Jennifer Morningstar, PE, CFEI, is a licensed professional engineer in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Iowa and West Virginia, and an NCEES Model Law Engineer. Ms. Morningstar is a member of the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Background Experience - Ms. Morningstar has 19 years of industrial experience. She spent 16 years working at a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) manufacturer gaining familiarity with all the unit operations. Her experience includes distributed control systems (DCS) and programmable logic controllers (PLC). She is an OSHA-trained Process Hazard Analysis study leader and completed Root Cause Failure Analysis training to become an Incident Investigator. Ms. Morningstar authored Lockout / Tagout Procedures and Confined Space Entry Procedures. She also managed capital expansion projects in excess of $1M and then spent 3 years as an energy management consultant in a variety of industries including mineral extraction, pulp & paper, animal harvesting & packaging (including rendering) and grain milling. Ms. Morningstar worked with both natural gas and coal-fired boilers producing saturated steam and super-heated steam for cogeneration. Other processes in her expertise include air compressors, cooling towers, chillers, multi-stage ammonia-based refrigeration systems, waste water treatment and biogas production.
Areas of Expertise:
- Chemical Release and Exposure
- Environmental Regulatory Compliance
- OSHA Process Safety Management
- Industrial Accident Investigation
- Fires and Explosions
- Confined Space Entry
- Lockout / Tagout
- Scope of Damage / Cost to Repair
According to the OSHA regulations, a confined space is anyplace that meets the following criteria: (1) Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work; and (2) Has limited or restricted means for entry or exit; and (3) Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.
On December 3, 1984, at a pesticide ingredient manufacturing facility owned by Union Carbide, a leak occurred in the Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) plant. Due to the toxic nature of the gases released and the plant's proximity to local residences, the death toll was in the thousands; both plant workers and nearby residents. The first recorded public meeting in response to this incident was on December 9th, in Institute, WV, the site of Union Carbide's only US MIC production unit. Full disclosure: my father was a research & development chemist for Union Carbide and Institute is about 10 miles down the Kanawha River from my hometown of Charleston, WV.
When thinking about the safe operation of boilers (and don't we all?), several systems can readily be named; flame control, fuel/air ratio; steam pressure control, levels in the vessel, etc. What about the water? It seems so passive, as long as there is enough for level control, what's the big deal? Well, it turns out, that as the steam produced by a boiler is used in the process, the condensate from that steam is returned to the boiler as feedwater. However, since 100% of the condensate is not returned, whatever solids had been in that water before it evaporated to form steam are left in the remaining water. Fresh feedwater is added to maintain levels, but even fresh water contains some dissolved solids. So over time, the water in the boiler system gets saturated with all sorts of dissolved minerals.