Electric power components Energy systems Grid/Smartgrids Subsea

Cables aflame at 1100 °C to test fire resistance

SP Fire Research AS (SPFR) and SINTEF Energy have a “hot” cooperation. SPFR start a gas fire in their research stove and SINTEF Energy rigs up a high voltage power supply. A cable manufacturer has developed a novel fire-resistant high voltage cable and wants to test the performance. The cable is supposed to withstand 1100 °C for at least 30 minutes at service voltage…without failure.

Fire-resistant cables are often required and at some locations the requirements include what is called hydrocarbon fire, i.e. risk of burning oil and gas. Typical locations are offshore, ships and processing plants. The usual way to protect cables in such areas is to “box” them in, which is terribly expensive due to extra weight, volume, ventilation and maintenance.

If the cable itself had adequate fire protection, it would revolutionize this market.

Standards for fire protection (e.g. IEC TS 606) only cover low voltage cables. A couple of months ago SPFR and SINTEF Energy probably performed world’s first HC fire test of a cable at 8.7 kV. The test result was promising and this is undoubtedly the future for increasing fire safety in HC zones. As the standards are developed for higher voltages, SPFR and SINTEF Energy are ready to light the fire and contribute with our facilities and expertise!

Test cables after completion of the HC fire test.
Test cables after completion of the HC fire test. The fire protection is damaged but the cables passed the test requirement of functioned for 30 minutes at 1100 °C.

Development of fire resistant cables is expected to reach for Jet-Fire zones, which is defined to 1300 °C. Fire testing at these levels will not be less demanding, either for the test department or the cable manufacturers…

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