Up to 39% of energy-related C02 emissions come from the construction industry. Let's think green.
Can Denmark support Southeast Asia's ambitions and initiatives for a green transition in transport infrastructure projects? Insights and opinion by VID Fire-Kill.
Kallang - Paya Lebar Expressway tunnel in Singapore – Low pressure watermist system
As much as 39 percent of all energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide come directly or indirectly from the construction industry. The need for green and sustainable thinking when planning transportation projects, such as road and rail tunnels and metro projects, is therefore immense. Even down to the smaller elements such as environmentally friendly fire protection systems.
In Singapore, we find the 9km long Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE). Seamlessly linked to the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) (3.5 km tunnel), it makes for one of the longest urban road tunnels in Southeast Asia. Being implemented in different phases, the KPE tunnel was not equipped with any fire suppression system, whereas the MCE tunnel is equipped with a deluge fire suppression system.
With the intent to allow Heavy Goods Vehicles through both tunnels, Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) decided to equip the KPE tunnel with a fixed fire suppression system as well - in the form of a low pressure watermist fire suppression system. The rationale for adopting a low pressure watermist fire suppression system, as opposed to extending the deluge fixed fire suppression system, was to minimize the infrastructure impact to the existing KPE tunnel.
Besides the infrastructure impact, conventional sprinkler and deluge systems require larger water reservoirs and drainage due to their higher water density rate. They require larger pumps and power requirements compared to a low pressure watermist system. So what can we do?
Strategies to minimize CO2 footprint
By taking a holistic look at the operating energy consumption for a total transportation project and by identifying where to optimize/reduce the CO2 footprint, the following components obviously play a major part:
Pumps: hydrants, drainage & fire fighting
Ventilation: normal & fire operation
Other safety systems: detection, communication, etc.
Here, pumps and ventilation consume most of the energy e.g., in a tunnel project:
Drainage pumps are separate systems. However, by minimizing drainage water by, for example, installing a Fixed Fire Fighting System with low water density will result in less water needs to be drained. This allows for space optimization of the tunnel cross section/ducts, and, in addition, smaller water storage tanks/buildings.
Fire pumps for hydrants are typically also separate systems. Though, by combining the fire hydrant system with the Fixed Fire Fighting System utilizing the same pumps and water-main supply, substantially huge savings could be achieved not only in operating costs and maintenance, but also in initial cost by decreasing the number of pumps and pipes.
Ventilation is a crucial part of the overall safety system in a tunnel. There are several measures that must be taken into consideration when aiming to optimizing or reducing the CO2 footprint.
When installing a fixed firefighting system, the effect or the number of jet fans could be significantly reduced by typically 30-50%, e.g., a potentially 250 MW heavy goods vehicle fire could be suppressed to 30 MW.
Also, when looking at the total CO2 footprint for transportation projects, then
several of the above-mentioned “green” initiatives do not always produce an immediate pay-back. However, with a more holistic long term and environmental perspective of the whole-life costing cycle and calculation including the environmental perspectives, the benefits become obvious. It is often not only the economic output that makes sense, but also the societal perspective when reducing CO2 emissions and thereby creating a cleaner and more sustainable society for people to live in.
The insight is written by community member VID Fire-Kill. VID Fire-Kill is a Danish world leading innovative developer and manufacturer of fixed water-based firefighting systems. Headquartered in Denmark, a country known for being a front-runner in green solutions and innovations, VID Fire-Kill aims to minimize environmental impact by utilizing environmentally friendly water-based firefighting methods such as Low Pressure Watermist technology.
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