Wind turbines manufactured today incorporate the highest quality and safety standards, but the potential for a fire always exists when electronics, flammable oils and hydraulic fluids exist in the same enclosure. Electrical fires can also result from both shorts in equipment and surges due to lightning strikes. Additionally, secondary wind driven brush fires originating from wind turbine fires can result in significant additional damage.
Given the remote nature of the Turbines (mounted over 100 feet in the air or offshore), little can be done from a traditional fire-fighting perspective. If these multi-million-dollar units are to be saved, a Fire-Suppression System must be installed in the Nacelle.
Traditional flooding suppression systems face several issues. First, most turbines have multiple openings to allow air circulation for cooling inside the nacelle.
In addition, the opening from the nacelle to the support tower is typically an open space. Both of these openings present a significant challenge to achieving the "designated agent concentration".
Subsequently, when a system is designed to overcome these challenges, it would typically add hundreds of pounds to the nacelle.
A second challenge in the nacelle relates to fire detection. Reliable detection for these systems is critical, especially when operations personnel may be housed miles away.
Dirt, dust and temperature extremes all can wreak havoc with traditional detection systems, causing false alarms, false suppressions, and potentially disabling the system. Vibrations resulting from the operation of the unit also can affect traditional systems. These vibrations can loosen connections, rendering the system useless.
Protecting wind turbines with a Firetrace system, is a very natural fit. Firetrace systems require no electricity or external power and activate automatically without the need for manual activation or monitoring.
Firetrace systems utilize the proprietary red Firetrace Detection Tubing (FDT) to detect the fire and activate the system to suppress the fire, making them complete, self-contained, pneumatic, fire protection that requires virtually no maintenance.
Instead of attempting to protect the nacelle as a whole, Firetrace systems protect the most critical areas of this application, which are most prone to fire with smaller individual systems. These areas will vary by model and manufacturer, but typically the following areas should be considered:
Firetrace systems can be mounted unobtrusively so that maintenance activities in the turbines tight spaces are not affected.
For years, these systems have been operated unprotected due to the lack of a reliable solution.
Firetrace can now offer cost-effective systems to protect one turbine, or an entire farm.