The most common types of wind turbine failure are turbine blades, generators, and gearboxes. Regular maintenance and inspections of wind turbines create challenges due to the remote locations of wind farms and the size and height of the turbines. During regularly scheduled maintenance, it can be difficult to access the massive rotor blades and evaluate the blade materials and the complex surface areas. New technologies like the use of drones for blade inspections are being used, which aids in the inspection process. However, without proper monitoring and maintenance, it can lead to component failure.
Fire in wind turbines is the second most common type of accident reported after blade failure. While certain types of wind turbines have a higher occurrence rate of fire, all wind turbines have fire risk factors. Within the nacelle, highly flammable materials including, hydraulic oil and plastics, are located near electrical wiring and equipment. A fire can quickly start and spread if there is an ignition source like an electrical arc or a fault within the transformer.
Wind turbines stand over 300 ft tall with each blade measuring over 100 ft long with blade speeds of up to 180 mph. Fire protection for these giant structures poses a variety of unique risks. Because there is no formal reporting process of reporting and recording fire incidents in wind turbines, it’s hard to get an accurate count. However, in a 2015 report, Towering Inferno, completed by GCube, a clean energy insurance provider, cited 50 wind turbine fire incidents.
Businesses looking to safeguard critical equipment and assets from fire need to understand the basics of a fire suppression system. Automatic fire suppression systems can detect and suppress fires in as little as 10 seconds. Watch the slow-motion video of a system detecting and suppressing a fire that ignited in an electrical server rack.
When it comes to wind turbines, a commonly asked question is, why do they catch on fire? There are several reasons including lighting strikes, electrical and mechanical failures, age of turbine, and human error. While not all hazards are preventable, you can put safeguards in place to minimize the damage.
A fire suppression system’s job is to detect and suppress a fire. With a variety of fire suppression systems available, the system selected should be based on a number of factors including the application and the type of fire hazard.
Understanding your fire hazards, the type of equipment or area the system will protect, and what type of suppression agent is best suited for your application are key factors for designing and installing a fire suppression system to meet your unique needs.
Arc flashes can happen anywhere there is electrical current flowing and are the leading cause of fires in electrical panels. While not all electrical arc faults can be prevented, electrical panels can be protected from fire with automatic fire suppression to minimize damage and downtime.
With fires occurring in structures every 63 seconds in the U.S., it is important to understand your fire risks. For businesses with a higher risk of fire, it is crucial to determine the best fire suppression system to minimize risk, protect critical equipment, and keep employees safe.
As we celebrate Earth Day, you may be wondering about the environmental and health impacts of the various chemical suppression agents used in automatic fire suppression systems. Clean agents provide a range of benefits while protecting your critical assets.