AWEA member company, Firetrace International, is showcasing its self-contained FIRETRACE® automatic fire suppression system at the 2010 Windpower conference and exhibition in Dallas. The solution was specifically developed for the fast and reliable protection of critical component parts of onshore and offshore wind turbines. Significantly, FIRETRACE systems operate without the need for any external power, activate automatically around-the-clock without requiring manual activation or monitoring, and demand virtually no maintenance.
FIRETRACE comprises an extinguishing agent cylinder that is attached to proprietary Firetrace Detection Tubing via a custom-engineered valve. This leak-resistant polymer tubing is a linear pneumatic heat and flame detector that is immune to vibration and shocks, and was developed to deliver the desired temperature-sensitive detection and delivery characteristics in wind turbine environments. When the tubing is exposed to heat and radiant energy from a fire, it bursts and instantly directs the suppression agent at the source of the fire, precisely where it starts and before it can take hold and do extensive damage to the $ multi-million turbine.
Instead of attempting to provide protection for the turbine as a whole, individual FIRETRACE systems protect critical areas that are most prone to fire. Typically these include: electrical enclosures; near generators; in the tower base; and any adjacent cabinets housing controls or electrical transmission equipment. They are also used to protect: braking systems; generator enclosures; SCADA [Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition] systems; and hydraulic systems that have the potential to rupture near points of potential ignition.
FIRETRACE overcomes the major drawbacks of traditional flooding suppression systems. Vibration can loosen connections, rendering the system useless, and dirt, dust and temperature extremes are known to cause false alarms and false suppression discharge in traditional systems. This can result in the unwarranted disabling of the detection and suppression system, leaving the expensive turbine vulnerable to damage or destruction by fire, or the wholly unnecessary additional cost incurred accessing the turbine.
Other suppression challenges with traditional systems include the fact that most turbine housings have a number of openings to allow air to circulate to reduce the internal temperature, and that any gap between the housing and the support tower is typically an open space. These openings significantly inhibit achieving the “designated agent concentration” in traditional systems, and devising a solution to overcome these challenges typically adds hundreds of kilos to the turbine.
Genuine FIRETRACE is the only UL [Underwriters Laboratories] listed and FM [Factory Mutual] approved tube-operated system in the world that is tested as an automatic fire detection and suppression system. It is available only via ISO 9001:2008 registered Firetrace International’s global network of authorized distributors; trading partners skilled in hazard analysis, agent and system selection, installation, commissioning and support. They also use only genuine FIRETRACE components. Details of these authorized distributors are available by contacting Firetrace International at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information is available from Firetrace International’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona USA on +1 480 607 1218 or Toll-Free: 1-888-786-0780. The company’s website is at www.firetrace.com