Turbine-aided fire fighting in refineries

Published:  19 September, 2014

The TAF20 maneuverable tracked vehicle with top-mounted turbine has undergone testing at the RAM refinery in Milazzo-Italy, simulating worst-case scenarios.

The TAF20, which is to be sold by Magirus under the name Aircore, is the result of research into achieving more efficient fire and smoke control through the combination of water atomization with innovative vehicles and bolt-on installations.

The turbine atomises large quantities of water into a fine mist to achieve a greater cooling effect over a large surface area.

Refinery fires

One scenario that was addressed during testing was a liquefied gas leaking from a pipeline due to a faulty valve. If this gas ignites, the resulting jet fire can make it virtually impossible to close the valve.

Tests in RAM refinery have shown that a liquefied gas blaze can be brought under control quickly and efficiently with the TAF20, with the fog reducing the temperature of the fire while the remote-controlled tracked vehicle approaches the pipeline, creating a safe passage for the firefighter to get through and close the valve.

In situations where the liquefied gas has not ignited, but there is still the risk of explosion, the TAF20 can be used to approach the leak and efficiently reduce the concentration of the gas by means of the fog, thereby allowing the firefighter to close the valve safely (the escaping gas can be viewed via an infrared camera).

Another scenario addressed by manufacturer EMI Controls (South Tyrol, Italy) was the danger of a class B fire, which was simulated by setting fire to 1000 litres of kerosene and 1000 litres of diesel in a 65 m² pool, waiting until the blaze reached a temperature of 1200°C.

The fog sprayed by the TAF20 quickly reduced the temperature, and the blaze was extinguished in 15 seconds through the subsequent use of AFFF foam. The fog accelerated the process of knocking down the flames which, in turn, meant a further reduction in the amount of water and foam required.

The TAF system has already undergone a number of tests in different institutions, including the Saxony-Anhalt Fire Services Institute, MPA Dresden, MOL Refinery, and TST Tunnel Safety Testing.

  • Operation Florian

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