Fires in wind turbines have been an expensive issue for years and are an important risk to mitigate. We sat down with Jatin Sharma, the Managing Partner of NARDAC and a leading voice in the renewable energy space, to discuss the current and future state of wind turbine insurance. Learn what wind energy insurance in 2021 will look like from Jatin’s perspective.
There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing and installing wind turbines for your wind farm. One of the packages you may have seen is the ability to add fire detection and suppression to your turbines. We will review the facts to assist you in making an informed decision about active fire suppression and help you gain an understanding if it provides a return on investment when you opt-in.
Fires can be devastating and happen when you least expect them. Generally, the earlier you can suppress a fire, the better. This is because fires grow in intensity, temperature, and size if they have the resources they need to burn- oxygen, heat, fuel, and in some cases, a chain reaction. Understanding how a fire forms can help you better protect yourself and your assets. Read on to learn more about how fires form — from the incipient stage until decay.
No wind farm owner or operator wants to deal with the headache of a wind turbine fire. However, wind turbine fires do occur and can be disastrous. In an unprotected wind turbine, you are likely to have a total loss, and when the fire occurs, you must have a plan in place for how to extinguish the fire and then replace the turbine.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a clean agent is an electrically non-conducting, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation. A clean agent fire suppression system uses either a chemical or inert gas to suppress a fire at the inception stage before it can grow and is incredibly effective in extinguishing Class A, B, and C fires.
The fire suppression agent, Halon is still in use today; however, there is no new production of Halons. While Halon is considered a clean agent by The National Fire Protection Association because it’s electrically non-conducting and does not leave a residue, Halon has an extremely high potential for ozone depletion and contributes to global warming potential. On January 1, 1994, Halon production ceases in compliance with the Montreal Protocol and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The use of Halons has been reducing over the years, but there is still demand for it for specific applications.
Clean agent fire protection systems that use chemicals like FM200 and discharge as a gas are considered to be safe in normally occupied spaces. FM200 complies with NFPA Standard 2001: Standard for Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, EPA SNAP Program (Significant New Alternative Policy), Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), and Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FMRC). FM200 is a clean and colorless agent that suppresses fires through heat absorption. It is electronically non-conductive, making it safe for sensitive equipment and leaving no residue behind minimizes the downtime after a fire incident.
The wind industry has experienced extensive growth since an initial boom in the mid-1990s. Wind power is poised to become a prominent part of the energy supply for global demand. However, as wind turbines get bigger and more expensive, fire risk is becoming a greater concern for the industry.
Not all fire suppression systems use gas to put out fires, but many do. Unlike water, powder, or foam fire suppression systems, gas suppression systems can put out fires without damaging equipment. Some gaseous fire suppression systems do not require any clean up at all after they put out a fire.
Firetrace International recently sat down with Eric Fogg from Machine Metrics, and Conor Puckett from BioChem Fluidics to understand the rapid changes they’ve seen in the safety and data overlap due to COVID-19, and how this will continue to impact the manufacturing space well into the future.
Operations and maintenance are critical elements and a significant amount of the costs associated with a wind farm. Having a well-planned maintenance program will ensure wind turbines are running efficiently and at their highest capacity. Overall general maintenance, up-tower repairs, and down-tower remanufacturing processes help to reduce the total cost of energy production and extend the life expectancy of a wind turbine.