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Topic Title: fire protection in windturbines
Topic Summary: "discuss"
Created On: 11 April 2011 02:08 PM
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 11 April 2011 02:08 PM
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ads114

Posts: 34
Joined: 10 July 2009

hi there.

what the thinking on this one? i know some of these apparently have a water misting system which seems odd to me,if the gearbox went on fire (what roughly 120 gallons of oil?) water will make it worse, surely? you dont put water on a chip pan fire do you?

this was for a work discussion, i suggested C02 as found in our substations but that has its procedures and dangers and ongoing ,maintenance,staff may not lock off and fully isolate the C02 and be unable to escape the tower or nacelle unit.i am led to believe the capital outlay for any fire protection just isnt worth it, the likelyhood of an actual fire is very rare and they let them burn out.
its a insured asset anyway.
 11 April 2011 02:22 PM
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OMS

Posts: 19668
Joined: 23 March 2004

Water mist supression isn't really an "oil and water" problem due to the small droplet size - we use them on transformers for example which contain a lot more oil than a gearbox.

Your final comment about sums it up though - it's not worth protecting the asset as the risk to life is low, the risk of damage to adjacent assests is low and the replacement cost is low - all balanced on the low probablity of fire anyway

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 11 April 2011 03:40 PM
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ads114

Posts: 34
Joined: 10 July 2009

yes i am beginning to come to the same conclusion myself. it is not worth doing. anybody else?
 12 April 2011 07:54 AM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 866
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It appears that the generally accepted (not always correct though) solution is to let the units burn.
Most wind turbines are installed in relatively isolated areas so the major risks are igniting the surrounding vegitation or nearby turbines. The towers are too tall for fire brigade access so a built in system would be the only real solution.
As stated CO2 would pose significant risks for maintenance personel. I would imagaine that the bottles would have to be installed at the bottom of the tower to allow isolation and replacement as well as on weight grounds.
I don't know how much water would be required for water mist, but again weight would probably be a consideration.

They do appear to burn quite well though!

http://www.windtaskforce.org/p...g-wind-turbine-blades

http://www.nickgriffinmep.eu/c...er-wind-turbine-fires

(just a brief sample from a web search)

Another consideration, as with PV systems, is isolation. If, in the worst case, the tower falls the cables need to be remotely isolated to avoid the other turbines feeding the fault.

Best regards

Roger
 12 April 2011 08:12 AM
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rogerbryant

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It appears that the fire authorities have given this problem quite a lot of thought.

http://www.cfpa-e.org/files/PD...line_No_22_2010_F.pdf

Best regards

Roger
 12 April 2011 12:14 PM
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dougflorence

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Means of escape in the event of fire whilst somebody is within the tower is worth consideration. Also security of escape route during lilkely escape time. Smoke hazard could also be significant. Its a long way to the ground and use of an in tower lift during a developing fire would be inadvisable.
 12 April 2011 04:08 PM
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ads114

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Rodger

A very interesting pdf document which seems to actively promote fire protection in turbines. This seems to be the opposite to anyone i spoken to.
We as a DNO appear to allow them to burn out whilst damping down the surrounding hillside.There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what is the best soloution.
Why have an additional expenditure for something that arguably is a rare occurence? I also heard that smoke detectors were being turned off as the brake dust set them off.
 13 April 2011 07:48 AM
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rogerbryant

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I suppose that as ever it comes down to risk assesment. What you would do for a turbine on an isolated grassy hill may be different to what you would do with the turbine in the industrial park by the M4 near Reading. Let's close the M4 for a day and evacuate an industrial park!

I would expect that as the turbines age there will be more fires, connections loosen over time, flammable residues build up, maintenance routines get cut when budgets get tight, gearboxes are not replaced when due, so the problem may become greater.

Currently wind turbines are seen as 'a good thing', but a few high profile incidents could soon change that perception and bring in a lot of regulation/legislation.

This satirical piece was written quite a time ago, but still holds in my view.

http://health.phys.iit.edu/arc...007-April/020778.html

Best regards

Roger
 22 April 2011 10:07 AM
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ArthurHall

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All staff who access the upper parts of windturbines are trained in emergency decents in case of fire. There is equipment stored in the nacels. Basicaly it is a long rope and a friction device, you clip yourself on and leap out, you then decend slowly to the ground. Its good fun once you have the confidance to trust the kit and do the leaping out bit.
Staff are also trained in rescuing people from ladders and rescuing people who have fallen and are hanging on fall arrest equipment. In off shore turbines espescialy the chance of the fire service turning up is slim so you have to look after yourself.
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