Steam turbine generators are extensively made use of throughout the world as a common resource of energy production for utilities and populations.
Fires in steam turbines are not constant, yet when they happen they could be unsafe for responders to deal with, difficult for power plant operators to manage, and also pricey for the utility and the public they serve.
Therefore steam turbine fire protection is paramount.
Water mist systems have the firefighting capacity to make managing a steam turbine fire much less complex. This article presents the idea of turbine fire security utilising high-pressure water mist as well as exactly how these systems could integrate with a power plant’s procedure.
What Do Steam Turbines Do and How Can They Ignite?
A standard steam turbine operates using superheated steam to spin a rotor shaft. The power given to the shaft could be used for various work outputs like running big compressors and pumps. The most common usage is electrical power generation– producing electricity by affixing a generator to the end of the steam turbine shaft.
Steam turbines vary in size from 5 kilowatts to over 1500 megawatts. These are huge, hefty machines rotating at 3,600 RPM for 60 Hz power production and also 3,000 RPM for 50 Hz.
There are a number of subsystems supporting turbine operation, however the lubrication (lube) oil system is the main fire problem.
Lube oils have temperature flash factors varying from 190 °C to 260 °C. The flash point of lube oil is high enough that in numerous applications it would certainly not be simple to ignite from one spark.
Yet since how the lube oil is made use of for steam turbines, the fires that do occur are very difficult to control and also tough to extinguish out.
Lube oil is made use of to lubricate bearings along the high-speed turbine shaft. Pumped via steel pipelines from a storage tank and also pump skid in a recirculating system, lube oil systems can contain up to thousands of litres of oil.
If, for any reason, lube oil flow is reduced or cut off completely, the high speed-spinning shaft will cause the inner bearing race to make metal-to-metal contact with the shaft surface areas.
Bearing failure or shaft damage could cause catastrophic damage to the steam turbine, so the flow of high quality lube oil must be provided to the steam turbine shaft at all times it is operation.
The presence of lube oil presents a fire hazard though. If a pipe breaks, a seal fails, or any other type of lube oil system failure is experienced, the pressurised oil can saturate the insulation material and start a smouldering fire or sometimes also spray into the hot surfaces, firing up and causing a liquid spray fire.
Oil leaks will trigger pool fires by collecting on flat surface areas, or cause vertical surface fires by moving down structures sustained within the turbine.
Not all fires happen at the turbine– fires could additionally come from the lube oil skid. Lube oil skids consist of the lube oil bulk holding tank, system pumps with seals, oil filters, and also an oil colder.
Many turbines have secondary oil systems utilised to operate control valves on the turbine, which have the exact same fire hazards.
How To Mitigate Fire Using Water Mist Systems
Water mist systems are also utilised in power generation applications for combustion type turbines and also diesel generators.
These machines experience comparable fires to steam generators. Water mist styles for combustion type turbines and also generators are usually overall water flooding systems fit to the dimension of those machines.
Steam turbines provide a very large difference in difficulty for installations of water mist systems; they are set up in huge areas with high ceilings, frequently going beyond the listings of a lot of complete flooding water mist systems.
For steam turbines fire protection, closed loop local applications of water mist system layouts are the only available option.
3 firefighting systems of water mist have actually been developed:
1. Ultra-rapid evaporative
2. Local oxygen variation, and
3. Induction heat barring of the fire to un-burnt gases.
A Recent Steam Turbine Fire
As reported by the East Bay Times on 30th January, 2017 a steam turbine at the Delta Energy Centre in Pittsburg CA was shut down following an explosion and resulting fire from the leaking lube oil.
– PITTSBURG – The Delta Energy Centre power plant was shut down on Sunday after an explosion and fire destroyed the steam turbine generator.
At 3:43 p.m., calls came in to the Contra Costa Fire District line of a fire involving the hydrogen cooling system of the steam turbine at the Delta Energy Centre power plant at 1200 Arcy Lane in Pittsburg.
Firefighters arrived on scene to find a lubrication oil fire that was slowly starting to dwindle after power plant staff purged the hydrogen and carbon dioxide from the system, which starved the fire of flammable gas. The fire took approximately two hours to fight and no injuries were reported.
“One end of the generator was destroyed in the fire, mostly because of the initial explosion of the hydrogen gas,” fire marshal Robert Marshall said. “There was concern about the gear lubrication oil going into a storm drain near there, but we were able to boom that and no oil made it down to the river.”
The Delta Energy Centre is an 880-megawatt, natural gas-fired, “combined-cycle” plant, which uses both gas and steam to generate electricity.
The plant uses three gas turbines to generate electricity and each are equipped with a heat recovery system that delivers steam to an additional steam turbine, which generates 70 percent more electricity, on average.
Calpine has said that the damage was isolated to the steam turbine’s generator and that the rest of the plant, as well as the neighbouring communities, was not directly impacted.
Calpine is still assessing the accident and was not able to comment on the cause of the explosion nor the extent of the damage.
No reports of any water mist fire protection systems were present, however as reported the cost of reduced power generation and damage would moat likely be severe and possibly reduced had an adequate water mist system be installed.
High pressure water mist systems have the essential firefighting efficiency & qualities. As more designers, engineers as well as plant operators familiarise the abilities of water mist systems, a greater number of these installations will take place.
Novec 1230 Fire Suppression System Design For High Value Assets
Fire suppression systems can be designed for many different industries and applications, however there are some types of applications that require a specialised fire suppressant, where the typical water type is not applicable.
And so instead, a clean agent system, custom engineered to quickly suppress fires and protect sensitive equipment without harming people or the environment is made available called Novec 1230.
The Novec 1230 fire suppression system design allows highly sensitive or operational critical systems or facilities to be protected by fire without the need for water, which could cause just as much damage as fire itself.
Typical applications for Novec 1230:
• Computer Rooms
• Control Rooms
• Tape Storage & Vaults
• Military Sites
• Communication Rooms
• Medical Facilities
• Data Centres
So how is Novec 1230 Fire Suppression System Designed?
The core design is the revolutionary 3M Novec 1230 fire protection fluid, which is a clear, colourless and odourless clean agent. Designed to replace non-sustainable Halons, Halotron and dry chemicals- without compromising performance.
Stored in red cylinders in a fluid type form, once discharged Novec 1230 instantly vaporises, totally flooding the confines of the protected area, and absorbing heat better than water.
Once the present of fire danger has passed, Novec 1230 quickly evaporates without causing any harm to valuable objects or systems.
When it comes to protecting high value assets and the environment, Novec 1230 fire suppression systems designs represent the most effective fire protection on the market today.
Additionally, due to its liquid nature, Novec 1230 fluid is not regulated for transportation and can even be shipped by air.
You don’t need a crystal ball to look into the future and predict whether your fire suppression systems will remain a cost effective solution during the course of its life.
But it’s helpful to have the facts at hand.
Novec 1230 fire suppression systems are designed to leave no residue and is not corrosive. Dry chemicals on the other hand are corrosive and destructive to high value assets and electronics.
Using dry chemicals is these types of applications would present a risk of catastrophic loss to high value assets.
The loss of one data centre resulting from the misuse of a dry chemical suppression system could far surpass any premium paid for an advanced high performance Novec 1230 fire suppression design.
For more information, please view our PDF flyer or call our office to arrange a design consultation.
SafeCable linear heat detection cable – Designing solutions for the most difficult of risks
SafeCable digital linear heat detection cable (LHD) is a combination of advanced polymer and digital technologies that can detect heat anywhere along its entire length. SafeCable is also compatible with any listed addressable or conventional panel.
At the core of SafeCable is a twisted pair of extremely low resistance (.05 ohm/ ft. [.164 ohms/m] of twisted cable) tri-metallic conductors, sheathed in new advanced thermal polymers.
These polymers are chemically engineered to break down at specific fixed temperatures allowing the twisted conductors to make contact and initiate an alarm at the control panel without any calibration for changes in the ambient temperature.
The distance locating option allows the control panel to identify and display the location, in feet or meters from the panel, where the heat source interacted with the detection cable.
Features and Benefits of SafeCable Linear Heat Sensing Cable
- Up to 10,000 linear feet (3,048m) of SafeCable per zone
- Approved for up to 35’ (10.7m) spacing .05 ohms/ft (.164 ohms/m) resistance for twisted pair wire, lower than any other type of linear heat detection wire
- Lower cost than other types of linear heat detection wire
- Compatible with ALL Fire Alarm Control / Releasing Panels
- Alarm temperatures: 155°F (68°C), 172°F (78°C), 190°F (88°C), 220°F (105°C) 365ºF(185ºC)
- Nylon Outer Jacket (Optional) – Provides Greater UV Protection for Outdoor Use and Harsh Industrial Environments than Standard PVC
- Polypropylene Outer Jacket (Optional) – Provides Greater Protection for Chemically Harsh and Caustic Environments than Standard PVC
SafeCable is ideal for aircraft hangers, switchgear, in-rack freezer and cooler storage, archive and warehouse storage, elevator shafts, cooling towers, conveyor systems, cable trays, terminal rooms plus a wide range of operating equipment such as pumps generators tunnels bridges parking decks and engine bays.
The quality and the safety of the Fire Suppression Products we supply are designed and developed in accordance with the following international standards.
In addition to basic design and supply of systems, our engineers are available to assist you with advice throughout the installation and also at the time of commissioning to ensure that the end product is compliant and fit for use.
View our PDF for more information
PFOS Fire Fighting Foam Banned in QLD
In a two part article written in the ASIA Pacific Fire Magazine, QLD have taken steps to ban the use of 3M Lightwater branded foam concentrates which contain and breakdown to PFOS.
The article suggests many were surprised the promised 3rd draft consultation by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection never materialised, when the Minister unexpectedly announced implementation of its final Policy on 8th July 2016.
Additionally in a statement released by the Queensland government, Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection was implementing a “strict policy with respect to firefighting foams and their environmental management.”
“Queensland is adamant that firefighting foams containing highly persistent organic pollutants including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) implicated in the contamination of the Oakey Defence base need to be phased out,’ Dr Miles said.
QLD has made a bold decision, lumping all firefighting fluorochemicals into an effective ban, requiring incineration alongside PFOS. Only Fluorine Free Foams (F3) are effectively allowed without full containment and disposal to WWTP in QLD. This goes far beyond any other jurisdiction in the world. Does it make sense? Is it supported by scientific research? Does it deliver least environmental impacts from foam’s use?
Fluorine Free Foam
The report within ASIA Pacific Fire Magazine asks, Is this QLD F3 focus a better idea, despite concentrating on foam agent impacts to the environment, while largely excluding many other important environmental considerations. Is this the right answer? Some say its too simplistic and blinkered a response to a far more complicated problem, is probably over-precautionary, and isn’t the right answer for many fire situations.
F3 agents benefit from being 100% bioadegradable without persistent ingredients. They are also advantageous for dispersive applications where no containment is possible, and for non-emergency training. However, they struggle with critical factors including:
- Provide no fuel repelling capability – which is why fluorinated foams were developed originally!
- Deliver poor vapour sealing
- Provide slower control and extinction, with sudden, unpredictable flare ups and flashovers, that can result in greater escalation risks and re-involvement.
- More damage is likely to result, particularly from larger events.
- The ever-present increased life safety risks, increased firewater runoff, and typically 10 times higher aquatic toxicity than AFFFs.
Part two of their article will be release next issue.
To read the full article on part one click here
Foam Concentrates For Fighting Fires
The foam concentrate is a mixture of different raw materials such as solvents, salts, corrosion inhibitors and mainly surfactants.
In case of synthetic products, there are two types of surfactants: hydrocarbon chain, which are primarily responsible of foaming capacity and foam stabilisation, and fluorinated, in which part of the hydrogen chain atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms.
The fluorinated surfactants are the key component in AFFF agents because they bring to foams repellence and resistance to hydrocarbons.
They add also the ability to form an aqueous film of only a few microns on hydrocarbons.
Due to the many changes in regulations, raw materials and fuels, the manufactures of foam concentrates have developed or modified their products to adapt them both legally and operationally to the market demands.
Both the new AFFF agents, whose fluorinated surfactants are mainly C6, and the foams known as Fluorine Free (3F) have been lately the innovations and main lines of development for several manufacturers.
The development of more concentrated products is also a trend in the market, in which products of 1% are very common in the petrochemical industry, far from the traditional 6%.
Currently, there are on the market AFFF and AR-AFFF that can be dosed at 0.5%. The logistic advantages of these type of products in the case of large foam demands are evident with respect to traditional 3% and 6%.
Another trend is the increasing market demand for synthetic-based products (AFFF and AR- AFFF) compared to traditional protein (FP, FFFP and FFFP-AR). The best firefighting performance, better burn back resistance along with no-degradation over time are the key to success.
Fluorine Free Fire Fighting Foams
Fluorine Free Fire Fighting Foams have increased their popularity because of environmental restrictions in some countries.
The foams without fluorinated components have existed for many years in the market (protein, multi expansion foams, Class A forest retardants, etc..) although it is also true that in the last decade synthetic fluorine products have been developed for Fire Fighting Class B, with the goal of being valid alternative to AFFF agents, but with less environmental impact.
Until the appearance of this new generation of products without fluorine, the forceful application of foams was only effective if AFFF products were used.
However, some new Fluorine Free are also able to be used directly on hydrocarbons, although its behaviour and efficiency is still far from AFFF performance, especially when it is used with non-aspirating nozzles.
Despite of the significant progress reached in the development of this product range, still have some limitations and AFFF or FFFP foams are still not ready to be replaced without serious evaluation.
Before replacing an AFFF or FFFP by a Fluorine Free foam, it is necessary to check if the new solution have the same certifications and ratings than the existing product.
It is highly recommended to carry out a comparative fire testing with both products, evaluating the effectiveness of both in different applications, with the available resources in each case (proportioning, nozzles, etc..) and avoiding a simple “paper” comparison based on the documentation of the products.
Although foam concentrates (0.1-1%) have been traditionally used in Class A fires (solids), new developments have also allowed the use of AFFF and AR-AFFF products with at very low dosage rates (0.5%).
In order to use these products with accuracy in the proportioning, it is strongly recommended the use of electronically controlled proportioning systems.
A flowmeter is installed in the water line and this information is sent to a control unit, which controls the foam injection system, accurately adjusting the amount of foam required for each water flow.
These equipment are very common in fire trucks, but can also be used in forest systems, fixed installations, etc.
For more information on the Class A & B Fire Fighting Foam Concentrates we distribute, view the accompanying product brochure from Auxquima.
LPG Fire Australia is a certified distributor & national service centre for various
gaseous fire suppression & detection products across Australia & New Zealand
including VID Water Mist, Puma Relief & Extraction Vents.
We are wholly privately owned, with training and education
facilities for our customers, consultants and contractors we can assist in providing
effective solutions for your existing system upgrades or new greenfield projects.
At LPG Fire Australia we only offer design, supply and support of products that we
believe in. The support commences before the start of the project, and continues
during and after the project, as we recognise that when a project is done well
both the supplier and the contractor receive recognition.
With our head office conveniently based in the heart of the Gold Coast only 45
minutes from the Brisbane CBD, and representation broadcast across the country,
LPG Fire Australia is particularly well placed to service the Australian and New
Gaseous Fire Suppression Products We Service
iFlow cylinders – Inergen 200 and 300 Bar
Kidde cylinders – Argonite – FM200 Novec 1230
Hygood cylinders – FM200 – Novec1230
Fike cylinders – ProInert – FM200
FireTrace systems Foam -solution – concentrate testing
Foam system testing and commissioning
Cylinder Pressure testing
Kitchen Hood System Installation
Kitchen Hood system Inspection and testing
In addition to basic design and supply of systems, our engineer are available
to assist you with advice throughout the installation and also at the time of
commissioning to ensure that the end product is compliant and fit for use.
For more information on our national service centre for gaseous fire suppression
products please view and/or download our product servicing document
Fire Protection Systems In Buildings
The design, layout and type of fire protection systems in buildings can become very complex as it takes into account the building use, construction, occupancy, size, and perhaps even specific assets.
Typically fire protection systems for buildings are complex and technical, and therefore it’s common for no two buildings to have the exact same design or equipment. There are objectives for each building requiring a unique fire protection systems, design and layout.
For general multipurpose building, there are general fire fighting equipment in buildings that provide sufficient fire protection for its occupancy.
General Fire Fighting Equipment In Buildings
Fire protection systems and equipment will depend on the age, size, use and type of building construction.
A building may contain some or all of the following general fire protection systems or equipment:
- Fire Hose Reels
- Portable Fire Extinguishers
- External Fire Hydrants
- Internal Automatic Water Suppression Sprinkler Systems
Occupants of a building should familiarise themselves with the fire protection systems and equipment available to them.
Fire Hose Reels
Fire hose reels are generally situated in fixed designated positions throughout the building for use by occupants as a first response fire fighting method, where practical to do so for class A fires.
Fire hose reels provide occupants with a reasonably controlled supply of water to respond with.
Being a fixed unit, they’re permanently connected to the mains water supply and consist of a main isolation valve used to charge the hose when needed for use, and to shut off and de-pressurise the hose before being stowed away.
A swivel type control nozzle control nozzle enables the user to control the amount of water flow.
Portable fire extinguishers are also provided as a first response fire fighting method and like fire hose reels, they’re typically used by occupants of the building when fires are small & manageable. It is critical that occupants of the building are familiar with which type of fire extinguisher to use on which type of fire and further beneficial; if they have formal training for their use.
Typically most fires start small and fire extinguishers can work to quickly suppress the fire if the correct type and amount of extinguishing agent is applied whilst the fire is still small and controllable.
The general fire extinguishers types currently available include:
Extinguishing Agent Principle Use
Water wood and paper fires – non electrical
Foam flammable liquid fires – non electrical
Dry Chemical flammable liquids and electrical fires
Carbon Dioxide electrical fires
Wet Chemical fat / cooking oil fires – non electrical
Fire extinguisher locations must be clearly identified with appropriate signage. Extinguishers are colour coded according to the extinguishing agent.
Fire extinguishers are to be logically positioned at exits from the building, so occupants first go to the exit and return to fight the fire, first knowing that a safe exit lies behind them, away from harm.
External Fire Hydrant Systems
Fire Hydrant Systems are installed outside of buildings to assist with the delivery of water to help fire fighters suppress the attack of fire. Essentially a fire hydrant system is a water supply with a sufficient pressure and flow delivered through pipes throughout the external perimeter if a building to strategically located network of valves or outlets for the purpose of connecting to.
The objective of the fire hydrant is to ensure a sufficient amount of water is available for fire fighters to effectively control a fire in the building and assist in protecting building occupants and vital company assets.
Fire hydrants systems sometimes include ancillary parts essential to the effective operation of the hydrant network which include pumps, tanks and booster components.
A Fire Hydrant System needs to be closely interfaced with fire service operational procedures, and hence complex design considerations may be required.
Internal Automatic Water Suppression Sprinkler Systems
Water mist fire suppression systems are designed to supply a fine mist of water in both low and high pressure applications.
Building containing assets of high value such as data centres or museums, heritage buildings generators etc. are well suited for water mist fire suppression systems.
Water mist applications provides are highly efficient means of fire protection with low quantities of water used compared to conventional water protection systems.
The tiny water mist droplets create a large cooling surface effect on the area of the fire, and the mist can penetrate the hot fumes and penetrate into the combustion area.
Lower levels of damage to buildings and vital assets are experienced due to the lower quantity of water used.
More Information on our fire protection systems for buildings
Designs and components required for effective fire protection for buildings can be quite complex. Contact LPG Fire Australia at our head office for more information.
Know When To Update Your Commercial Fire Protection System
Preventing the outbreak of fire is a serious concern for commercial buildings. Because of this, fire protection systems are one of the most critical systems in terms of building safety and code compliance.
However, like most standard building components, the buildings fire protection system won’t last forever.
Not sure if its time for you to test and/or upgrade your fire protection system? Learn how to recognise the signs that your fire protection system is nearing the end of its useful lifespan.
Critical Signs Requiring A Fire Protection System Upgrade
Perhaps this should be an obvious one, but your fire protection systems age is the first thing to look at when deciding how up-to-date it is, and whether ist should be replaced.
Advancements in the technology and products available for commercial building fire protection over the last ten years has enabled the fire protection systems to be more reliable and efficient. It is critical your buildings fire protection system is designed and installed with the latest technology to meet today’s code compliance.
Have you noticed an increase in service calls or the requirement to replace parts consistently at service intervals? If so, this is another clear sign your fire protection systems is due for a complete update. Repairs can be costly and in most cases, the long-term costs can outweigh the cost of a full system replacement.
Over time, fire protection parts can be superseded thus not allowing new parts to be fitted easily. Instead of having to retrofit new technology, it would be beneficial to have the entire fire protection system updated utilising the latest products.
Complete System Failure
This should be an obvious sign for the update of your fire protection system. Your buildings safety and the people who occupy it require the system to be fully operational and code compliant. If there is evidence of a full system malfunction, then you should have it replaced as soon as possible.
For more information on commercial fire protection systems, contact LPG Fire at our office to organise a system evaluation
Data Centre Fire Suppression Systems are imperative for any high value asset building.
Fire can cause a huge amount of damage and perhaps even burn down the whole system within minutes if proper measures are not taken at the right time.
LPG Fire Australia offers a variety of inert gas suppression systems which are safer for data centres & server rooms and help protect against risk and downtime.
Some or data centre fire suppression products include:
The fire suppression systems are mostly used in the areas equipped with the heavy power equipment. These suppression systems utilise a combination of different dry or wet chemicals and agents to suppress the fire caused by any malfunction.
The suppression systems are used especially in those areas which are not visited quite often as a safeguard, and it is very essential to fight the outbreak of the fire right away with adequate smoke & fire detection.
The gas fire suppression system can give you a very rapid response to a sudden explosion of fire without almost any damage to the equipment. The chemical agent that is used to extinguish the fire also leaves no residue.
Most of the times the IT server rooms, switch rooms, high-value areas, rooms with electronic equipment, etc. use this suppression system to protect the area from fire. This is a very effective way and one of the best practices in several industries to control the spreading of the fire.
Importance of fire suppression systems in computer server rooms and data centres
The server rooms and data centres are very delicate areas, and a sudden outbreak of fire can cause a lot of damage to not only the equipment but also the information that are saved on the computers.
The loss of any data from the system can be devastating as one of the primary objectives of a well-built company is continuity.
The continuous presence of the electrical sources, as well as combustible materials in the area, can put the life of the workers and the valuable assets of the business at stake.
From a study, it can be predicted that the average loss due to fire in a server room or data centre is anywhere from $7,300 upwards to around $609,500 per minute.
For this reason, it is very necessary to keep the area well protected from fire. Fire suppression systems can help a lot in this case as the server rooms or the data centre are known as the heart of the company.
A business should establish highly sensitive fire detectors which can detect the lowest concentration of smoke which might exist due to the breakdown of any electrical system or electronics.
So, in the case of fire, the protection system that will work against the fire needs to be very reliable as well as appropriate.
In doing so the fire suppression systems in the area will trigger a coordinated alarm which will give the people a notice to move out from the place, and the extinguishing system will be activated.
An automatic system can offer most favourable protection to the sensitive and expensive equipment with the help of a particular type of nozzle that will not cause any harm to the hardware or sensitive materials within the infrastructure, and it will also keep the people working in that area safe with the help of environmental friendly agents.
For more information on how we can design a fire suppression system to protect your server rooms or data centres, please contact out team or view our gas suppression product range.
FAAST Key Features and Benefits
Prevent data loss
• Integrate with the fire or BMS system
• Detect smoke in high air velocity
• Prevent nuisance alarms
• Early Warning Smoke detection
• Reliable and cost effective