California Residents Search for Renewable Energy Alternatives

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Glendale, CA -- In Glendale, CA, there is currently a proposal to upgrade a natural gas power plant.  However, residents are fighting against it.  They are claiming that potential environmental impacts are being understated and a harder look needs to be taken toward sustainable alternatives.

A special meeting was held in Glendale with the water and power commission.  Consultants explained the potential impact from noise, hazardous materials, greenhouse gases, and other pollutants from re-powering the Grayson Power Plant.

A proposal to renovate the plant was brought up in 2015.  The plant serves 88,000 electric customers.  The proposal would make the plant more sustainable.

The proposal is to remove, rebuild, and replace seven of eight electrical generation units.  It's expected that is not fixed now, they will fail within the next ten years.

Residents are not too keen on this plan.

They say that the project is too expensive - $500 million, and is not environmentally friendly enough.

Dan Brotman, a Glendale Community College economics professor formed the Glendale Environmental Coalition.  He packed the room with supporters of renewable-energy alternatives.

"We are not a bunch of starry eyed environmentalists.  We're practical people, and we want them to syudy a real serious set of alternatives for the city.  We know it's going to have to be a complicated mix of [renewable and fossil-fuel solutions," Brotman said in a phone interview with L.A. Times.

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8 Dead, 100 Injured in Boiler Blast at Power Plant

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New Delhi -- A boiler exploded at the NTPC Power Plant in Uttar Pradesh and killed eight people and injured 100 people.

The number of dead and injured may rise.  Many of the injured received severe burns.

The injured are being treated at the NTPC campus hospital and another local hospital.  The worst burn injuries were taken to Lucknow hospitals.

The NTPC Power Plant had 5 units with 210 MW each.  The power plant started generating power in 1988.  A 6th unit was commissioned with 500 MW to be completed this year.  It is believed that the pipe burst at the 6th unit.

Get the latest news on the power plant fire here.

How do you protect boilers in power plants?  Find out here.

 

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Gas-fired Power Plants - Where are the hazards hidden?

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Excerpt from Fire Hazards and Fire Protection - Gas Fired Power Plants

Gas-fired power plants are growing in popularity. Canada has already begun to phase out coal-fired power plants in favor of gas-fired power plants. Gas is less expensive and a cleaner form of fuel than coal. However, with a surge in gas-fired power plants being built, a closer look needs to be taken on the fire hazards within these plants.

In 2010, the Kleen Energy Systems Power Station, a combined cycle gas and oil power plant, had an explosion in the turbine building when natural gas was being purged from the gas line. Six people were killed.

In 2014, the Didcot B Power Station, a gas-fired plant, had a major cooling tower fire. The fire spread from one to three cooling towers. Luckily, no one was injured. However, it does serve as an example of what can happen in gas-fired power plants and the need for proper fire protection.

Fire hazards are abundant in gas-fired power plants. With natural gas, lube oil, and combustible materials throughout these plants, a small spark can grow into an inferno.

Gas-fired power is on its way to becoming one of the biggest producers of power in North America. With less than 20% of the global coal-fired capacity residing in North America, gas is bringing up the rear and establishing itself as a contender for king of energy production. But what are the fire hazards in these plants?

Continue reading this excerpt from our article Fire Hazards + Fire Protection for Gas-fired Power Plants or watch the video below.

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London "Fatberg" to be Converted to Biodiesel

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In London's underground is a massive "fatberg" that is 130 tons and blocking the sewer system.  London has a chronic problem with "fatbergs."  While the city usually sends in a sanitation team to remove the fat to send to the landfill, this time they are making use of it.

London will be converting the fatberg into 10,000 liters of biodiesel.  That is enough biodiesel to run 350 doubledecker buses.

How do "fatbergs" form?

Fatbergs form when people pour oils and fats down their drains.  When they cool, they harden and block pipes. 

Since the beginning of September, high-powered jets have been working to break down the fats.  The fats will then be sucked up from the sewer.  The fats will be transported to a specialist plant that will convert it to bio-diesel.

Thames Water is working with Argent Energy on this project.

Alex Saunders, Waste Network Manager at Thames Water said, "We have a problem with fatbergs, both in sewer networks and at our sewage treatment works.  Previously, we've either extracted the fatberg out of the pipes and sent it to landfill, or broken it down and put it back through the sewage treatment process.  Even though they are our worst enemy, and we want them dead completely, bringing fatbergs back to life when we do find them in the form of biodiesel is afar better solution."

See a fatberg up close on this clip from BBC Earth.

Learn more about energy.

 

    

5 Forklift Safety Tips by Safety + Health Magazine

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According to OSHA, 11% of forklifts will be involved in an accident.  On average, 85 people die a year in a forklift accident.

1.  Train for Safety

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries states that "workers without proper training and knowledge of forklift operation, as well as operators who maneuver forklifts carelessly, have an increased risk of injury or death."  

Someone who is untrained driving a forklift is just as dangerous as someone who drives a vehicle without a license.  OSHA requires that forklift training programs combine formal instruction (lectures, tests, written instruction) with hands on training.

Forklift drivers can't just assume that because they have driven a forklift, they can drive any forklift.  Different models and sizes drive differently.

2.  Perform Checkups

Forklifts should be inspected before each job.  Forklift operators should check seat belts, tires, lights, horn, brakes, backup alarms, and fluid levels as well as the moving and load supporting parts of the forklift.

3.  Know the Machinery

The National Safety Council's training program for rough-terrain lift truck operators says, "Although lift trucks and personal vehicles share some similarities, they ultimately are quite different."

Drivers are not enclosed, the weight ranges from 9,000-30,000 pounds, they travel closer to a walking pace, the can tip easier than a vehicle, and they have a tighter turn radius - all making forklifts more difficult to drive than cars.

To drive forklifts safely, drivers should have a clear view, look in the direction of travel, use spotters or aides (rear view mirrors), and use headlights.

4.  Stability Triangle

A lift truck has a center of gravity that is higher than in a personal vehicle.  However, the load has its own center of gravity.  Once the load is picked up, there is a new center of gravity.

Lift trucks are built on a three-point suspension, which resembles a triangle.  The stability triangle is where the operators need to stay while the truck is in motion.

To avoid tipping, operators need to make sure the load is secure and stable, keep loads low to the ground during operation, keep loads uphill while climbing or descending, and drive slowly.

5.  Know the Load

OSHA advises that loads are checked before picking them up.  The load needs to be stable and the dimensions need to be safe for transport.

Read more about forklift safety at Safety + Health Magazine.

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Researchers Find that Adding Cigarette Butts to Asphalt Reduces Heat Island Effect and Pollution {via Construction Junkie}

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Asphalt is a very popular pavement material.  So popular that researchers are constantly trying to improve it.  

Recently, they have tested salt-releasing pavement for de-icing, crack healing additives, and asphalt strengthening additives from recycled materials.  Most recently, they have tested adding cigarette butts.

Adding cigarette butts to asphalt is multi-beneficial.  One, it reduces landfill waste; and two, it reduces the heat island effect of pavement.  Researchers encased the cigarette butts in paraffin wax.

The urban heat island (UHI) effect is when it is hotter in an urban area, partially due to the dark asphalt adsorbing solar radiation.  UHIs reduce rainfall, decreases air quality, and decreases water quality. 

The need for reduced temperature of asphalt became news recently when L.A. decided to paint their asphalt a lighter color to reduce the heat.  By adding cigarette butts to the asphalt, it would reduce the bulk density and increase the porosity of the bitumen, reducing the asphalt temperature.  

 

Lansing Community College noted that 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are littered annually, of that number, 80% get to waterways.  This causes pollution in drinking water and hurts wildlife.

What construction material would you like improved?  Let us know in the comments.

 

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The World’s Top Liquefied Natural Gas Exporters

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Natural gas is one of the most popular energy sources at the moment.  It is environmentally friendly and inexpensive.  To transport natural gas, it is converted to its liquefied form, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

While the entire world is using natural gas, where is it all coming from?  Here are the top 8 exporters of LNG found around the world.

1.     Qatar


Qatar sits on the largest natural gas reserves on the planet.  The city is tiny, with only 300,000 residents.  Its economy relies heavily on immigrants to run their natural gas led economy.  At this point 90% of their workforce are Expats.

2.     Australia


Despite South Australia’s energy crisis, Australia has a substantial offshore natural gas reserve.  Australia has doubled their LNG output since 2004.

3.     Malaysia


Malaysia exported 10% of the global supply of natural gas.  For three decades, Malaysia and Thailand have worked together on LNG assets and share the profits.

4.     Nigeria


Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy, exporting 7.2% of the world’s LNG. 

5.     Indonesia

 


Indonesia is better known as a vacation destination than a natural gas hub, but it exported 6.4% of the world’s LNG.

Liquefied Natural Gas is a hot topic, and LNG facilities are becoming more and more popular.  They also need to be protected from fire.  Learn more about fire protection needs of LNG facilities here.

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World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Set for Australia

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Australia has approved the biggest solar thermal power plant in the world.  A 150-MW structure is set to be built in Port Augusta, Australia.

The project will provide 650 construction jobs for the local economy, and provide electricity needs for the state government.

The plant will begin being built in 2018, and will cost $510 million.  It is planned to be finished in 2020.

“The significance of solar thermal generation lies in its ability to provide energy virtually on demand through the use of thermal energy storage to store heat for running the power turbines,” said Wasim Saman, a University of South Australia Professor of Sustainable Energy Engineering.  “This is a substantially more economical way of storing energy than using batteries.”  As you may recall, Elon Musk offered to use Tesla batteries to help with the South Australia energy crisis.

Renewable energy sources account for more than 40% of the energy in South Australia.  Solar power is becoming more stable and reliable, and solar plants are cheaper to build than coal-fired power plants.

This will be the first large scale solar thermal generation plant in Australia; however, they have been successfully operating in Europe, USA, and Africa.

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WWII Bomb Found During Construction, German Prison Evacuated

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Regensburg, Germany -- A World War II era bomb was recently unearthed during excavation work at a Germany construction site in Regensburg.  Regensburg is a city with a 140,000 population and home to a prison.

Construction in this area has unearthed undetonated munitions throughout the area.  The bomb was found during a construction project a few yards from Regensburg prison.  The prison is home to 109 inmates.

Authorities were forced to organize a large-scale evacuation of the area, including of the inmates and the prison.  Approximately 1,500 local residents were evacuated while the bomb was diffused.  Specialists defused one bomb and had two controlled explosions of bombs found with still-intact detonators.

Bombs and other munition is found throughout Germany during construction excavation.  Since the beginning of 2017, five bombs have already been found in the area.

About ten minutes from the site, another bomb was found near a kindergarten.  The bomb was a 250 lbs American pilot bomb.  It was safety defused.

"There are bombs everywhere.  This is nothing unusual in Germany," said Biopark Physicist Dr. Robert Mertzig.

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Wind Turbine Fires are Costing as Much as $2 Mil in Damage: Is NFPA 850 being ignored?

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Karatsu -- A wind turbine near a nuclear power plant caught fire.  This caused serious difficulties for firefighters who had to worry about falling parts.

A nearby resident reported the conflagration at 2:55pm.  One of the turbine blades and the base of the blades caught fire at the wind-generating power plant.  The blaze was extinguished at 6:50am the next morning. 

No one was injured. 

Firefighters had a difficult time fighting the fire.  They were unable to point water at the blades because of falling debris.

The fire is under investigation.

The wind generating power plant has been in operation since 2004.  They sell their energy to Kyushu Electric.

NFPA 850

Wind turbines are part of NFPA 850:  Recommended Practice for Fire Protection for Electric Generating Plants and High Voltage Direct Current Converter Stations, 2010.  Since 2002, 184 wind turbines have been damaged by fire.  This has cost between $750,000 to $2,000,000 each time.

 

What is causing wind turbine fires?

Wind-generated power plant fires start from a number of causes.  The most common is lightning strikes.  Wind turbines are exposed and tall, making them an easy target.

Another cause of fire in wind turbines is mechanical failure or electrical malfunction.  The hundreds of gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricants fuels the fire.  An added fuel source is internal insulation.

Wind-generating power plants have other high-risk areas too.  Capacitors, transformers, generators, electrical controls, and transmission equipment is also susceptible to fire.

Fire Protection for Wind Turbines

Water-mist systems are an option; however, they have the potential for hurting electrical equipment.  Compressed air foam systems are also used, but the storage needs can be problematic with the remote location of most wind turbines.

Clean agent systems are a good solution.  When discharged, it vaporizes into a colorless, odorless gas.  The suppressant takes up less space to store than other solutions.  It also has a low environmental impact.

While wind-generating power plants have their pros and cons, the fact that it is an environmentally friendly energy solution is bringing more and more wind farms into the energy industry, so properly protecting them from fire needs to become a priority.

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10 Refineries Close in TX, Hurricane Harvey Hurts Energy Hub

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If you're interested in donating to Hurricane Harvey relief, here is a link to Global Giving.  All funds given using this link will go directly to serving Hurricane Harvey victims.

Gulf Coast, TX -- Hurricane Harvey (now downgraded to a tropical storm), is hurting the Gulf Coast energy hub as major refineries are forced to close.

At this point, ten oil refinery plants have closed in Houston and Corpus Christi.  When weather is normal, these refineries refine 2 million barrels of oil a day, on average.  The S&P estimated that approximately 2.2 million barrels per day of oil capacity were offline due to the tropical storm.

The Gulf Coast is home to 1/3 of the country's capacity to turn oil into gas, diesel , and other products.  F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has a Gulf Coast office that serves this sector in La Porte, TX. 

Last Friday, Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4.  By mid-Saturday, it was down-graded to a tropical storm.  While it was downgraded to a tropical storm, it continued to impact Texas.  Houston, TX saw severe flooding with ten-feet of water in some parts.

On Sunday, 105 workers from oil and gas production platforms were evacuated.  About 22% of the oil produced in the Gulf was shut down that day.  

The last hurricane to negatively impact the oil industry was Hurricane Gustav in 2008.

You can read more about Hurricane Harvey's effect on the oil and gas industry at CNN Money.

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3 Reasons to Outsource Your Fire Protection Specification Writing

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Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractors have a lot on their plates.  Writing a fire protection spec doesn’t need to be on their to-do list.  F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has been writing fire sprinkler and fire protection specifications since 1979.  They know how to coordinate with insurance companies, AHJ’s, and building codes to write a spec that meets all of their needs.

Here are the top three reasons that outsourcing fire protection specification writing is the way to go.

1.     Power plants and other energy storage facilities are complicated.

Power plants don’t have the same hazards that a commercial facility might have.  On top of this, each part of the plant has different hazards that are unique and require different types of fire sprinklers and alarms.

 

2.     Insurance companies and AHJs don’t always agree on how to protect power plants.

Power plants and other facilities need to get approval from both their insurance company and the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).  Oftentimes, the two do not agree.  F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems is experienced in working with them to come to an agreement and write a specification that will meet everyone’s needs.

 

3.     We specialize in fire protection spec writing.

EPC contractors cannot specialize in everything. It would be in the EPC’s best interest to have a very detail-orientated fire protection specification to eliminate the need for contractors to include contingency money in their quotations. Bottom line; it saves the EPC money and there is no confusion or misinterpretation of the specification.   That is why fire protection specification writing should be outsourced.  If it is done incorrectly, it will slow down the progress of the project.  Instead, hire someone who specializes in writing fire protection specifications for power plants.

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was recently contracted by an EPC to address issues that had occurred when they had tried to write the spec for a power plant.  Once we were hired, we did a site visit, and wrote a detailed specification.  The specification had everything that bidders would need, and the power plant was able to receive competitive, accurate bids.  Because F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems wrote the spec, the power plant saved money because they received accurate bids.  The next time they needed a fire protection spec written, they came to us first.  If power plants want to save money on their fire protection project, it starts with a detail-oriented, thorough spec.

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How to Make Toolbox Talks More Interesting

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Toolbox talks are important, but they can get repetitive or boring if you aren’t making an effort to spice them up.  Here are four tips to make toolbox talks more interesting and engaging.

1.     Keep it Fun

Just like any public speaking, you want to draw your audience in.  One way to do that is to make it fun.  You can run a contest to increase participation, make the toolbox talk into a game, and keep interesting through real life examples.

 

2.     Make your team feel like a community

Toolbox talks are a great time to build a community with your workers.  Invite them to share experiences related to the topic.  Give other workers the opportunity to lead a toolbox talk with your guidance.  To build a community, we go straight into number three, have a common goal.

3.     Work towards a common goal

To build a community within your team, have a common goal you can work on together.  Maybe your goal is to reduce your EMR.  At the end of each meeting, wrap up with something you can do that week to accomplish the goal.  If you reach your goal, decide on an incentive like a company-paid happy hour or catered lunch.

 

4.     Photos, Videos, and Real Life Experiences

Attract the attention of all learning types.  Use elements of visual, audio, and hands-on to keep your team’s attention.  As an example, a visual learner might respond to images or video best.  An audio learner might enjoy a verbal presentation, podcast recommendations, or a video.  A hands-on learner would learn best by physically doing part of what your toolbox talk is about.  Adding in stories of real life experiences will keep people intrigued and will bring more perspective to the toolbox talk.

Keep your workers’ attention by adding some extra interest into toolbox talks.  They will no longer be something people have to do, but rather, something they look forward to.

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Why do gas turbines need efficient compressors?

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Natural gas power plants need to run efficiently so the plant doesn’t use more of the energy that it produces than necessary.  It takes a lot of energy to run a power plant, but the more energy the power plant uses to run the facility itself, the less it has to sell.  While natural gas power plants use a fair amount of the energy it produces, it would need to use much more energy if their compressors weren’t efficient enough, reducing profits.

 

Gas combustion turbines in natural gas power plants have three elements:

1)      A compressor draws air into the engine.  It becomes pressurized and goes into the combustion chamber.

2)     The combustion system has a ring of fuel injectors that inject fuel into combustion chambers where it mixes with the pressurized air.  Both the gas (fuel) and the air have been compressed.  They are then heated to 2,000+ degrees and sent to the turbine section.

3)     In the turbine section, the gas/air mixture expands, rotating the blades inside the turbine.  The rotating blades serve two purposes:  pulling in more air and spinning a generator, which produces electricity.

By having efficient compressors in a gas turbine, natural gas power plants can produce more energy while using less.  This increases their production and their profit.

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A Closer Look at Clean Agents

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Special hazards can be complicated when it comes to fire protection.  The property is not the only thing considered.  A very important element of fire protection is the assets that are inside the property.  We’re taking a closer look at when clean agents are the appropriate fire protection solution.

Answer these questions honestly:

1.     Can the items in the property be easily replaced?

2.     Can your company afford the downtime a fire would cause?

3.     Do you have redundant fire protection systems?

4.     Can the business still operation if the system goes down?

If you answered no to these questions, you need to take a closer look at your fire protection system to ensure that you are not only protecting the property, but also the assets INSIDE the property.

What is a clean agent?

Much like Halon 1301, clean agents inhibit the chemical interaction of free radicals and use a cooling effect to extinguish fires.  Clean agents reach the level to extinguish a fire in 10 seconds or less.  FM-200 is a clean agent and Halon replacement.  It is gaseous, leaves no residue behind, safe to use around humans, and is safe for the environment. 

See FM-200 discharge.

 

What are clean agent alternatives?

The main clean agent alternative is inert gas.  Inert gas removes oxygen from the fire triangle (heat source, fuel, oxygen), which extinguishes the fire.  While inert gas is effective in snuffing out a fire and is safe for the environment, it is deadly to humans.  It removes the oxygen from the space, so inert gas should only be used in a space that is enclosed and where people can easily evacuate.  Extra safety measure are taken when inert gas is used as the fire protection agent.

Inert gas is less expensive than a clean agent; however, storage cost is more for inert gas and additional safety measures need to be made for inert gas.

See an inert gas discharge.

 

What types of facilities should use a clean agent?

Clean agents are generally seen in battery storage areas, computer rooms, and control rooms with electronics.

FM-200 is a great alternative to traditional fire suppression when a vulnerable area needs to be protected from fire. 

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Case Study - Stat-X System Protects CNC Machines

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An industry-leading manufacturer turned to F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems for a fire protection solution that would protect their valuable equipment. When a fire occurred, the robust suppression system extinguished the fire before the delicate machinery could be damaged.

Seeking an Effective Fire Protection Solution for a High-Risk Environment

One of the industry's most established providers of specialized precision machined parts is headquartered in the Midwest, providing products to a worldwide customer base from their head office and manufacturing facility. Through the use of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines, they provide parts and pieces from bar stock that are machined to exacting tolerances. Their manufacturing methods are highly efficient but there are also high-risk fire hazards associated with the process.

 

Because of the hazardous nature of their machinery, the manufacturer decided to implement a robust, cost-effective fire protection system that would protect lives and assets without causing damage to valuable electrical equipment. The manufacturer reached out to F.E. Moran Special Hazard systems to implement a comprehensive fire protection system, which included Stat-X aerosol fire protection systems, manufactured by FireAway, Inc.

Robust Protection without Damage to Sensitive Equipment

After performing a thorough analysis of the facility's fire protection needs, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems designed a comprehensive system that consisted of a dedicated, stand alone Stat-X Fire Protection Aerosol Generator and bracket, accompanied with a local fire alarm/releasing control panel with a local detection and release system. The Stat-X generator releases a fine potassium based aerosol that attacks a flame's free radicals, effectively slowing and extinguishing the fire. This was an ideal system for the application because the facility was afforded the peace of mind that their equipment would not only be safeguarded in the event of a fire, but additionally would not suffer any damage as a result of system discharge.

Overcoming Installation Challenges through Expertise and Experience

During the installation of the system, F. E. Moran encountered an obstacle that was related to the wiring of the CNC machines. Synchronizing the CNC shutdown wiring from the fire protection system's control to the point of interface was an intricate process, but F.E. Moran's experienced installers were able to navigate the wiring for an effective result. Upon completion of the installation, F.E. Moran performed thorough testing of the equipment to ensure that every aspect of the system would be fully operational in the event of a fire.

When Put to the Test, F.E. Moran's Systems Kept Equipment and Personnel Safe

In less than a year after the installation, the fire protection system was activated when a fire started in one of the CNC machines. The system's advanced detection system, which included sensitive Protectowire linear heat detection cable, sent a signal to the control panel at the first sign of the fire, which subsequently triggered the Stat-X system's discharge. 
It was critical that the detection system sensed the fire as soon as it ignited and it was essential that the control panel activated the system without delay because of the potential risks involved with the CNC machines. A key element to the manufacturing process is the cutting oil that CNC machines use to lubricate and cool the cutters and transport waste. These oils create an elevated risk for high intensity fires because of their flammability.

Beyond the hazards associated with the CNC machines, there were many intricate components of the equipment that were highly susceptible to fire damage. Within the machines there is control wiring to the internal parts of the system as well as an abundance of flexible plastic hoses that support the drilling and carving operations, carry cooling substances and lubrication elements.

Remarkably, the CNC machines endured the fire unscathed because of the effectiveness of the alarm/detection system and the Stat-X suppression system. Employees who were in the vicinity of the fire when it began indicate that it was a substantial event that had the potential for severe consequences. However, damage to the equipment was nonexistent because of the efficiency of the fire protection system. F. E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was able to replace the Stat-X generator and Protectowire cable within less than two working days, resulting in minimal downtime for the manufacturer.

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Case Study - Oak Creek Power Plant AQCS Area

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Twenty miles south of Milwaukee, the third-largest power generating station in Wisconsin can be found along the shore of Lake Michigan. The coal-fueled Oak Creek Power Plant is the most thermally efficient generating station in the state, generating 1,135 MW. Committed to environmentally responsible power generation, We Energies, recently installed new Air Quality Control Systems (AQCS) at its Oak Creek Power Plant. The AQCS consists of two wet limestone forced oxidation flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems and two selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to reduce emissions.

URS, the EP&C firm providing their services for the installation, has a long-standing relationship with F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems from previous projects they have worked on collaboratively. Additionally, over the years F.E. Moran has done extensive work for We Energies making them a natural choice as the contractor to install a comprehensive fire protection solution for the new FGD and SCR areas.

With an extensive background in FGD projects, including a similar installation at the neighboring Pleasant Prairie Power Plant (another We Energies facility that is the largest generating station in Wisconsin), F.E. Moran's experienced team had a thorough understanding of the nuances of the application. Implementing a complete fire protection system in this environment from beginning to end requires a great deal of expertise and first-hand experience; F.E. Moran knew exactly how to execute the project, even when encountering complex challenges.

 

Many fire protection contractors do not have the proficiency to perform the underground portion of a fire protection system but F.E. Moran has carried out countless underground installations, which has provided them with the knowledge that was necessary to perform the intricate project. The environmental conditions posed a number of challenges for F.E. Moran, demanding that they call upon their expertise to complete the underground.

With temperatures frequently falling below freezing during the winter months, F.E. Moran had to overcome the obstacles of working outdoors in extremely cold weather and installing pipe in frozen ground. Additionally, the soil contained a high concentration of sand, requiring them to excavate trenches that were larger than average to compensate for potential cave-ins.

Another unique hurdle that F.E. Moran faced was installation of the underground system on a steep slope. The solution required special installation methods in which a 100' boring was made parallel to the slope face and the underground pipe was subsequently slid through the hollow to reach its destination. This method dramatically reduced the cost and disruption that would have been created if typical excavation methods had been used.

Beyond the complications presented by the plant site, many other factors had to be considered when installing the underground to ensure that the system would function optimally. F.E. Moran's skilled installers used their knowledge of equipment such as post indicator valves (PIV's), control valves and thrust blocks to install a system that was in accordance with NFPA 24 Standard for Private Service Mains. Using their expertise, F.E. Moran utilized the appropriate materials for this particular application according to factors such as soil condition, pump type, water source and levels of corrosion in the environment. The accomplished installers used their skill and experience to properly restrain the pipe for a durable and reliable system.

Upon completion of the underground portion of the project, F.E. Moran immediately began the above ground work, with a scope that included a wide array of suppression, alarm and detection systems. FGD systems are inherently complex, with varying risks posed by a vast range of equipment. Scrubbers, oxidation blowers, limestone drive pulleys and other FGD-related equipment demand specialized fire protection solutions that address their unique hazards. The high temperatures that occur within FGD areas necessitate high volumes of water as well as specific protection for limestone and gypsum dewatering areas.

In addition to the host of suppression systems that F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems installed, they also implemented an extensive alarm and detection system for the plant. In FGD applications it is critical that a highly effective alarm system is in place to mitigate the risk of a potentially high-intensity fire. F.E. Moran not only installed the fire alarm panels, manual pull stations and strobes and horns but they also employed a Very Early Smoke Detection Alarm (VESDA) air sampling system for optimum detection. Through continuous air sampling, the VESDA system can detect trace amounts of smoke in the environment, allowing the facility to respond appropriately before a fire has the opportunity to escalate.

Despite some of the challenges presented by the underground installation at an operating facility and the complexity of the equipment that was being protected, F.E. Moran's Project Manager and his team completed the job on time and on budget, with expert precision. Their experience and unparalleled knowledge of the application allowed them to foresee potential issues before they interfered with the progress of the project and respond appropriately. Additionally, their relationship with the local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ's) streamlined the approval process, facilitating the smooth progression of the project. The end result is a reliable, wide-ranging fire protection system that meets industry requirements and provides We Energies with the peace of mind that their valuable assets will be protected.

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Case Study - Fire Protection for Coal Plant Transformers

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F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems used their expertise, resources and efficient project management to successfully install a comprehensive fire protection system for one of the most prominent power generating stations in the Midwest.

Experience, Expertise and an Established Network

In the heart of the Midwest lies an award-winning power generating station, which has generated millions of MWh of electricity since its coal units have been put into service in the 80's. When the plant decided to replace the deluge systems that were protecting four of their transformers, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was a natural candidate for the job because they had a previous working relationship with the plant's owner. Their past performance during preceding jobs with similar scopes and synergy with the owner's engineering group helped F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems secure the job, giving them the opportunity to deliver another quality solution for the esteemed power plant.

F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems' experienced designers used their expertise to meticulously perform all of the hydraulic calculations, ensuring that the system was discharging the appropriate amount of water in every aspect of the system. The team utilized their advanced AutoCAD-based system to design a robust fire protection system that was in accordance with the owner's specifications.

Having acquired an extensive network of fabricators throughout the country, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems immediately began working with a local trusted fabricator who was able to expedite the delivery of the pipe and fittings. Because the design called for exclusive items, such as pipes with special grooved fittings and other obscure parts to retrofit with existing components, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems had to tap in to their wealth of resources to obtain the parts in a timely manner.

 

An Effective Solution for Protecting Powerful Transformers

The team of skilled installers replaced four existing deluge valves that were associated with the facility's transformers. All of the existing deluge piping and supports around the transformers, including the pipe stands, were removed while retaining the current buswork protection system.

New piping was installed in a horseshoe header design, mounted above the top of the transformer shell and was supported by the steel blast fire walls. F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems utilized Elkhart 1 ½" nozzles to provide the high level of coverage and flow density that is required to adequately protect transformers. The nozzles were positioned in a manner that the discharged water sweeps across the top of the transformer casing, creating a spray pattern that is effective and all-encompassing.

As is often an issue in these types of applications, the existing feed mains needed to be considered when designing the project. Feed mains were relocated as to shelter them from damage that could be incurred from the failure of adjacent transformers.

Efficient Project Management for Expedited Project Completion

The owner had slated the installation of the systems protecting the three transformers to occur during a scheduled outage, with the work associated with the fourth auxiliary transformer to occur at a later date. It was imperative that the project be complete before the end of the outage, which meant that F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems must design, stocklist, order, fabricate, install and test the system within the given timeframe.

Installers were also faced with the challenge of installing the sprinkler system in an environment that presented structural obstacles that impeded their work. The spaces between the transformer equipment and blast walls were quite restrictive, demanding that the installation crew be well-prepared and skilled enough to perform the work within confined areas.

Despite the environmental factors, the crew seamlessly installed the systems with time to spare. Furthermore, because F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was ahead of schedule, they also installed the deluge system for the auxiliary transformer that was initially planned for the future.

Following completion of the installation, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems conducted testing of all of the sprinkler systems to ensure that every component of the system was functioning properly. In addition to the typical hydrostatic testing that is typically executed post-installation, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems also performed a flow test of the nozzles for added reassurance that the system was operating at peak performance. Upon completion of the tests, there were still two days remaining in the outage, meaning F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems finished the installation, as well as the additional auxiliary transformer, two days before their deadline.

 

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Case Study - North Anna Nuclear Generating Station

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North Anna Nuclear Generating Station needed to find a resource that had the experience to implement a fire protection solution for their new transformers. The plant scheduled a two-week outage during which the installation was to occur. F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems got the job done in half the time.

An Essential Source of Power to the Region

Located in Mineral, Virginia, the North Anna Power Station has been providing Virginia with power for more than thirty years. The site produces 1,806 megawatts of electricity from its two pressurized water reactors to provide electricity to 450,000 homes in the region. It is essential that the station operates at maximum uptime, as it serves as a major power source in the area. Any business interruption results in a major financial impact for the plant.

The Plant's Valuable Assets Demanded a Quality Fire Protection System

As the plant's transformers began to age, North Anna made the decision to replace three of its transformers during a scheduled two-week outage. High voltage transformers are inherently susceptible to fires due to insulation problems or lightning. These problems can result in volatile fires that can damage equipment, stop production and put lives at risk. Implementing a high-quality fire protection system is the best way to safeguard a power plant in the event of a transformer fire.  

Seeking a Swift but Reliable Solution

Installing a reliable deluge sprinkler system was deemed the best fire protection solution for the plant. North Anna was faced with the challenge of finding a resource that had the expertise to install the system so that it would function optimally in this high-risk environment. In addition, they needed to find a reliable resource that could also install the system within the rigid two-week timeframe. It was necessary that the contractor be experienced and knowledgeable enough to design and fabricate the system in a way in which it could be quickly and efficiently installed.

 

Meeting Timelines to Avoid Financial Losses

With more than thirty years of experience providing power generating stations with comprehensive fire protection solutions, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was a natural choice for North Anna. The knowledge that F.E. Moran has accumulated over the past three decades offered the proficiency needed to design and install fire protection systems quickly while still upholding the highest standards.

From the onset of the project, F.E. Moran's project management team carefully planned every facet of the installation to ensure that the project progressed efficiently and did not interfere with the coinciding work related to the transformers. 

F.E. Moran's expertise gave them the ability to foresee potential issues before they resulted in subsequent labor delays.

The Solution

The configuration of the deluge system that F.E. Moran implemented forms a protective ring around the transformers with nozzles every five feet. Protectowire Linear Heat Detector is used to detect fire, which in turn triggers the sprinkler system.


Exceeding Expectations

As the project progressed, the installation was well organized and was being implemented seamlessly. 
Because of F.E. Moran's proficiency, the plant staff was able to devote their attention to the additional maintenance needed during the outage rather than being preoccupied with the sprinkler system installation.

The project manager and design team were intimately familiar with the application and synchronized well with the loss prevention team, which allowed them to finish the job in one week- only half the time that they had been allotted. North Anna did not have to worry about the enormous financial implications associated with extending their outage.

The system installed by F.E. Moran passed the extensive testing done onsite, which meant that plant staff were not sidetracked by the hassle of conditional reports.

 

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Case Study - Chemical Plant Cooling Tower

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F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems had been providing fire protection solutions for a number of years at a cutting-edge silicon chemical plant. The facility recently discovered that the fire protection system in the cooling tower needed replacement. In a week's time, the piping was removed and replaced during an outage, providing the plant with the protection they needed to keep their facility safe.

A Solid Track Record of Providing Robust Protection for the Plant's High-Risk Hazards

As chemical processing continues to develop, the facilities in which products are manufactured must progress as well. One of the leading silicon chemical plants in the solar power industry has relied on F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems over the years for effective fire protection solutions for their developing plant. Their systems and services have proven to effectively protect the plant's valuable assets from the high-risk hazards that exist within the environment. As several phases of expansion have taken place, F. E. Moran Special Hazard Systems has designed and installed detection and suppression systems for areas such as vessels, distillation and hot oil areas, pipe racks, superheaters and silane loading areas.

F.E. Moran's Experience Enables Them to Uncover Issues Before They Escalate Into Big Problems

While doing maintenance work within their cooling tower, the plant had discovered an air leak on the pilot line of the fire protection system and asked F.E. Moran to repair it. It was discovered that corrosion at the joint of the pilot line had caused the leak, which led F.E. Moran to suggest inspecting the water piping. Experience told F.E. Moran that if the pilot line had sustained corrosion from the harsh environment, the water piping was probably in need of maintenance as well. F.E. Moran's speculation proved to be accurate and the plant's commitment to safety led them to make the decision to replace all of the piping in the cooling tower. The facility could recognize the expertise and precision of F. E. Moran's work over the four years that they had performed services at the plant, which made it an easy decision for them to select F. E. Moran as the contractor to perform the replacement.

 

Flexibility, Knowledge and a Vast Network of Resources

The time frame within which F. E. Moran was given to finish the project presented a challenge that required tapping into their extensive network of resources. Fire protection equipment utilized in cooling towers, such as the specialized nozzles, are typically made to order. F. E. Moran called upon a dependable and efficient fabricator they had worked with in the past to supply the pipe so that the project could be completed within the scheduled outage. Part of the F. E. Moran crew arrived a couple of days before the start date of the project to receive the materials and tools and prepare for the project so that they could begin work as soon as the facility could allow them access to the tower.

Another obstacle that F. E. Moran faced involved the design input referenced for pre-ordering and fabricating the materials used in the system. Some of the older drawings that were used as "as-builts" for the project required amending, which required experience and flexibility to make the necessary adjustments in the field while still meeting the target date.

F. E. Moran installed Schedule 40 galvanized pipe to constitute the new deluge system, which is designed to withstand severe elements to a higher degree than standard pipe. Additionally, F.E. Moran installed stainless steel nozzles for a higher degree of corrosion resistance. Another measure they took to counter the high rate of corrosion was the utilization of stainless steel hangers, which are even more durable than the galvanized hangers that previously supported the system.

Efficient Project Management and Effective Labor Allows F.E. Moran to Complete Projects in Remarkable Time

As a highly productive chemical plant, they aimed to minimize the down time of any part of its facility. They had given F.E. Moran one week to complete the work during the scheduled outage and any delays in the completion of the project would have resulted in losses for the facility. On Monday, July 11th, F.E. Moran began the onsite work at the plant, with a deadline of Monday, July 18th for the tower to resume operation. F.E. Moran worked efficiently and skillfully and put in the necessary overtime hours so that on Saturday the 16th the system had been fully installed and the pipe had been hydrostatically tested to ensure optimal operation, making the project fully complete with time to spare. The Emergency Response Coordinator for the facility says "F.E. Moran's Project Management team is very professional, experienced and helpful in making sure a quality project that meets the customer's needs is completed." Of the work completed by F.E. Moran, he says: "I would recommend and use F.E. Moran for future projects that I have, they have the ability to complete large and small projects within a short duration."

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