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Automatic fire supression

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September 12, 2008, 02:49 PM
hooknline
Automatic fire supression
Ive lately been toying around with the idea of an automatic fire supression system centrally located to the processor. The idea is to have 2 or 3 sprinkler heads mounted above the processor, plumbed to a pressurized tank of supression foam.
Similar to the haloin systems on some larger boats engine rooms. Halon wont do anything for us though. Heat would cut the sprinkler heads loose, allowing the foam to spray, and once the supply of foam or pressure is exhausted, hopefully the fire would be out. Given the recent topics on safety lately, I thought I would post this up. I am open to ideas and critical comments.
September 12, 2008, 03:08 PM
RickDaTech
My opinion is that if you operate in a disposable shed and limit the biodiesel oil and methanol stored in the shed, then expensive automatic fire suppression equipment would not be needed.

On the other hand, If worrying about fires at your processor is keeping you up at nights or your equipment is located someplace other than a "disposable" shed, then automatic fire suppression equipment might be a good idea.





www.Make-Biodiesel.org





September 12, 2008, 03:52 PM
Murphy
I'm thinking smoke alarm + fire extinguisher.

Maybe two fire extinguishers.. (it is fuel ya know!)


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September 12, 2008, 04:21 PM
hooknline
Thnaks for the input. Im thinking more along the line of barns and out buildings. Myself, I process in a 2400Ft barn, and have a lot of other equipment in there as well. There have been a number of stories of people losing detached garages, etc to fires. A simple handheld fire extinguisher isnt going to put out a grease fire once it gets going. And that is assuming you are present when it starts. After speaking to a few firefighters, dry foam seems to be the way to go.Im just trying to gauge interest at this point, and see weather or not it is something that is marketable as well as prudent. Either way, Im going to put together a system at least for myself.
Any other input would be GREAT!
September 12, 2008, 04:35 PM
RickDaTech
You might want to do some searches on the archives. I know there are threads about the automatic fire suppression that people have installed on their processors.





www.Make-Biodiesel.org





September 12, 2008, 05:30 PM
Ryan P.
quote:
I'm thinking smoke alarm


I'd stay away from a smoke alarm, at least a regular one: too many false alarms. I wouldn't want to find my dry foam had emptied all over my equipment because of some welding smoke or grinding dust.
September 12, 2008, 05:33 PM
Ryan P.
OH! I just saw a cool new home-garage fire suppression system. It was in my newest Handman Mag, but I can't remember what it is called. It was just a single 20lb propane tank sized container with a single fire nozzle and dry powder that you pressurize with your own air compressor.
September 12, 2008, 05:41 PM
hooknline
Ryan, see if you can find me a link to the magazine or product please...thanks!
September 12, 2008, 05:45 PM
firemediceric
Forget Halon. You won't be able to get any unless you have a lot of $$$ and some good connections.

Go with Purple K. It is specially made to extinguish cooking grease fires and is mandated in restaurants by most AHJs (Authority Having Jurisdiction) You could get a hood type system using fusible links ($$$), frangible bulbs in individual heads ($$$$), just keep some Purple K extinguishers for manual use($) or go with a VESD (Very Early Smoke Detection) system like NASA and other entities use with high value assets to protect.

I understand you have a large barn, so I'm not sure how much protection is worth to you. For me, I try to limit exposure as others have commented on. I figure if the fuel stuff burns down it will be confined to just the small shed or trailer with the equipment in it.


1981 Mercedes 300 SD
1999 F-350
Both on WVO single tank blend.
No fuel system mods on the Ford. Mercedes has a Goldenrod water block and injector line heaters.
September 12, 2008, 06:17 PM
Murphy
quote:
Originally posted by Ryan P.:
quote:
I'm thinking smoke alarm


I'd stay away from a smoke alarm, at least a regular one: too many false alarms. I wouldn't want to find my dry foam had emptied all over my equipment because of some welding smoke or grinding dust.


I don't get the connection.. How would a regular smoke alarm trigger a fire suppression unit?

The idea I was trying to convey was that a very loud alarm would get someones attention and if you get the fire early, you might be able to stop it if you have enough fire extinguishers handy.

I was working with the Keep It Simple strategy.


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September 12, 2008, 08:36 PM
Burbarian
A regular smoke alarm will energize its piezoelectric transducer (sounder) when triggered. It is easy enough to locate the transducer's wires, trace it back to its power transistor, and tap that to an extra mosfet which will energize a relay via an external battery. You can then activate any external subsystem of your choice. A few solenoid water valves, fed from a regular pressurized water tank that's full of soapwater, say. Or turn on solenoid air valves fed from CO2 cylinders that routes to a simple overhead grid of steel pipe with downward perforations. Will flood the barn with CO2. It can also energize a hardline to the house and turn on a remote acoustic and visual alarm indicator. You can wire 2 or more smoke alarms to trigger the subsystems in either series or parallel. Series wiring prevents false alarms, while parallel wiring increases sensitivity and redundancy.


Big(Bio)Bertha 1987 GMC Suburban V2500 6.2L V8 IDI J-code 3/4Ton 4x4 4in lift, cargo hauler.
Brunhilde 1985 Merc 300TD, commuter
1968 Caterpillar D4D 3304 bulldozer
1971 Waldon 4100 payloader
1981 IHI 30F crawler excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
September 12, 2008, 09:13 PM
hooknline
quote:
A regular smoke alarm will energize its piezoelectric transducer (sounder) when triggered. It is easy enough to locate the transducer's wires, trace it back to its power transistor, and tap that to an extra mosfet which will energize a relay via an external battery. You can then activate any external subsystem of your choice. A few solenoid water valves, fed from a regular pressurized water tank that's full of soapwater, say. Or turn on solenoid air valves fed from CO2 cylinders that routes to a simple overhead grid of steel pipe with downward perforations. Will flood the barn with CO2. It can also energize a hardline to the house and turn on a remote acoustic and visual alarm indicator. You can wire 2 or more smoke alarms to trigger the subsystems in either series or parallel. Series wiring prevents false alarms, while parallel wiring increases sensitivity and redundancy.


huh Confused
Just kidding, I think I know what you are talking about. I was thinking more along the lines of mechanically operated vs electrically. Then of course there is the KISS method, but you have to be physically present.
September 13, 2008, 08:43 AM
firemediceric
If you want something effective, with reduced chance of false activation, and don't mind spending some money, you can go with a pre-action smoke detection system that will not activate the sprinklers until the heat sufficently rises.

When the system detects smoke it sounds an alarm. You could spend the money to have the alarm also sent to your cell phone. At the time that alarm sounds the system allows water to flow into the sprinkler pipes, but the sprinkler heads are still not flowing water. Water would not flow until a fusible link or frangible bulb fails due to heat.

Purple K is the best thing to go with for WVO/BD. Purple K is relatively inexpensive.


1981 Mercedes 300 SD
1999 F-350
Both on WVO single tank blend.
No fuel system mods on the Ford. Mercedes has a Goldenrod water block and injector line heaters.
September 13, 2008, 09:30 AM
Jon Heron
I got a couple of canisters of FM-200 with a built in automatic head from a buddy who got them from some bank machines he assisted in swapping out. He said they threw out piles of them Red Face The extinguishers where used in the garbage containers I guess just in case someone threw a butt in. I doubt they are large enough to put out a fire of any substantial size but they just may snuff out a processor fire if they go off in time. I put one right over the processor and one over my vac pump in case it seizes and the belt starts on fire.
It sounds like great STUFF.
Jon


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September 13, 2008, 10:20 AM
hooknline
All good info, keep it coming. JohnHeron, that sounds exactly like what I was thinking about.
September 13, 2008, 10:53 AM
troy
Purple-K is about 80% potassium bicarbonate, about 15% sodium bicarbonate and a little bit of this and that to improve flow characteristics and drying agents and anti-caking agents. Purple K is about twice as effective as sodium bicarbonate by itself.

Hmmmmm...

So the other way of saying that is, plain old baking soda is fully half as effective as the super duper more expensive Purple-K.

Sodium bicarbonate is regular old baking soda. It is relatively cheap by the fifty pound bag at your favorite chemical supply house. You guys wouldn't know any chem supply houses would you???

So I'm going to make some calls and find out how much Purple K is in volume. Unless it is dirt cheap, I envision a couple of big tanks (you guys don't know anything about scrounging pressure tanks do you???) 70% full of baking soda and pressurized to 100+ psi, some large diameter iron piping and some thermally activated heads right over the biodiesel area. I bet I could put a relatively massive automatic fire suppression system together for around $200 for my new 2,100 sq ft superinsulated shop.


Thank you, and excellent discussion.

troy

ps, a 50 lb commercial purple-k fire extinguisher (not automatic, a manual unit on wheels) costs almost a thousand bucks. Sodium bicarb looking better all the time.
September 13, 2008, 11:23 AM
hooknline
Bicarb can be bought at any pool supply wholesaler in 50 lb bags easy enough. I will have to do some small scale testing on the effectiveness of the bicarb on a grease fire.If someone beats me to it, post up
September 13, 2008, 01:31 PM
john galt
quote:
Originally posted by Jon Heron:
I got a couple of canisters of FM-200 ...
It sounds like great STUFF.
Jon

For FM-200 to be effective the suppressed volume must be airtight enough for a specific retention time, usually 10min or longer.



September 13, 2008, 02:12 PM
firemediceric
Maybe your testing will bear this out, but Purple K has more than twice the extinguishing ability on cooking oil than that of sodium bicarbonate alone

Also,going with just baking soda you will lose the advantage of saponification, where the extinguishing agent rapidly converts the burning substance to a non-combustible soap. This process is endothermic, meaning it absorbs energy (in this case, thermal energy) from its surroundings, decreasing the temperature and eliminating the fire.


1981 Mercedes 300 SD
1999 F-350
Both on WVO single tank blend.
No fuel system mods on the Ford. Mercedes has a Goldenrod water block and injector line heaters.
September 13, 2008, 07:34 PM
Ryan P.
quote:
I don't get the connection.. How would a regular smoke alarm trigger a fire suppression unit?



Well, when you said, "smoke alarm + fire extinguisher", I assumed, knowing your knack for tinkering, your meant the smoke alarm triggering the fire extinguishers. Kinda like Burbarian was saying...

My mistake!