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Case Study: Riffgat

Holistic fire protection ensures safety in the substation at Riffgat wind farm

Since 2014, WAGNER has been equipping the 36 m high substation of the Riffgat offshore wind farm of EWE and ENOVA in the German North Sea with a state-of-the-art fire protection solution. The entire fire protection portfolio of the fire protection expert,consisting of early fire detection, fire extinguishing, fire prevention by means of oxygen reduction system and a hazard management solution for organizational fire protection measures, is being used. The systems were installed in accordance with German standards, DIN VdE 0833, VdS 2380 and VdS 3527.

Offshore wind farms are unmanned. Their difficult accessibility necessitates a fire protection solution that operates autonomously and independently of the time of arrival of emergency services. The substation is the central hub of the entire offshore installation and requires special consideration with regard to adequate fire protection. WAGNER offers a fire protection solution for this.

An offshore wind farm forms a closed power grid in the middle of the sea. In order to channel the energy generated by the individual wind turbines and feed it to the substation at sea, all the wind farm's turbines had to be interconnected by submarine cables. A total of almost 25 km of submarine cables of various power ratings were laid to transmit data and control the Riffgat turbines, all of which ultimately converge at the substation. An approximately 80 km long 155 kV link, known as the export route, ultimately transmits the generated power from the wind farm's substation to the Emden/Borkum substation on the mainland, from where the power is then fed into the German 220 kV grid.

The 6 km² offshore wind farm is located 15 km northwest of Borkum, Germany. It consists of 30 wind turbines. The 450-million-euro plant, which has a capacity of 108 MW, supplies around 120,000 households with climate-friendly energy. It is a joint project of the Oldenburg-based energy and telecommunications group EWE AG and the ENOVA group of companies.

Protected areas where the fire department cannot reach

Risk Analysis

  • Electrics
    Various electrical components in control and air-conditioning rooms on the station pose the main risk of fire occurrence.
  • Distance
    Due to the location of the offshore wind farm far away from the usual rescue infrastructure, an external intervention in case of fire is difficult.

Protection Goals

  • Function maintenance
    A fire-related malfunction or even failure would bring the wind farm's productivity to a complete standstill.
  • Operating sequence
    Fire-related de-energization in the substation must be avoided, therefore water and/or foam-based extinguishing agents are out of the question.
  • No disturbances
    False alarms and unnecessary disturbances, which could bring the power production of the wind farm to a standstill, must be avoided.
  • Object protection
    The start or spread of fires is to be prevented in order to minimize the extent of damage to the project, which is worth millions.

All-round protection thanks to holistic fire protection solution

The wind farm substation is protected against fires all around by protection systems for early fire detection, fire prevention and fire extinguishing as well as the  hazard management from the mainland.

The fire protection concept is based on TITANUS® aspirating smoke detectors for early fire detection. The aspirating smoke detection system is installed in various areas of the plant and continuously takes samples from the ambient air. These are analyzed for smoke particles. The system is highly sensitive, reacts up to 2,000 times earlier than conventional point detectors and is free of false alarms.

If the aspirating smoke detectors detect a fire, the FirExting® fire extinguishing system is used: the nitrogen stored in several extinguishing agent containers at the substation is flooded into the protected area. This is referred to as a rapid reduction in the oxygen level. Further oxygen supply is thus cut off and the fire is consequently smothered. 

Since an extinguishing system can only extinguish fires over a certain period of time, the OxyReduct® fire prevention system is used after the rapid drawdown. Since the system extracts nitrogen from the ambient air itself on site using membrane technology, the low oxygen level in the protected area can be maintained for any length of time - even for days if necessary. Any remaining smoldering fire or re-ignition can thus be avoided.

To ensure that no incident at the manned substation goes unnoticed, all fire protection equipment is integrated into the VisuLAN® organization and hazard management system. All messages from the TITANUS® aspirating smoke detectors, such as info alarms, pre-alarms and the main alarm in dual-detector dependency, are recorded here and trigger specific actions defined in advance. In addition, the system documents all incidents related to the fire protection system. VisuLAN®  thus also provides valuable information when processing a fire case.

Customer Benefits

  • Highest sensitivity
    TITANUS® aspirating smoke detectors meet the highest requirements in fire detection.
  • Self-sufficient
    Our fire protection solution protects the substation holistically and functions completely autonomously.
  • Availability
    The systems are continuously monitored from the mainland by the VisuLAN® hazard management system. Remote diagnosis is thus possible at any time.
  • Residue-free
    The extinguishing agent nitrogen is distributed homogeneously in the room, thus extinguishing very effectively and completely residue-free.

Customer Testimonial

Michael Kind, former Branch Manager North, WAGNER Deutschland GmbH

The fact that we can offer a wide range of products - from highly sensitive fire detection and gas extinguishing systems to fire prevention - combined with the associated decades of experience quickly convinced EWE and ENOVA.


Standard fire protection solutions often represent only basic equipment. WAGNER, on the other hand, develops finely tuned fire protection solutions to match the customer's requirements or fire risks and protection goals. Are you interested?

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