The biomass energy facility in Shakopee that closed last April after an explosion and fire is back online, with $7 million worth of improvements that will make it safer, company officials say.

Material in two Koda Energy silos caught fire, most likely because an ember from a piece of equipment ignited a dust particle or wood chip, the firm said.

The plant, on the western edge of the suburb’s downtown, generates energy by burning farming and plant byproducts such as wood chips, oat hulls and sawdust. It employs 18.

The type of fire that broke out “could not occur now,” the company said in a statement.

A redesigned layout does not include silos or “explosive concentrations of airborne dust” and equipment detects ignition sources sooner.

The new layout also cuts down on idling trucks outside.

David Peterson