Renewable energy creates new challenges for fire prevention

(PresseBox) ( Langenhagen, )
Fire brigades are relatively helpless when it comes to burning wind turbines. Standard training often won’t suffice: the turbine towers are so tall that an aerial ladder and conventional extinguishing methods are out of the question. Falling rotor blades and burning parts pose such a great danger to the emergency workers that a burning windmill gondola is normally handled as follows: an extensive area around the turbine is cordoned off to allow a simple controlled burn-off. The wind turbine is then a total loss – a harsh financial blow for the investors. Fire-fighting that would be easy on the mainland would be out of the question offshore. The offshore turbines are normally unmanned. Technicians are only there a few days each year to conduct maintenance and repair work. The fire prevention is limited to the use of systems for lightning and surge protection as well as protective systems like fuses or circuit breakers. Fortunately, there are ways to comprehensively protect the wind park’s most important technical installations – such as the electric power substation and supply platform – from fire risks. Fire detection at the earliest possible stage, combined with systems for active fire prevention and various extinguishing methods can provide a complete protection scheme and ensure that the equipment will be preserved and kept in good working order.

WAGNER Group GmbH has provided a comprehensive fire prevention solution for the electric power substation of the offshore wind park Riffgat in the North Sea. A case study can be found online on the company’s website.
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