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Early-warning tool to prevent stockpile fires

United Kingdom – What is claimed to be a new solution for preventing fires at recycling facilities and scrap yards has been launched in the UK. PREVENTiT monitors rising temperatures in stockpiles, enabling operators to take action before materials ignite.

Fire at waste and recycling facilities is a huge problem for the industry and has prompted the UK’s Environment Agency to issue new requirements for yard operators.

On average, a fire breaks out at a UK waste management site once a day, with the most common cause being spontaneous combustion rather than human error as heat generated within the stockpile builds up and ultimately leads to ignition.

According to Soil & Land Consultants, the company behind PREVENTiT, the problem faced by site operators is that they ‘simply don’t know what is happening within their stockpiles and where the danger areas are’. PREVENTiT is the result of a 12-month research and development project at a major biomass site which was aimed at investigating the problem and creating a solution.

PREVENTiT consists of a disposable sensor cable which is laid across material at various points as the pile grows in height. The sensors in the cable monitor temperatures and real-time information is then transmitted wirelessly from the monitoring unit to a PC.
When any area of the pile approaches dangerous temperature levels, the alarm activates so that operators know exactly when to rotate or move stock in order to combat the risk of fire.

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