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Automatic fire supression
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Ryan, see if you can find me a link to the magazine or product please...thanks!


Got it. Its made by Griot's Garage. They have a big ceiling mounted unit and a smaller wall mounted unit. Both have type A-B-C rated multi-purpose dry powder and propellant. The wall unit opens at 155° F and the ceiling unit opens at 175° F. $70 for the wall unit, 150 for the ceiling.

I was wrong on one thing though, they are pre-charged, not charge by your own air compressor, so I suppose they will eventually lose pressure like a non-serviceable fire extinguisher would.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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OK, got one more.

Looks like you can get the nozzles for about $20 (64575T44 on McMaster-Carr), pick up a discontinued propane tank for just about nothing, and if you only had a source for dry powder, you could make it yourself on the cheap. Throw in a pressure gauge to monitor it and a fill valve to replenish and you would be good to go for under $50, plus the powder.

Heck, you could even put something better than the ABC powder in it if you wanted.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ryan, you are the man!
IMO, everyone homebrewing should be taking these kind of precautions. reguardless of where they are processing. Searching these forums, this seems to be the most comprehensive discussion on fire supression. Mybe this is something that more of us homebrewers need or should look into. We have alot more at stake than just saving some dough, or making a statement.
 
Registered: May 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm a firefighter and I just had a thought on the purple K. It's great for a quick knockdown. But then it needs to be followed up or backed up with something else such as AFFF (Aqueous Fire fighting foam). The reason is it has a tendency to flare back up is it doesn't remove the heat and it can be easily disturbed and allow vapors to re-ignite. It's also corrosive and can damage any electronics it may come in contact with ( like your car). Grant it it's better then burning down you garage or house. But it's a bear to clean up, it will be everywhere for weeks. And as for halon it's very expensive as stated before and will deprive the area of oxygen, meaning you will be deprived of oxygen if your in there. It's a very heavy gas. It also contains CFC's so if your concerned about the environment.... I would go with a large Co2 extinguisher and consider having foam on hand. Foam is just concentrated soap won't hurt the environment and can be used from a garden hose with a Proportioner and even dispersed by sprinkler if set up right.
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Foam is just concentrated soap


Ahhh...concentrated soap? That's something no biodiesel is short on...anybody thinkin' what I'm thinking?



Glycerin soap fire suppression?
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Glycerin soap fire suppression?


Be sure to recover the methanol first...Wink

I too am a (volunteer) firefighter, and my opinion is that a dry powder extinguishing system would suffice, leave the AFFF, etc for when the fire engine arrives. 9 times out of 10, a quick hit to an early stage fire with dry powder is going to control the situation enough that you can wait the 5+ minutes for the engine to arrive. I can't count the number of times an engine full of firefighters have cursed the passerby semi truck driver and his fire extinguisher after arriving at a vehichle fire only to find no fire left to fight....

One thought on the "make your own dry powder fire supression system" train of thought. I think that using your air compressor to charge the system would lead to creating a solid mass of dry powder in your tank unless you have a very thorough air dryer to remove the moisture in the compressed air before charging the tank. Perhaps I better plan would be to get a bottle of sheilding gas from the local welding supply shop.


-Ian
"Don't complain about farmers with your mouth full."
"Arguing with a government inspector is like wrestling with the pig. You both get dirty but after a while you realize the pig enjoys it".

 
Location: Trapped in a world before later on | Registered: November 13, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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In response to the Semi truck situation BeanCrusher brought up, Dealing with a vehicle fire is much different then putting out flammable liquids fire. Liquids are fluid and will flow, running to the lowest point. Like out of your garage onto the drive way ect. knocking down a solids fire is much easier then controlling flammable vapors. I would go with the CO2 its clean, cheap, and also has a cooling effect. And as for my thoughts on the AFFF. I don't think I would want to alert the Fire Dept. That I almost or did have a chemical fire in a residential neighborhood. So I would try to deal with it myself by making it safe while clean it up. But that's gotta be your call. It could very well be the end of your biodieseling days. Between you neighbors, Fire Dept. and the city you could have a hell of a fight on your hands.
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My point is not that a vehicle fire is the same as a flammable liquid fire, though you often have the latter when dealing with the former. My point is that an immediate response to an incipient stage fire does not have to be an elaborate affair utilizing the perfect extinguishing agent able to quench the fire and eliminate the need for an emergency response.

Also, while thankfully I have no first hand experience with a biodiesel processor fire, my recollection of the accounts of such fires is that most do not begin as flammable liquid fires. They begin more mundanely (electrical, oily rags, etc) before involving the liquids. This is where that first response is so critical. Obviously if the fire starts from a BLEVE of a methanol drum then there will be some issues....

Often there is only 1 or 2 minutes difference between successfull fire supression and a total loss. Anything that can be done to gain minutes early on in a fire situation pays handsomely. Whether it is with baking soda, Purple K, dirt, or a heavy blanket. CO2, while good for Class B (flammable liquid) is not rated for Class A fires. (nor is Purple K for that matter)


-Ian
"Don't complain about farmers with your mouth full."
"Arguing with a government inspector is like wrestling with the pig. You both get dirty but after a while you realize the pig enjoys it".

 
Location: Trapped in a world before later on | Registered: November 13, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't want to get into a pissing match with you BeanCrusher, I am firefighter/Paramedic with a very large metropolitan fire department. And firefighting is not just a hobby for me. Although CO2 isn't rated for Class A it will knock it down. And I think every ones main concern is the Methanol and the Bio. You don't even really need foam, but since people were considering Agents such as Purple K+ I was exploring other alternatives. You brought up the source being Electrical or rags. CO2 would work great as CO2 is BC rated. I highly doubt anyone would see a BLEVE in their process, and if they keep a large drum of Methanol near any heat source they most likely have other safety issues. If so, they should stick to WVO instead of processing anything. I again need to make the point, I would make an effort of keeping my accident to myself if at all possible. Whatever choice someone makes for fire suppression it should be effective reliable and easy to maintain. If someone desires a sprinkler system they could use a junior system, it's simply copper pipe run to an objective with a sprinkler head (up to 20 depending on the water PSI) supplied by the domestic supply. Again I would steer clear of dry powders because of the mess.
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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These are wonderful, informative posts. But medicdubs while you talk about a "junior" sprinkler system don't we come back to water not being suitable for oil fires?
 
Location: New Zealand | Registered: August 15, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, good point Paulus, but water would knock down the flames and heat. That's what the FD would use at first until the realize they have a flammable liquid fire. I doubt anyone here has a 704 plaquard on their garage. A sprinkler system will spread the oil some but not like a hose nozzle or hand line. Water will help neutralize the methanol due to it's affinity for water. If Beancrusher is talking about stoping the fire prior to the fuel igniting lots of water will work great. It would work even if you set it up as a deluge system. You can simply open a valve and shut it off as needed. I still stand by CO2 being the cleanest, cheapest and most effective. Trust me PK+ sucks unless you are prepared for the aftermath. I am thinking if someone wants a elaborate system they could set it up with an eductor to entrain foam into the system. it could work without a pump and use a venturi to mix the water and AFFF. If not just go to Out and by a large regular dry chem. The best thing is to keep it simple, don't leave the processor unmanned, and avoid plastic tanks and tubing.
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Still running down information, but I will say that I have read three independent sources that say baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has half the effectiveness of Purple-K. Or Purple-K has twice the effectiveness on liquid fuel fires.

I am still liking the idea of an automatic system ('fess up now, how many of you have left the processor unsupervised for some period of time...) with 1-200 pounds of baking soda. I would included some silica gel as a dessicant and some cheap flow improver to prevent caking. So this would be a fairly sophisticated home built affair.

Finest regards,

troy

update: My favorite chem supply house says that sodium bicarbonate is around $25 per 50 pound bag, while Potassium bicarbonate is a product they do not stock, and will not special order. This surprised me a little bit, as they have been pretty helpful to me in the past. Then she said a lot of the potassium products now come under very close scrutiny and regulation from the DEA, which is why they don't want to mess with it. If somebody finds a good source, or even a price, I'd be very interested.

This redoubles my desire to do it with baking soda, but in a very large amount.

tr
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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While we are talking about foam, I have a question. I have two foam extiguishers and no tags on them. I know they have not been recharged for at least 10 years yet show proper pressure. Are these still going to be effective in a fire?
 
Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: September 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do any of you fire type people see any downfalls to the 2 systems ryan posted as it relates to our uses??
 
Registered: May 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do any of you fire type people see any downfalls to the 2 systems ryan posted as it relates to our uses??


Ditto: considering the number of downfalls a home-built system could have (moisture causing caking, improper choice of material within, etc), that $150 is looking cheaper and cheaper...

Here's a question too, for those with some fire-behavior experience: if the system opens at 175F, and its right over the processor, but the processor is in an 840sqft shop, is the plum of heat rising off the potentially burning processor going to be enough to open the unit, or will all the extra room in the building dilute the heat such that the fire will have to be 5x or 10x larger to trigger the unit than if the shop was 1/5 or 1/10th the size?

Get it? Or is that a too convoluted and confusing way to ask that?
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by hooknline:
Do any of you fire type people see any downfalls to the 2 systems ryan posted as it relates to our uses??


Ditto! Would these unmanned fire extinguishers Ryan suggested do the job? They are not expensive.
 
Location: Cowboy Country | Registered: December 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Would these unmanned fire extinguishers Ryan suggested do the job?


Well, for those of you, like me, who get the ratings mixed up sometimes:

******************************************
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) classifies fires into five general categories (U.S.):

* Class A fires are ordinary materials like burning paper, lumber, cardboard, plastics etc.

* Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, and common organic solvents used in the laboratory.

* Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment, such as appliances, switches, panel boxes, power tools, hot plates and stirrers. Water can be a dangerous extinguishing medium for class C fires because of the risk of electrical shock unless a specialized water mist extinguisher is used.

* Class D fires involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium as well as pyrophoric organometallic reagents such as alkyllithiums, Grignards and diethylzinc. These materials burn at high temperatures and will react violently with water, air, and/or other chemicals. Handle with care!!

* Class K fires are kitchen fires. This class was added to the NFPA portable extinguishers Standard 10 in 1998. Kitchen extinguishers installed before June 30, 1998 are "grandfathered" into the standard.
******************************************

So it would be nice if those Grior's systems were ABCK, but otherwise they seem to cover typical biodiesel stuff: electronics, plastics, lumber, flammable liquids.

But, "Dry chemical extinguishers can be quite corrosive to metals such as aluminum and are also potentially abrasive. ABC extinguishers are much more corrosive than BC extinguishers because the ammonium phosphate agent can undergo hydrolysis to form phosphoric acid and because the molten agent flows into minute cracks." So it sounds like once the thing goes off, best to just replace all your pumps and timers that got any dry powder on them, as they will soon corrode anyway.
 
Location: Southern WI, USA | Registered: May 18, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The bigger one would offer real protection for a pretty decent price.

To me, the small one is just too small. Like pissing on a forest fire. Five or six pounds can make a huge difference if you're there to aim it at the base of the fire right when it breaks out, but this doesn't aim and it's heat activated, so the fire is already going.

HTH,

troy
 
Location: north america somewhere close to the midwest, or not | Registered: May 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I would think that the bigger one is the way to go also...there a huge difference in the weight of material it holds. I will be ordering one here very shortly, probably this week.
It would be nice if it was abck, but for the price, it offers a whole lot of protection. As for the corrosive nature of the chemicals...its not like what we do now isnt corrosive any way. I would think that if it went off, once a fire was out, just neutralize with water or whatever. Even if it eats your equipment up, at least your whole building isnt burned down.
Thanks to everyone for all the insight.
 
Registered: May 13, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think that the ones Ryan suggested would do the job under the right conditions.

One of the issues would be the limited amount of powder discharged. The distance the fuseable link is from the heat source. If it's 8-10 feet or more above the fire it may take some time to melt the link and discharge the powder. The more time the bigger the fire. It also depends on the other combustibles in the area, the fire may choose to spread horizontally as well as vertically, the fire may very well flare back up if not watched or followed up with another agent. I like one of the other posters ideas of a smoke alarm. Alarms are cheep, reliable and would most likely go off before the sprinkler would.

The Griot's Garage system reminds me of the old glass extinguisher grenades and "automatic extinguishers" that were around in the lake 1800's and early 1900's. There is a reason why they aren't around anymore.

Another point, Ryan brought up was classes of fires. If you have a class "C" fire and disconnect the power or switch off the breaker it's now a class "A". That should be the first thing you do if at all possible. We will mainly be dealing with Class "A" and "B" fires that often have different methods of attack.Dry chem works well for "B" but not so good for "A". And water works great for "A" but can cause spreading of liquids and make things much worse. A foam extinguisher would cover both A and B

Ryan also stated what I had before about Dry chem being corrosive. When I was critical of PK+ it wasn't because its a poor product by any means. It's just such a dam mess, It's not like your discharging the dry chem on a road somewhere or on a runway (aircraft) where PK+ is mostly used. I mean this is your garage/home. And even if your garage does not burn down it could screw up everything in and near it. Although it's better then losing everything at this point we have the luxury of properly planning for a disaster.

So basically I would take the approach of early alarm, isolate the electrical, and remove the fuel from the fire which foam and water will do.

I'll look around on the net to see if I can find an extinguisher that has foam added or mixed in, and on the lower cost end.

-Raften, I would have the foam extinguishers serviced. chances are the foam product inside is past it's "exp. date" and there are now better types of foam out there.
 
Registered: July 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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