When fires ignite in wind turbines, speed is of the essence for suppressing the flames. We’ve noted in a previous blog about how long it takes for a wind turbine fire to cause irreparable damage and concluded then that the straightforward answer is that it doesn’t take long at all. It’s a matter of minutes before a faulty electrical component or overheated gearbox ignites a fire that leads to total destruction.
Whether they break out in a commercial setting, electrical fires pose unique challenges when it comes to extinguishing them. A common approach would be to cut off the power supply first and then simply use an ABC fire extinguisher—the “universal” type extinguisher you may see around your workplace or your home.
The most common method of fire suppression is water. In part this is because many fire protection systems in buildings may have been installed before more advanced fire suppression systems were available. Traditional wet pipe water sprinkler systems keep a constant supply of pressurized water in the pipes, which is released by individual sprinklers as they are activated.
Fire suppression systems can be a necessary investment, both big and small. It’s natural that you want to get your money’s worth. When choosing a system or systems for your organization, it’s important to take into account the type of fire suppressant that is suitable for the application rather than choosing just based on the lifespan of the solution.
Whether it occurs in the workplace, home, or elsewhere, it is difficult to overstate the unique and serious dangers fire poses to people, assets, equipment, and physical structures. A burning fire is a fascinating chemical chain reaction, and extinguishing a fire is a matter of disrupting that chain reaction. The better you understand how a fire starts—including the basic science of what components are required for it to ignite and burn—you’ll be better prepared when you need to extinguish a fire.
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.
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.
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.
As a business owner, having a reliable fire suppression system in place is one of the best ways to protect every part of your company, including your equipment, inventory, and employees. When it comes to class A, B, and C fires, clean agent fire suppression systems can be highly effective at eliminating a fire in its inception phase before it has the chance to grow, spread, and cause damage.
A clean agent fire suppression system is designed to minimize damage by acting quickly, suppressing a fire at the inception stage before it can grow. These systems are unique in that they are safe to use in occupied spaces, require no cleanup after discharge, don’t damage sensitive documents or equipment, and are environmentally friendly.
When choosing your fire suppression system, one important thing to keep in mind is the aftermath of a discharge. While stopping the fire quickly is important, you also want to consider the impact of the fire suppression system you choose. After all, cleanup from a fire suppression event can be a long and arduous task if you choose a system that isn’t suited to your environment.