Containing dangerous gases in the EfW sector

Written by: Dave Archer | Published:

Dave Archer, trade division director of Hargreaves Ductwork, discusses the importance of specifying and installing a bespoke and compliant ventilation and odour control solution for the energy from waste (EfW) sector.

In many hazardous areas containing dangerous gases, such as hydrogen and carbon monoxide, a bespoke quality solution, more specifically, the ventilation system, will ensure control and containment for atmosphere sensitive areas, providing a high level of safety for all employees.

However, despite the important part it plays, ventilation is a building system that can sometimes be overlooked by many construction companies and building managers. To guarantee safety, it is essential ventilation systems are given significant consideration prior to installation, particularly in relation to quality, performance and safety at all stages of design, manufacture and commissioning.

The only way to ensure quality standards are met is by using a series of advanced manufacturing and service procedures throughout the project, with numerous review and validation stages, alongside a programme of performance analysis provided by the ventilation solution supplier.

Importance of welding

Within the EfW sector, the most important safety aspect of a ventilation solution is welding, which lies at the heart of the quality manufacturing process. Even though the design of the ventilation solution and the materials will impact quality, the integrity of the welding process will determine how the system performs throughout its lifetime.

All welding processes must be controlled through qualified welding procedure specifications (WPS) in accordance with BS-EN-ISO-15609-1 and BS-EN-ISO-15614-1, witnessed and certified by a UKAS accredited test body.

Each welder must be able to demonstrate their ability to comply with a WPS through qualification in accordance with BS-EN-ISO-9606-1.

It’s not just the welding process and welder that needs to be compliant. Throughout each stage of the manufacturing process, detailed records should be supplied to the contractor which includes raw material traceability, inspection records, testing and completions. For further clarity, prior to installation, companies should also expect to be provided with reports on feasibility, concept, design, safety processes and computer models.

Compliance matters

Any company designing, manufacturing or installing ventilation into a potentially hazardous environment, needs to understand the importance of ventilation systems as a factor in containing and controlling harmful chemicals or fumes. The company needs to have a proven track record of compliance, including understanding all the industry safety regulations, alongside the latest safety procedures to follow when both on and off site.

Having skilled, competent and experienced staff, that understand the specific project requirements, national codes, standards and specifications in both the manufacture and installation processes for the EfW sector will assist in the process. Throughout the course of the project and even after its completion, named senior staff should be assigned to the facility, and in some specialist cases, as seen in other power generation projects, such as the nuclear sector, a dedicated team of engineers may be on site managing the needs of the project.

A quality ventilation solution can also assist in buildings that have a high risk of fire. It is the primary function of the ductwork installation to manage the spread of fire from one part of the facility to another. There are currently a host of specialist ranges of fire resistant ductwork designed, manufactured and engineered to meet the need for the safe removal of smoke and other products of combustion, minimising the risk of a fire becoming widespread across a building.

It is currently estimated that almost 23% of the UK’s renewable energy is produced by EfW plants, which continue to grow in number. Therefore, it is important facilities are matching the level of safety and compliance required to ensure ventilation and odour control ductwork systems are of the highest quality across all projects.

Hargreaves Ductwork is a UK-based provider of bespoke HVAC solutions, providing ventilation systems from concept design and fabrication through to installation and commission. Hargreaves’ portfolio includes the Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC), Crossrail, Portcullis House, Wembley Stadium and Sellafield.


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