One of our top articles, “Fire Hazards + Fire Protection: Gas-fired Power Plants” has been updated!
Here is a snippet:
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?
Cooling towers are deceptive by name. It's a cooling tower. It has water flowing through it. Despite these facts, they do pose very real fire hazards. Cooling towers contain combustible materials throughout the structure: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fiberglass reinforced plastic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, polypropylene nozzles, and wood.