Experts in fire protection

Overview

Power stations are characterized by their complex overall systems made up of a range of different operating units. In addition to this, conditions such as extremely hot surfaces and lubricating oils pose huge fire risks. If the beginnings of a fire in a power station are not recognized automatically and extinguished immediately, the costs of damage can quickly run up into millions: Even fire damage in a secondary area can cause prolonged down times for the entire power generation process. Particularly in fossil fuel power stations, reliable operation is crucial since they represent a major pillar of the basic energy supply. In order to protect people, objects and the environment, a sophisticated and made-to-measure fire protection concept is necessary.

Sprinkler systems are an important component of building protection. These can be adapted to particular requirements by the choice of sprinkler. A fire detection system complements building protection in all areas. The fire detectors’ signals run together into the fire detection- and extinguishing control unit. This notifies people in danger as well as the fire service and in many cases assumes control and function monitoring of the fire protection systems.

In addition to the basic configuration, other fire protection systems come into operation for total flooding and local protection in gas and steam-generating stations:

Protected areas

1
Oil tank
2
Cable ducts
3
Transformers
4
Offices
5
Server rooms
6
Electric & control rooms
7
Steam turbines
8
Coal conveyor-belt systems
9
Dumps and coal bunkers
10
Burner
  1. Oil tank
    1 Oil tank

    Protection zone

    In gas and steam-generating stations in which dual-fuel turbines are used that can be fired with both gas and oil, fuel or heating oil is stored in large tanks.

    Risks

    • Lightning strike
    • Formation of sparks via static charging
    • Ignition of the gases in the oil tank

    Fire Protection

    Optimum fire protection is offered here by foam extinguishing systems with the MX Tankfoam RTK system kit. The system generates low expansion foam, which is given out from above, in the event of a fire, on to the burning surface of the liquid. The foam has an immediate cooling effect, smothers the flames preventing further outbreak of fire and protects the now extinguished area from reignition. With a deluge system the tank side wall and if necessary its roof are cooled in parallel.

  2. Cable ducts
    2 Cable ducts

    Protection zone

    Whether for power supply or data transmission, countless cables are required for the operation and supply of a power station. In order to provide adequate protection, in addition to for aesthetic reasons, cables are distributed via cable channels and organized in cable rooms and galleries.

    Risks

    • Technical defects, such as short circuits
    • Rapid spread of fire

    Fire Protection

    The Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing system is used in cable ducts as well as in cable rooms and galleries. Designed with impulse nozzles in cable ducts, and with twin hollow core nozzles in cable rooms and galleries, this water mist extinguishing system is particularly notable for its minimal consumption of water. Fire detection and triggering of the water mist extinguishing system in cabling areas is done through fire detection systems with optical smoke detectors. 

  3. Transformers
    3 Transformers

    Protection zone

    Transformers make sure that electricity is ready for network distribution. They function as links between the turbine, the turbine generators and the network. They consist typically of the transformer housing with a cooler, oil conservators and oil-filled insulators.

    Risks

    • Short circuits within the transformers
    • Overheating
    • Leaking oil

    Fire Protection

    As soon as overheating is detected, the transformer is automatically shut down to prevent a fire from breaking out. The basis for the fire protection is a Buchholz relay. This relay ensures prompt identification of cooling required for components at risk of overheating. The TrafoProtect solution developed by Minimax based on the latest research results, protection aims and testing schemes completes the concept. The special UL-approved nozzles, Viking Model A and Model C-1, achieve an even and consistent distribution of water when activated. In doing so, the system successfully meets the protection aims of "control" and "suppression". At the same time, the consumption of water can be reduced to a level significantly below that of conventional deluge systems. A fire detection system will trigger the extinguishing system.

  4. Offices
    4 Offices

    Protection zone

    Offices, conference rooms and dining rooms are generally used by staff and guests. In addition, staff members may also retire to break rooms or smoking rooms and to kitchens during work. Corridors run through the entire building, serving as a main traffic route.

    Risks

    • Defective electrical devices such as projectors and computers
    • Overheating of the lighting
    • Short circuits at vending machines

    Fire Protection

    Minifog EconAqua water mist extinguishing systems offer space- and water-saving protection and can be connected to an existing sprinkler system. In areas with higher ceilings, sprinkler systems provide reliable fire protection. 

  5. Server rooms
    5 Server rooms

    Protection zone

    Server rooms are important, sensitive areas. In these rooms, data of high importance for business operations is stored, managed and exchanged over the network. The irretrievable loss of this data through a fire may have considerable economic consequences for productivity or even the future of a company.

    Risks

    • Overheating of technical equipment
    • Defects such as short circuits
    • Considerable damage even in the case of small fires

    Fire Protection

    For small and medium-sized server rooms, the MX 1230 extinguishing system is the ideal solution. It gives residue-free extinguishing using the innovative Novec™ 1230 extinguishing agents and requires very little space. Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems are ideal for large server rooms. The MX 1230 extinguishing system and Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems are triggered, and fires are detected, by a fire detection system using a HELIOS AMX5000 smoke aspirating system.

  6. Electric & control rooms
    6 Electric & control rooms

    Protection zone

    Control rooms are very sensitive and high-quality facilities which control fundamental production processes. They contain electric switching and control equipment plus false floors with extensive cabling. Even minor defects may cause substantial operational failures.

    Risks

    • Short circuits
    • Highly flammable materials

    Fire Protection

    Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems offer reliable protection in control rooms. For smaller control rooms, MX 1230 extinguishing systems offer an economical alternative. The extinguishing system is triggered by a fire detection system using punctiform smoke detectors or HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detectors.

  7. Steam turbines
    7 Steam turbines

    Protection zone

    Whether hydraulically controlled valves, turbines or generator bearings, oil supply pumps, turbine conditioning rooms or oil tank and pipe rooms, all of these sections are part of the steam turbine area.

    Risks

    • Flammable liquids
    • Leaks in the lubricating- and control oil system
    • Hot surfaces

    Fire Protection

    Extinguishing is preferably via release of the automatic or semi-automatic Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing system. Because of the significantly lower exposure with extinguishing water in comparison with a conventional deluge system, the danger of thermal warping in hot turbine components or turbine bearings is thereby considerably reduced. The release of the extinguishing systems is via a fire detection system using intelligent UniVario flame- and heat detectors. This can also be used to monitor the process. 

  8. Coal conveyor-belt systems
    8 Coal conveyor-belt systems

    Protection zone

    Coal is transported on encased belts which lead to the coal processing stations, such as the coal crushing station, or diversions and junction towers. 

    Risks

    • Hot-running roller bearings which can cause dust particles to ignite
    • Sparks occurring during maintenance or welding tasks 
    • Damp coal which spontaneously combusts

    Fire Protection

    The installation of linear heat detectors, gas emission detectors or multiple criteria detectors in non-visible areas is a necessary protective measure in order to ensure prompt fire identification and extinguisher activation. The deluge system is a well-proven solution for such circumstances, given that based on the extremely rapid spreading of coal conveyor belt fires, immediate and wide-spread activation or extinguishing is required over the entire protected area. The Minifog ProCon fine water spray system makes an attractive alternative for the area of belt systems with upper- and lower belts. A crucial advantage is that with this system significantly less extinguishing water is used in comparison with the deluge system.

  9. Dumps and coal bunkers
    9 Dumps and coal bunkers

    Protection zone

    As a rule the coal is stored outside at a dump without protection against humidity and damp. Coal bunkers on the other hand offer the option of dry-storing the fuel. Frequently both storage options are found at a fossil fuel power station.

    Risks

    • Spontaneous ignition of coal
    • Potentially explosive atmospheres in coal bunkers due to coal dust

    Fire Protection

    In order to provide fire protection for coal storage areas, extinguishing monitors are used, which combat fires from a safe distance and cool facilities at risk of ignition as a preventative measure. Depending on the version, the monitor can be aligned with the target either manually by remote control. Besides this a hydrant system is recommended for outside. Thermal cameras are used for monitoring which make the build-up of heat in coal dumps visible. In the coal bunker on the other hand gas emission detectors are used which react to escaping carbon monoxide in the event of fire.

  10. Burner
    10 Burner

    Protection zone

    On the burner levels there are two types of burners: On the one hand the coal burners for normal operation in which the pulverized coal is burnt and thereby converted into energy, on the other the oil burners which are used for the start-up procedure until the coal burners have reached the right temperature for combustion of the coal.

    Risks

    • Oil escaping on non-tight hoses or flange connections
    • High fire load

    Fire Protection

    A very targeted extinguishing intervention at the fire source is particularly important in the burner levels. In this area Minimax uses efficient Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing systems. Release valves secured with sprinkler bulbs ensure that extinguishing water escapes only from those impulse nozzles in whose vicinity a critical temperature has been exceeded due to a fire.

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Fire protection solutions for coal-fired power plants
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