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Fire Safety

A six kilo dry powder extinguisher for unexpected situations.

General Cleanliness

Fire safety starts with caution and cleanliness. When biofuels are burned, always some dust gets into the boiler room, no matter what equipment is used.

General cleanliness in a heating centre is important, because on hot surfaces dust can self-ignite already at 150–200 Celsius degrees. No flammable substances are to be kept or stored in the boiler room. A boiler room can be a cosy hobby room, but not a junk storage.

Fire Safety Requirements and Factors to Consider

Several factors in a heating plant have to be considered to secure safety and functionality. The chimney has to extract properly so that there is negative pressure in the boiler. Reliable and optimal extraction is extremely important when solid biofuels are burned. Insufficient negative pressure may cause a risk of backburn.

The boiler room must have a make-up air duct, and the size of it must be minimum 1,5 times the size of the chimney tube to ensure sufficient ventilation. Also a dry powder extinguisher should be available in the boiler room and a connected water hose. The hose must be long enough to reach behind the boiler, and it must be easily accessible.

What comes to fire safety, the best solution is to build or locate a separate heating centre at minimum eight metres distance from other buildings. This way the demands for structural fire safety are lower: there are no requirements of compartmentation of outer walls and roof. Only the heating boiler and fuel storage must be separated from each other with EI-30 –classified structures. The floor must be incombustible.   

It is wise to contact your local fire inspector already when you are designing a bio heating plant. This way attention is paid to all fire safety aspects already in the beginning, and chances for unfortunate surprises are minimized.

The Feeding System Equipment

A feeding system must have at least two independent security systems, the purpose of which is to prevent a possible backburn, which means that fire or combustion gas is released into the fuel storage.

One of the security systems must be a fire extinguishing system connected to the feeding system, which will work in all circumstances, also during power cuts. The other security measure is, depending on the feeding systems, a rotary feeding system or a drop shaft system. Alternatively it can be an airproof, covered fuel tank.

Manufacturers are happy to give more information about their products and what fire safety qualities they possess. Ask also from other experts about fire safety. For example Tukes (Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency) has published a guide (in Finnish) which can be found at http://www.tukes.fi/Tiedostot/painelaitteet/esitteet_ja_oppaat/Kattilaopas.pdf.

Rotary feeding system with an accessory AVTA, temperature-controlled water valve.

Main shut valve of the piping which goes to the fuel storage. This is easy and accessible to use whenever needed.


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