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Unique tests of gas fire suppression system

13/08/2010

Unique tests of automatic gas fire suppression system were conducted in September 2005 in Kazakhstan. A complex fire suppression system designed and installed by FAST Group in 2003-2004 based on ecologically safe, nontoxic clean agent FE-13 was tested at the functioning gas pipeline compressor station.

Results of tests surpassed customer and experts expectations. System responded promptly in fully automatic mode and in accordance with design algorithms. Fire was extinguished in just over 10 seconds. Re-ignition did not occur.

Compressor station gas-pumping units of gas-main pipelines are specially hazardous due to fire-explosive properties of natural gas, turbine oil having low flash temperature and availability of processing equipment heated surfaces. At that, fire hazardous areas in gas-pumping units are as follows:

- engine compartment with casing;

- blower compartment;

- oil-tank compartment;

- automatics compartment.

In case of emergency situation distribution of fire load in the isolated compartments of engine, blower and lube oil pump units can be along the whole area of the premise, correspondingly burning will be developing strongly with formation of fire common zone along the whole area of the premise that will result in breakdown of expensive equipment and considerable material losses. The most efficient method of gas-pumping units shelter fire protection is automatic fire detection system and total flood method of extinguishing with gas fire suppression corresponding to it.

At present time automatic gas fire suppression systems basing on Chladone 13В1 or Hallon 1301 extinguishing agent are used as fire protection at many similar sites of oil-and-gas industry.

In accordance with Montreal Protocol about ozone layer destroying substances, it was decided to stop production of Chadone 13В1, 12В1, 114В2 from 01.01.94 and prohibit their usage in gas fire suppression installations.

In 2003-2004 Fitech Engineering Ltd. that is the member of FAST Engineering group of companies, was executing reconstruction project of automatic fire suppression systems for gas-pumping unit shelters of compressor stations. In accordance with the Technical assignment in the course of design our company performed calculations of various alternative variants of premises and equipment protection for determining the most efficient one. As a result as per coordination with Customer and the state controlling agencies of the Republic, it was decided to replace 1301 ozone destroying gas by FЕ-13 (HFC-23) extinguishing substance designed for suppression of all class fires.

The company was executing turnkey project including design, installation works, full-scale tests and the systems commissioning. Up-to-date high-technology equipment of fire protection systems supplied by FAST Engineering at the territory of Kazakhstan, was used in the project. The principal purpose of works execution was provision of the site with up-to-date, failure-free, maintenance staff and ecology safe fire protection system.

Installation

Automatic gas fire suppression installations consist of the following basic systems:

• automatic fire detection;

• automatic fire annunciation;

• automatic fire suppression.

Automatic fire detection system consists of the following:

• Det-Tronics flame detectors;

• Kentek control panel;

• Kentek fire suppression control modules.

Automatic fire annunciation system consists of the following:

• visual indicators on alarm devices;

• visual board «Gas! Leave!», «Gas! Do not enter!»;

• sirens above the entrance into protected premise.

Modular installations of automatic gas fire suppression for gas-pumping unit shelters consist of the following:

• modules of FЕ-13 (HFC-23) extinguishing agent cylinders equipped with LPG valves;

• pilot–directing cylinders that have electromagnetic-controlled valves;

• pressures relays;

• manual activation devices;

• main and distribution pipelines;

• sprinkle nozzles for extinguishing agent discharge.

Modules of extinguishing agent cylinders are installed in specially designed premises accordingly for each shelter.

Testing

After the completion of works on project the Customer decided to conduct full-scale testing of installation with application of real seats of ignition in gas-pumping unit shelter.

As model seats of fire two metal pans of 700х600х200 size were installed in gas-pumping unit shelter which were filled with combustible liquid – gasoline A-76.

Gasoline was ignited and flame immediately covered the whole pan surface.

Fire was detected almost instantly, extinguishing agent was discharged during 10 seconds, fire was suppressed after gas discharge during several seconds, no re-ignition happened.

Results

Testing committee agreed that the testing of automatic gas fire suppression system was successful. The system has operated completely in automatic mode in accordance with design algorithms and calculations, fire was extinguished, re-ignition did not occur.

The system was recommended for the application at the sites of oil-and-gas industry in Kazakhstan.

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