ravensdown in Awatoto, advising them a building had caught fire.  Fire assistant area commander Nigel Hall said the "smouldering fire" was believed to have started in the conveyor belt in the second shed.  "We are unsure what caused it at this stage but the product is susceptible to spontaneous ignition at low temperatures."  Mr Hall said there was about 800 tons of sulphur in the building.  Fire crews were only able to use low pressure deliveries to put out the fire, as there was a possibility of a dust explosion due to the large amounts of sulphur.  "As we add water there is more of a chance of the sulphur going in to a dust cloud and exploding."  Mr Hall said they had to use water to extinguish the fire so they used spray rather than jets.  The fire service were on their "fifth alarm" so had 12 appliances and 60 fire crew fighting the blaze at its peak.  Mr Hall said the nature of the smoke had caused the residents living in the three roads surrounding the factory to be evacuated.  Police safety team sergeant Greg Simmons said these residents came from McLeod Rd, Waitangi Rd and Awatoto Rd.  Health officials had urged people living near Awatoto or downwind of the factory to close windows and doors and to turn off air-conditioning units.  Medical Officer of Health Nick Jones said smoke from the fire and the burning sulphur could affect people who had breathing issues like asthma or bronchitis and make their conditions worse.  Dr Jones said anyone experiencing breathing difficulties should get medical help.  State Highway Two had been closed from Waitangi Rd to Farndon Rd due to the hazardous event and to allow fire and police facilities immediate access.  Mr Simmons said police also patrolled the cycleways to stop any cyclists filtering in to the surrounding area.

November 10, 2010
- Fire trucks were called to a sulphur fire at a Napier fertiliser plant last night.  The small fire, in a shed at the Awatoto plant, burned about one square metre of sulphur, said Napier fire officer Bryan Dunphy.  Fire crews used a front-end loader to separate the sulphur to prevent the fire spreading. "There is always the potential for a big incident if things aren't dealt with quickly," Mr Dunphy said.  The fire was thought to have been started by a spark from machinery.

MTPD - Metric Tonne per Day           STPD - Short Ton per Day
MTPA - Metric Tonne per Annum      STPA - Short Ton per Annum
SA - Single Absorption
DA - Double Absorption

* Coordinates can be used to locate plant on Google Earth