Medupi Hydrogen Explosion Update: Extensive Damage to 800MW Generator

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  • Unit 4 of Medupi Power Station experienced an explosion on the generator at approximately 22h50 last night.
  • This explosion has resulted in extensive damage to the generator.
  • The 4764MW Medupi coal fired power plant only recently achieved full commercial operation status. Read more

The incident occurred during the activity to displace hydrogen with carbon dioxide and air respectively, for the purposes of finding an external leak. Fortunately no injuries were sustained by personnel who were on site during the unfortunate incidents.

The inside of the Unit 4 generator at Medupi power station is completely destroyed. Image credit: Chris Yelland – Twitter

Following the power station preliminary investigation, it appears that while performing this activity air was introduced into the generator at a point where hydrogen was still present in the generator at sufficient quantities to create an explosive mixture, which ignited and resulted in the explosion. It also appears that there was a deviation from the procedure for carrying out this activity.

Related news: Medupi Hydrogen Explosion – Video of Aftermath

As such Eskom has undertaken to place those employees who were responsible to manage and execute this work under precautionary suspension pending the conclusion of the Major Event Investigation.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


1 Comment

  1. So sad to read and look at the pictures of the H2 explosion. My name is Derek Wynn commissioning engineer at Medupi involved in the Air-cooled condenser commissioning along with pre-commissioning C02, H2 Hydrogen plant along with Generator seal oil system & H2 plant cold commissioning. Eskom will be looking for experienced re-commissioning engineers for the re-build of Unit 4. I would like to offer my experience if this is of some help for Eskom. Reference Sarita Henning, and Peter Pretorius fellow engineers in cold & hot commissioning. I did Unit 4.commissioning prior to leaving the site. I offer my services in the further investigation as an independant engineer with an independent report. I simply cannot believe Eskom’s well-trained operator/ Engineer introduced air into the generator frame with H2 gas still present. I have a lot more thoughts about this ! this explosion and would like further discussion you. Thank you for your time

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