Performance testing every solution and gaining insurance acceptability is the key to Ultra Surefire’s success within the biomass and recycling industry. By working with insurers Ultra Surefire have a proven and performance tested fire detection and water mist solution for any industrial application including recycling, conveyors and machinery.

Considered an insurer success story, Ultra Surefire’s fire solution for the biomass industry has been embraced as an acceptable solution by both the customer and the insurer.  One such biomass project in Birmingham required a fixed fire protection system to cover a range of hazards and potential fire risks.  Now supporting 17 to 20,000 households with power, this £47.8m new build plant uses advanced gasification technology to gasify waste wood, raise steam and drive an efficient steam turbine unit.  Any emissions to air from the facility are treated with chemicals and filtered in a baghouse to meet strict European Union requirements.

Large machinery, potentially smouldering materials, possible flammable liquids or gases within the waste material and long working hours increase the probability of a fire or explosion incident, resulting in injury to personnel, damage to machinery, processing interruptions and a failure to complete recycling contracts.  Protection of these industrial applications will often call for either general protection of the entire location, local protection for special machinery, full flooding for hazardous areas or point protection for special machinery.

With previous installations within the waste and recycling industry, Ultra Surefire were well placed to provide the necessary experience and knowledge to put together a robust and durable fire solution that would continue to meet the plant’s long term fire strategy. 

Working in partnership with the customer, Ultra Surefire looked at each danger zone, fire risk and the type of material that would be moving through the facility.   Protection was required to the Reception Hall, Conveyors, Control Room and Baghouse Compartments, each area with its own set of challenges. Protection was required of the high value critical plant due to long replacement times within the Turbine Hall, whereas the Reception Hall had the potential for a deep seated fire which could cause major problems.  After careful consideration, a water mist fire suppression system combined with flame detection to continually monitor the risk area was selected.

Once a design was put forward, Ultra Surefire worked hard with the insurer and component manufacturers to install a system which would meet the insurer’s requirements such as nozzle spacing, assumed area of operation, specialist detection, integrity of the water supplies and conveyor protection.   Ultra Surefire’s water mist and fire detection solution was successfully proven through a series of fire tests and independent test protocols.

Striding to minimise system costs and requirements to peripheral system components to maximise protection, a low pressure water mist system was installed to minimise potential water damage and fast clean up times after discharge.    Fed from a water tank, stainless steel pipework was distributed throughout the protected areas and specialist water mist nozzles for each fire risk fitted.  

Fully interfaced with the water mist fire suppression system, a monitored addressable fire detection and alarm system was installed to provide early detection of any fire incidents. Configured to interface with the pump control panel, the fire detection system will operate the water mist system upon detection of a fire.  Programmed to operate in zones, the fire detection system will open the necessary zonal control valves to deliver water to the necessary zone as required.  Meeting the requirements of an L1 and M1 category system, the fire detection system was designed and installed to BS 5839-1 requirements. 

As early detection is paramount, flame detectors specifically designed for hazardous environments were installed.   False alarms from flickering sunlight, arc welding or lightning are avoided by the combination of UV and dual IR signal processing techniques.    These flame detectors are excellent at detecting almost all flames, including those invisible to the naked eye, e.g. hydrogen fires.

Click here to see the Biomass Fuel Fire Test and Conveyor Fire Test. Every piece of equipment including nozzles, components and infrastructure had to be approved or certified by a recognised testing laboratory.