Here at the Fire Protection Industry (ODS & SGG) Board, we are committed to promoting all things new in our industry, especially when it comes to technology for gaseous fire suppression. We have a particular interest in discovering examples of companies that have transitioned to alternative fire systems that do not contain ODS or SGG scheduled agents. Here at the Technology Corner, you will also find information on new Australian and ISO standards, news regarding major technological advancements in the industry and general information on alternative technologies.
If you would like to contribute to our Technology Corner and share your expertise on any of the areas mentioned above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by phone on 03 8892 3161 or via email at email@example.com. To learn more about alternative systems used in fire protection, view our factsheet by clicking here.
Revised Australian Standard hits the shelves
Standards Australia has released a new standard for water mist fire protection systems. AS 4587:2020 is the latest Australian Standard covering the design, installation, and commissioning of land-based water mist systems.
Further information about this standard can be found in the March 2021 edition of our GasBag newsletter.
Santos Port Bonython opts for fluorinated ketone
Santos, one of the most prominent independent oil and gas producers in the Asia-Pacific region, has transitioned to environmentally cleaner extinguishing agents. Santos removed all of its HCFC Blend A cylinders from their Port Bonython processing facility in South Australia, replacing it with fluorinated ketone. To learn more about Santos’ decision-making process, review the March 2020 edition of our GasBag newsletter.
Before and after: Santos Port Bonython removed its HCFC Blend A containers (pictured left) in favour of containers that use fluorinated ketone (pictured right).
New ISO standard for Oxygen reduction systems
The newly published Standard ISO 20338 Oxygen reduction systems for fire prevention (ORFPS) – Design, installation, planning and maintenance, provides another alternative for special hazards system designers and end users to consider when evaluating options for the protection of critical infrastructure or assets.
ISO 20338 which was published in late 2019, specifies the minimum requirements for the design, installation and maintenance of ORFPS, including those required to ensure safety of personnel.
Whilst ORFPS are a relatively new arrival on the fire protection scene, they potentially offer some intriguing benefits for some applications where gaseous fire protection systems might normally be used. ORFPS are designed to create and maintain an oxygen reduced atmosphere (typically below 15% oxygen) within an enclosure to prevent the ignition of combustible material.
It is important to note though, that the installation of an ORFPS, whilst theoretically preventing the initiation and propagation of fire, does not negate the need for installation of other fire protection systems, such as smoke detection and alarm systems.
Some of the potential benefits of ORFPS include:
- Continuous (24/7) flaming fire prevention
- Elimination of damage from flaming combustion
- Environmentally friendly as no ODP or SGG are used
Potential applications include:
- Archive stores
- Electrical switch rooms
- Data centres
- Museums and preservation of historically significant artefacts
Sydney Metro opts for IG-55
Inert gases are naturally occurring, non-toxic gases found in the earth’s atmosphere that do not react chemically with other elements or compounds and do not deplete the ozone layer.
Inert gases used in fire suppression reduce the amount of oxygen available to the point that fire cannot be sustained while remaining at levels safe for humans. IG-55, which is made up of 50% nitrogen and 50% argon, is one of the inert gases used in fire suppression.
Sydney Metro opted to install a fire suppression system containing IG-55 in the new control room at Rouse Hill. A Sydney Metro spokesperson told the Board that it worked closely with principal contractors to successfully deliver the project and meet its sustainability standards and targets.
“In this specific instance [installing IG-55] the requirement of the use of a zero-ozone depletion potential gas was stipulated in the contract, including having a minimum global warming potential, not detrimental to human health and is approved and permitted for use in NSW,” the spokesperson explained.
The decision to use a non-ozone depleting-substance has already paid off. In July 2019, an accidental discharge occurred in the Rouse Hill control room. Having an IG-55 fire suppression system enabled Sydney Metro to avoid emitting a large amount of environmentally harmful chemicals usually required in applications such as control rooms.
The Northwest Operations Control Centre
The Sydney Metro spokesperson outlined the project’s sustainability model.
“The project has a sustainability plan which aims to minimise our global warming potential and the use of alternative substances for fire suppression was part of that approach. From Metro Trains Sydney’s perspective [Sydney Metro’s operator], the safety risks and regulatory framework associated with the use of IG-55 are lower, and therefore provided benefits in an operational context,” the spokesperson said.
For Sydney Metro, developing effective and appropriate responses to the key challenges of today and tomorrow, such as climate resilience, is a key pillar that underpins its sustainability model. “Sydney Metro will continue to focus on reducing our impacts on climate change and reduce high CO2 potential substances where suitable alternatives exist,” the project spokesperson added.
By choosing to move away from ozone depleting substances (ODS) and synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) to cleaner alternatives such as IG-55, the project has paved the way for other major organisations to follow suit.
To read more about Sydney Metro’s approach to sustainability, click the following link:
To read more about alternative systems used in fire protection, refer to this FPIB factsheet: