Nov 25, 2021

Keeping Wind Turbines Safe – Why Having the Right Fire Protection is So Important?

The most recent analysis from Wind Power Engineering Magazine indicates that a typical wind farm with 150 turbines will experience one or two fires over an operational life cycle of 20 years at a rate of 1 in 2,000 each year. It’s a risk that cannot be ignored, and it pays to have the proper protection.
Keeping Wind Turbines Safe – Why Having the Right Fire Protection is So Important?

What does a turbine fire cost?

Majority of fires starts in the nacelle, often too high to fight from the ground and too dangerous to send people up. These difficulties apply even more to offshore turbines. If a turbine catches fire, you’re not just paying for the damages, but for the downtime and loss of revenue it brings, too. GCube, a specialist provider of insurance services for utility-scale renewable energy projects around the globe, estimates that the average wind turbine fire costs $4.5 million, to say nothing of the potential environmental impact and reputational damage to the industry as a whole. To forego the appropriate protection is increasing the possibility of significant downtime and therefore, a huge strategic error. Better to stop a fire as soon as it starts.


Why are the risks of fires in wind turbines so high and how do fires start?

Aside from lightning strikes, the most frequent cause of fires, the typical ignition point are the converters and capacitor cabinets, nacelle brakes and transformers. Electrical faults can lead to overheating, short circuits and arc flashes, while mechanical faults, in the mechanical braking system for example, can create extreme temperatures. Fire can then quickly spread and spiral out of control if not dealt with properly.


What are the Fire suppression solutions offered by Rotarex Firetec?

With its fire protection solutions, Rotarex Firetec offers either pre-engineered or engineered fire suppression systems for wind turbines.

The first solution is economical and low-maintenance, the FireDETEC system protects the most fire-prone objects, such as electrical cabinets in the wind turbines. It automatically detects and suppresses fire around the clock without the need of human intervention.

With this FireDETEC system, the detection can be pneumatic, electronic or a combination of both. Regardless of the system selected, Rotarex Firetec offers a choice of proven effective extinguishing agents such as Novec 1230 from 3M . The electrical detection system works with solenoid valves, no matter the extinguishing agent and requires a smoke detector. The pneumatic detection uses a pneumatic tube which is installed inside the cabinet, close to the potential fire risk areas or sources offering a fast detection and suppression in seconds.


The second solution is a certified total flooding system which allows to protect an entire room. The VdS- approved CLEANFIRE using Novec 1230 fluid or the FM-approved/UL-listed inert gas system INEREX offer the perfect fire protection for these large spaces. Inert gas or 3M Novec 1230 fire protection fluid allow a total flooding and homogeneous discharge in hardly accessible areas.

It’s also possible to protect the braking system against fire with the watermist-based COMPACT LINE system created, especially to protect vehicle engine compartments or power generators.


By entering a partnership with Rotarex Firetec, you gain access to decades of experience and the expertise of its dedicated R&D team. We are experts in fire suppression systems and are able to choose or design a customized solution that fits your demands perfectly.

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