It is estimated that 0.3-0.5 fire incidents occur per 1000 wind power stations (onshore and offshore) every year (Technical Research Institute of Sweden). 10-30% of all loss-of-power-generation incidents in wind power plants are due to fire.
Potential ignition sources are mainly inside the nacelle where there is fast moving machinery (generators, gearboxes e.t.c) which creates heat and combustible oil and solid material in the. Even with the incredible engineering and safety measures in place, a fire can ignite and develop, leading to the possible complete destruction of the turbine.
Wind turbines require an active fire protection system, which includes but is not limited to detection (of flames, heat, gas, and smoke), alerting personnel and rescue services, and activating systems for fire suppression or extinguishing. Due to the height and location of wind turbines, classic firefighting methods come up against their limits and therefore fire extinguishing systems that use gases such as carbon dioxide, inert gases or clean agents such as FM-200® and Novec 1230 gas suppression system, which are especially appropriate for dealing with fires in electrical systems because they extinguish the fire quickly whilst not damaging the electrical systems or the compartment in which they are being discharged.
Regulations demand maintenance of the systems to ensure that they are operational in the event of a fire: ISO 14520-1:2015(E) assumes that these systems accidentally discharge and leak. 22.214.171.124 The storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced.”
The reality is that gaseous systems are checked for contents annually because they are pressurised and anything that is dynamic offers risk of loss of contents, but this fails to deal with the probability of discharge or leakage for the 364 days per annum in the interim between certification checks.
Coltraco have now developed the Permalevel® Multiplex, a fixed fire suppression monitoring system, designed for continuous contents verification. Permalevel® is designed to ensure that FM 200 fire suppression system are always fully operational and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event of a fire.