Chalis Fire Engineering
Specialists in Fire Prevention
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Hypoxic systems are relatively new but have significant advantages, and are seen to be the future of protection in applications such as data centres, archives, museums, etc. Hypoxic systems work by injecting oxygen at a level of between 10% and 12% so that the ambient air is maintained typically at 15%. In such systems, a fire cannot start, and so they are often referred to as prevention systems. At sea level, 14.5% to 15% oxygen content is equivalent in human physiology to being at around 2,500m altitude, or in a commercial aeroplane.

With very rare exceptions this level is safe for use in occupied areas – in fact, more than 5 million people live at altitudes with the same or less equivalent oxygen. Hypoxic systems differ from nitrogen inject systems, in that the latter inject nitrogen (or atmosphere with less than 5% oxygen content), and therefore cannot be fail safe.

The hypoxic air is produced by forcing compressed air through a membrane that separates the nitrogen and oxygen molecules. The oxygen reduced air is then injected to the risk. Hypoxic systems have several major advantages over traditional extinguishing systems. Firstly, they operate 24/7 and a fire cannot start.

On an extinguishing system, a fire needs to be detected and the system needs to operate. If an extinguishing system has been poorly designed, installed or maintained it can fail, and this can only be determined at point of need. The more complicated the system (e.g. multiple areas), then the more likelihood of failure. A hypoxic system can cover multiple areas at the same time, all of the time, thereby avoiding the protection downtime that is usual following a discharge with gas extinguishing systems.

There is no cost of refill, and no business interruption during this process. There is no need for pressure relief or extensive pipe networks (the hypoxic air can be injected into a central duct, CRAC unit, or through room injection points), so the installation time is minimal as is the plant space required.

 

 


Hypoxic Systems

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Hypoxic Systems
Hypoxic Systems
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