Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System (NIFPS) for Oil filled Power Transformer

What is Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System (NIFPS)?

Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System (NIFPS) is a fire protection system which prevent oil tank explosion or rupture and possible oil fire in event of minor nature of arcing due to internal faults in Oil filled Power transformer.

It also prevent damage to transformer and accessories in case of fire by external causes such as bushing fire, OLTC fire, fire from surrounding equipment etc.

Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System

Important equipment and devices of The Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System

  • Fire Extinguishing Cubicle (FEC) with pressurized Nitrogen Cylinder
  • Control Box for NIFPS
  • Fire Detector or Linear Heat detectors on top cover of the transformer
  • Transformer Conservator Isolation Valve (TCIV) between Buchholz relay and Conservator
  • Signal box on transformer
  • Interconnecting piping between fire extinguishing cubicle to transformer tank for Oil Drain and Nitrogen Injection
  • Cabling between signal box to control box and from control box to fire extinguishing cubicle as well as from fire detector to signal box/control box/FEC including supply of required type of Copper Conductor, armoured fire survival cables of 1.1kV voltage grade

Working Principle of Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System (NIFPS)

The system shall have Fire Extinguishing Cubicle (FEC) placed on a plinth at a distance of 5-10 m away from transformer or placed next to the fire wall.

The FEC shall be connected to the top of transformer main oil tank for depressurization of tank and to the oil pit (capacity is approximately equal to 10% of total volume of oil in transformer) from its bottom through oil pipes. The fire extinguishing cubicle shall house a pressurized nitrogen cylinder which is connected to the oil tank of transformer at bottom.

The transformer Conservator Isolation Valve (TCIV) is provided between the conservator tank and Buchholz relay.

Cable connections are to be provided from signal box to the control box, from control box to fire extinguishing cubicle and from TCIV to signal box.

Fire detectors placed on the top of transformer tank are to be connected in parallel to the signal box by Fire survival cables.

Control box shall be connected to High Voltage switchgear located in substation for receiving system activation signals.

Earth points shall be provided on control box and Fire Extinguisher cubicle and shall be verified for system isolation.

Operation philosophy of Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System (NIFPS)

The automatic Detection & Extinguishing System shall be designed such that in the event of fire occurring at any place on transformer, it shall be detected by fire detectors fitted on the top of transformer.

Fire shall be quenched within 3 minutes (maximum) of system activation and within 30 seconds (maximum) of commencement of nitrogen injection.

Fire detection signals are received from signal box to relay panel in control box for system activation. On receipt of all activating signals, the system shall drain predetermined volume of hot oil from the top of tank, through transformer top oil filtration valve to reduce tank pressure by removing top oil and simultaneously injecting Nitrogen gas at high pressure for stirring the oil at pre-fixed rate and thus bringing the temperature of top layer down.

Transformer Conservator Isolation Valve blocks the flow of oil from conservator tank in case of actuation of NIFPS.

Nitrogen occupies the space formed by oil drained out and acts as an insulating coat over oil in the tank and consequently preventing aggravation of fire.

Potential free terminal connection for transformer isolation circuit breakers, differential relay, buchholz relay, PRV, oil surge relays shall be connected directly from switchgear located in nearest substation to the Control Box.

The control system shall be intelligent automatic self-sufficient system without any external control/logic from DCS/PLC.

The system shall be connected to Electrical Control system for display of “Fire”, “Fault” and “Cylinder Pressure Low” signals.

The above stated signals, common for each transformer shall be terminated in the junction box.

Additionally, for monitoring the health of each nitrogen cylinder, the system shall be in a position to reflect the cylinder pressure uniquely by pressure gauge locally.

Also, the signals from the pressure switch for the same shall also terminate in a junction box.

Logic diagram and P&IDs for the nitrogen injection system shall clearly indicate the operation of the system.

Activation and Control system Philosophy of Nitrogen Injection Fire Protection System (NIFPS)

The activation and control signals of nitrogen fire protection system shaft be designed in a way to achieve zero probability of malfunctioning of fire prevention and extinguishing system to avoid any chances of interruption in power supply.

The NIFPS shall be provided with automatic control for fire prevention and fire extinction. Remote electrical push button control at Control Box and local manual control in the fire extinguishing cubicle shall also be provided additionally.

The following electrical-signals shall be required for activating the fire protective system under prevention mode and fire extinguishing mode.

Auto Mode

For prevention of fire:

— Differential relay operation

— Buchholz relay paralleled with pressure relief valve, oil surge relays

— Tripping of all circuit breakers (on Primary & secondary side) associated with transformer is the pre-requisite for activation of system.

For extinguishing fire:

— Fire detector or Linear heat detectors (LHD)

— Buchholz relay paralleled with pressure relief valve, oil surge relays

— Tripping of all circuit breakers (on HV &LV side) associated with transformer is the prerequisite for activation of system.

Manual Mode

Local & Remote

— Tripping of all circuit breakers (on HV & LV side) associated with transformer is the prerequisite for activation of system.

Mechanical

— Tripping of all circuit breakers (on HV &LV side) associated with transformer is the prerequisite for activation of system.

— The system shall be designed to be operated manually in case of failure of power supply to fire protection system.

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This Post Has 30 Comments

  1. CORNELIS ALBERT HUGO VERKERKE

    As per applicable standard, like the IEC or NFPA, when having this system, then no need for any other system to fight a feasible oil fire, caused by external factors? – e.g. applying a water-mist system or equivalent? – in case no need, could you refer to applicable standards, please?

  2. Can I set the transformer protector to out of service while energized? If so, what are the preparatory steps if there are, so that the transformer wont trip? Thank you.

  3. What are the preparatory steps to be done before setting to “out of service” in the control panel of an energized transformer?Our HICO brand 100mva transformer was intalled in 2009 with TPC transformer protector, but we were left without training and operation manual.

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