Avoiding fires in Biomass handling and storage facilities

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Avoiding fires in Biomass handling and storage facilities

News headlines about fires in Biomass handling and storage facilities are unfortunately all too common.  And as the Biomass and wood pellet industry grows, so do its fire problems.

When inflammable material is crushed, milled, conveyed and stored, the risk of fire increases.  The use of renewable energy sources, such as pellets, increases this risk as the materials are usually dry and need comparatively little energy to ignite.  A freshly extinguished match, although black in colour, will have a temperature of around 470°C / 800°F.  This is about the temperature needed to ignite whirling wood dust, like one finds in a typical dust filter.  But a layer of wood dust, as found in a pellet silo, can ignite at even lower temperatures; say 260°C / 500°F!

The key to minimising loss of revenue and production downtime due to fire and dust explosions is the detection of all hot particles, not just sparks.  Incidents do still occur in pellet plants where only conventional spark detection systems are installed.  Such systems detect light from a spark, i.e. temperatures of about 700°C / 1290°F and upwards, but the Swedish manufacturer Firefly AB, produce detectors capable of ‘seeing’ hot particles down to 250°C / 480°F.

Firefly’s unique patented technology based on Infrared (IR) radiation detection can eliminate both the sparks and hot particles in your process.  With over 30 years’ experience in protecting power plants from fire and explosions, Firefly systems are now guarding about one hundred Biomass power plants around the world, including some in the UK, with no reported fires.

Using detectors that indicate hot particles, sparks and flames in pneumatic or mechanical ducts, plus Open Area and Multigas detectors to protect storage silos and fuel reception areas; Firefly offer the highest level of protection to a Biomass fuel handling and storage facility.  Firefly never generalise, every system is a tailor-made solution created to give optimal safety against fire and dust explosions.

Read more about Biomass pellet fire protection systems by Firefly

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