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ESG and Impact Investing Focus: Pi Foam

SFPRD’s “green” fire extinguishing technology



Swiss Fire Protection Research and Development AG (SFPRD) offers a Pressurised Instant Foam (Pi Foam) fire protection system technology for full surface fires, on large diameter atmospheric storage tanks used in many industries. “Combustible fluids can cause fires in a wide range of sectors, from oil and gas, to pharmaceuticals, chemicals, foods, vegetable oils and the military. We have tested our system on a number of different combustible liquids. For instance, special dry foams are used for vegetable oil, to protect the product,” says SFPRD Director, Andras T. Peller.

Fires on oil storage tanks have attracted most attention. They have consumed millions of cubic metres of fuel, cost billions of dollars and hundreds of lives, with corporate costs of financial market impacts and brand impairment – and social costs of environmental damage.

The frequency of these incidents is increasing. Causes include natural disasters, operational errors, equipment failures, leaks and ruptures, floating roof sinks, static electricity, open flames, maintenance work, and sabotage – but lightning is the largest culprit, responsible for 33% of tank fires, according to SFPRD. As climate change increases extreme weather conditions, lightning strikes are becoming more common. For example, a 2014 study by David Romps, Earth Sciences Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, forecast a 50% increase in lightning strikes due to global warming. The intensity of storms and strikes is rising, with more hectic weather leading to more lightning strikes, sparking off many types of fires, including those in storage tanks. Fires can attack the tanks, and nearby areas such as dikes, pump stations, and auxiliary parts.

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