Firetrace, a leading provider of fire suppression systems for the wind industry, recently announced the installation of its technology across 500 MW of wind assets across four states for a major American wind farm owner/operator. This order follows a recent incident where Firetrace’s system prevented a minor component fire from spreading and completely destroying a turbine.
In the incident, a fire sparked inside the nacelle due to mechanical error in the turbine that could easily have spread and destroyed the unit within 60 seconds. However, a number of months before, the turbine owner opted for not only fire detection, which would not have helped in this instance, but fire suppression technology that is able to put out a fire that has already started. As a result of this proactive mitigation strategy, the installed Firetrace system was able to detect and suppress the fire before it caused irreparable damage to the unit. Without this technology in place, this single fire could have cost $7 million to $8 million in damage and caused months, potentially over a year, of lost revenue.
Fire is a major risk for wind-turbine owners due to the difficulties of suppressing fires at the height of wind turbines and in the remote locations these assets are placed. Wind turbines have grown to staggering new heights, with new designs and components developed to enable these assets to generate more megawatts of power. However, many of these advances in design and technology expose the turbine to additional risk of catastrophic fires. This issue could hold the industry back if not addressed, causing additional costs and slowing the rate of adoption of the technology.
“90 percent of the time, a fire leads to a total loss of the wind turbine, or at least a level of downtime that results in the accumulation of substantial economic losses,” said Angela Krcmar, Firetrace global sales manager for wind. “We are delighted to partner with some of the leading owners and operators globally to offer 15,000-plus wind turbines protection against fire risk, and ultimately allow them to take advantage of technological progress to improve operations and safety. Our systems have a tangible impact on their bottom-line, as companies that use our products can expect reduced losses, better safety outcomes and improved insurability.”
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