Dangerous Gas Emissions from Back-Up Power Generators

The Background

Back-up power generators are fundamental to maintain a power supply in the event of a power outage. With any engine that produces exhaust emissions, gas detection equipment should be used to detect an unsafe level of gas that could potentially pose a danger to people or the facility.

a1-cbiss have completed a gas detection installation project for a multi-national energy from waste company. At their facility, they have several large diesel powered back-up power generators to keep the site running in the event of a power outage. These large back-up generators are housed in a small out-building with the exhausts being fed out into the atmosphere.

The Challenge 

Following a risk-assessment, the site identified that the exhaust fumes from the power generator could pose a danger to workers. If the exhaust pipe failed or leaked, then high levels of Carbon Monoxide from the diesel fumes could accumulate in the room.

The site had no Carbon Monoxide monitoring in the room, so anyone working in or entering the room would have had no notice of the gas levels or if it was unsafe to enter. Carbon Monoxide has a TWA of 35ppm and STEL of 200ppm.

The site wanted to have a gas detection system installed that would provide a warning for the threat of increasing gas levels, a warning for unsafe levels and data logging to show long-term trending data.

The Solution

The site contacted a1-cbiss to specify, design and install a fixed gas detection system.

Following a thorough site survey conducted by a technical advisor and install manager, a1-cbiss discussed the gas detection equipment that was most effective for the site needs.

To effectively activate an alarm inside and outside the building, local gas sensors were needed inside the building close to the source of emissions. A gas controller is also required to activate alarms.

a1-cbiss installed an Oldham MX43 gas controller due to its flexibility and market leading features plus its I/O capabilities for several sensor inputs. The MX43 gas controller is connected to the Oldham OLCT100 Carbon Monoxide sensors. a1-cbiss chose the OLCT100 as it is robust, reliable and suitable for heavy industry.

The gas detection system is designed to activate an alarm inside and outside the building. Due to the loud environment, a visual flashing alarm beacon will be utilised alongside an audible alarm to warn site employees before they enter the building. The external alarm will provide a warning that there is an issue and suitable precautions should be taken i.e. breathing apparatus should be worn to enter the area. The internal alarm warning will alert workers to vacate the area.

a1-cbiss provide the full gas detection offering including service contracts. For this project, a1-cbiss are providing a service contract which includes two visits per year to carry out system functionality checks and gas sensor calibrations.

Following the completion of the project, the site manager is happy with the support from a1-cbiss, particularly taking care of the project and maintaining open communications with project progression. The site manager felt confident that a1-cbiss would deliver exactly what was needed after discussing the project with the onsite team (the people who work with the power generators) and having the right people conducting the site survey to advise what’s needed. 

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