WP10 provide more efficient, effective and safe fire extinguishment in ro-ro spaces, regardless of the type or size space and with less crew dependence.
Fire protection systems for ro-ro spaces and weather decks
The focus of WP10 is modern fire protection system for ro-ro spaces and weather decks. One of the tasks is to investigate how a supplementary water-based fire protection system can be designed and installed. The second area of focus of WP10 is to research, analyse and test innovative fire protection solutions for open weather decks on ro-ro ships. The third task is to improve fire test procedures for alternative fixed-installed water-based fire protection systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces.
The WP10 team have the following objectives on the agenda:
1. Develop and demonstrate feasible (cost and weight) high-efficient water-based fire protection system solutions for closed ro-ro spaces on vehicle carriers, that supplements the total-flooding Carbon Dioxide system typically used.
2. Develop and demonstrate feasible and effective fire suppression solutions for weather decks.
3. Establish a harmonized performance level for alternative fixed-installed water-based fire protection systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces.
Supplementary fire protection systems for vehicle carriers
Ro-ro spaces on vehicle carriers are typically protected by a total-flooding Carbon Dioxide system. Such systems have many benefits. If properly designed, it acts as an effective fire suppressant, it is also colourless, odourless, electrically non-conductive, and leaves no residue. But there is one important drawback. In order for Carbon Dioxide to suppress a fire, it must displace oxygen. When doing this, oxygen levels inside the space are lowered to a point that is lethal to humans.
Due to toxicity of Carbon Dioxide, systems are best suited for spaces that are unoccupied most of the time and any crew member need to evacuate the space prior a discharge. Therefore, there could be a considerable time delay from the start of a fire until the Carbon Dioxide system is discharged.
A supplementary water-based fire protection system, that is automatically activated at an early stage of the fire could limit the size of a vehicle fire and prevent or delay it from spreading. This would allow more time to safely manually fight or to discharge the Carbon Dioxide system.
The supplementary water-based fire protection systems that are studied in WP10 include traditional fire sprinkler systems and Compressed Air Foam Systems (CAFS). The systems exist on the market, but WP10 will investigate how they can be adapted for this particular application. Fire testing have already been conducted. These tests have resulted in input on how to design the systems to provide fire suppression performance.
Fire testing of a sprinkler system.
Fire testing of a Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS).
Fire protection systems for weather decks
The second area of focus of WP10 is to research, analyse and test innovative fire protection solutions for open weather decks on ro-ro ships. Weather decks present unique fire detection and suppression challenges, which may benefit greatly from new technological fire detection and suppression solutions. In this context, initial tests of a fully autonomous fire monitor system have conducted. The primary goal of these initial tests was to determine the general viability of such a system for the protection of weather decks on ro-ro ships. The tests were successful in showing that an autonomous fire monitor system is indeed able to rapidly detect fires, accurately locate them, and successfully target them in a matter of seconds, and without any human involvement. Actual fires suppression tests will be conducted at a later stage of the project.
Testing of an autonomous fire monitor system, showing two fire monitors autonomously aiming at the same spot (fire test source).
Improved fire test procedures for alternative fire protection systems
The background of this task involves a concern that current fire test procedures for alternative fixed-installed water-based fire protection systems for ro-ro spaces and special category spaces are not appropriate. Concerns have been raised that the fire test scenarios do not reflect the severity of a fire that may occur in such spaces and the performance acceptance criteria is not sufficient. This task has not (2021) yet started.