The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2020. The main goal of the AIM Act is to phasedown the usage of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in various industries to combat the environmental impacts of HFCs and pave the way for new innovations. Since there is so much discussed in this new law, we have compiled a brief AIM act summary to give you a better understanding of why the AIM Act was created, what is included in the AIM Act, and how these new regulations affect the fire suppression industry.
Wind turbines have seen a steady increase in size since the early 2000s, with both the height of the tower and the length of the blades growing to generate more energy. Wind turbines are typically measured by their “hub height,” which refers to the distance from the ground to the middle of the turbine’s rotor. The average hub height for utility-scale, land-based turbines increased by 59% between 1998 and 2020 – bringing it to 90 meters (295 feet), roughly the same size as the Statue of Liberty. The hub height of offshore turbines is projected to increase even further. In 2016, they had an average hub height of 100 meters (330 feet) and are set to increase to 150 meters (500 feet) by 2035.
Thoroughly evaluating fire risk through a comprehensive assessment of a wind project is one thing, but using it effectively is another. Once a fire risk assessment (FRA) has been conducted, it’s important to consider how to share the assessment with the range of stakeholders that are certain to benefit from being aware of its contents. In our latest report, ‘How to Evaluate Fire Risk,’ we identify eight stakeholder groups with whom you should share your FRA to effectively reduce the risk of fire.
While most turning, grinding, and milling machines are designed for safety, they are not failproof. CNC machine fires cause significant loss to life, limb, and property every year. These fires could result from excessive heat, tool failure, programming mistakes, a drop in oil level, and any other anomaly. When left unchecked, such fires can spread quickly and envelope other equipment or even the entire facility. In contrast, the timely detection of fires and suppressing them right at the start can protect the equipment, building, and lives.
Wind turbine fires don’t just burn infrastructure; they burn time and money. Incidents can result in several hours of downtime across the entire wind farm and put the affected turbine out of commission for over a year. In addition to missed-out megawatts, the resulting cost can shoot beyond $9 million as turbines increase in size and complexity. The process of repairs is lengthy, expensive, likely dangerous, and ultimately avoidable. Fire suppression systems, which act at the first sign of fire, stifle the flames before they can cause real harm to equipment, reputations, lives, and the bottom line.
Wind turbine fires can be catastrophic. Not only the asset itself but also to the individuals and the surrounding environment. For wind farm owners seeking to safeguard their assets from fire risk, undertaking an in-depth fire risk assessment (FRA) is vital. Our latest report, ‘How to Evaluate Fire Risk at Wind Farms,’ highlights the importance of FRA’s and advises the best methods for conducting them.
By 2030, 205GW of new offshore wind capacity is expected to be added globally, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Though this growth is essential for the energy transition, it presents new and heightened challenges to the industry. From getting the energy to shore, the sea-bound commute for operations and maintenance (O&M) teams, or preventing and rapidly responding to a turbine fire in order to reduce the financial, environmental, and reputational impacts, the offshore wind industry has a new set of challenges that it must rise to.
When a fire ignites in a wind turbine, extinguishing it without having a fire suppression system installed is immensely challenging. Typically installed in remote and inaccessible locations, with turbines often more than 100m above the ground, getting fire trucks and crews to a position where they can douse flames is unlikely. If a crew could get into position and have the equipment to battle the fire, the multi-million-pound machine is likely to be a smoldering wreck. The ground crew will only be able to provide containment of the fire. This means that installing fire suppressions systems is all that more important.
Among the types of electrical fires, electrical panel fires can be some of the most concerning and damaging. The National Fire Protection Association reports that fires involving electrical malfunctions or failures contribute to the most deaths and property damage each year, especially from November to February, when the weather becomes colder. Electrical panels and their associated circuit breakers become a fire hazard when they aren’t well-maintained, when they aren’t installed correctly, or when they just plain wear out. As the center of the building’s electrical system, the more an electrical panel is damaged by a fire, the greater the downtime, need for repair and risk to people who are on the premises.
Fires in both on and offshore wind turbines can have a devastating impact on developers, investors, and all advocates for clean energy. Whether it’s the reputational damage caused by a visible and photographable incident or the immediate environmental risks like the potential spread of wildfires, it’s clear that the sector must take fire risk seriously.
As the global economy grows each year and becomes more interconnected, container yards must undertake the growing demand of moving containers and loading and unloading ships. Approximately 80 percent of goods are transported by sea with an estimated fleet of 56K merchant container ships. This puts extreme wear and demand on container handling equipment.
A container yard is a busy place. In August of 2021, the Port Authority of Los Angeles released numbers showing that over 900,000 containers were handled in that month alone, bringing the yearly tally to just over 6 million containers. Container handlers, such as cranes and reach stackers, are critical to meeting these types of productivity demands for ports everywhere. However, unpredictable equipment fires happen frequently, significantly impacting productivity.