What You Need to Know About Detecting Hydrogen Flames

In the world of industrial safety, we’re surrounded by hazardous materials and volatile substances, so having reliable detection systems is vital. One area that really stands out is being able to spot hydrogen flames early on, because they can lead to some serious incidents. Understanding the importance of detecting these flames and using advanced tools like the Crowcon FGard H2 Multi Spectrum IR Hydrogen Flame Detector is essential for keeping both people and assets safe in various industries. 

Safety Considerations with Hydrogen Flame Detection 

Hydrogen, with its wide range of industrial applications, is a highly flammable gas. It is heavily used in sectors such as chemical processing, energy production, and manufacturing. However, its combustibility also poses significant risks, as hydrogen fires can escalate rapidly, that can lead to catastrophic consequences if not promptly detected and mitigated. 

Hydrogen flames emit radiation predominantly in the infrared spectrum, meaning traditional methods of flame detection may not always be effective in promptly identifying hydrogen flames due to the unique characteristics of hydrogen combustion. As a result, specialised hydrogen flame detectors are necessary to ensure swift and accurate detection. 

Advanced Hydrogen Flame Detection Solution 

 When you need reliable hydrogen flame detection, look no further than our FGard H2. It’s been designed to excel in detecting hydrogen fires, offering exceptional sensitivity and responsiveness. Independently tested and validated, it demonstrates the ability to detect hydrogen plume fires at remarkable distances, providing early warning within seconds. With a detection range of up to 40 meters (131 feet), the FGard H2 ensures proactive detection, enabling swift action to mitigate potential hazards effectively. 

At the heart of the FGard H2 lies sophisticated hydrogen flame detection algorithms, meticulously developed to optimise performance while minimising false alarms. Detecting the unique characteristics of hydrogen flames, the detector offers unparalleled accuracy, distinguishing between genuine threats and environmental interferences with precision. This advanced algorithmic approach enhances operational efficiency, reducing downtime and maintenance costs associated with false alarms. 

In industrial settings where hazardous conditions prevail, reliability and durability are non-negotiable. Engineered to withstand harsh operating environments, FGard H2 features an explosion-proof design that ensures resilience in the face of challenging conditions. Built to meet stringent safety standards, including ATEX and IECEx certifications, this detector provides peace of mind, even in the most demanding applications. 

Hydrogen Flame Detection Safeguards Lives 

The importance of hydrogen flame detection cannot be overstated in industries where hydrogen is present. Timely detection of hydrogen fires is essential for preventing accidents, protecting personnel, and preserving critical assets. The Crowcon FGard H2 Multi Spectrum IR Hydrogen Flame Detector emerges as a beacon of safety, offering unmatched performance, reliability, and precision in hydrogen flame detection. 

By investing in advanced detection solutions like the FGard H2, industries can fortify their safety protocols, mitigate risks, and uphold their commitment to operational excellence and personnel’s well-being. With its exceptional capabilities and unwavering reliability, the FGard H2 stands as a testament to Crowcon’s dedication to innovation and safety in hazardous environments. 

For more information about the FGard H2 or hydrogen flame detection, get in contact.

The Importance of Portable Detectors in Battery Energy Storage

Within battery energy storage, ensuring the safety of workers from the risks of battery fires and hazardous gases remains vital. The absence of early detection can expose personnel to unforeseen dangers, potentially resulting in catastrophic consequences. By investing in advanced gas detection technologies, you will be safeguarding your assets. 

Without the ability to detect gases early on, workers may unknowingly enter unsafe environments increasing the likelihood of severe injuries or fatalities. Overall, the absence of early gas detection significantly heightens the potential for catastrophic outcomes in battery energy storage incidents, underscoring the critical importance of investing in reliable gas detection technologies like the T4x to safeguard personnel and assets alike. 

T4x: The Optimal Solution for Personal Safety 

Within these challenges, the importance of portable detectors in ensuring personal safety cannot be overstated. T4x is the best solution for detecting hazardous and monitoring residual gases to workers in battery energy storage. Equipped with advanced sensor technology and intuitive user interface, the T4x offers real-time monitoring of gas concentrations, allowing workers to promptly respond to changing conditions and mitigate risks effectively. 

Moreover, the T4x is designed with the specific needs of battery energy storage in mind, featuring rugged construction, long battery life, and intrinsically safe design to withstand the rigours of hazardous environments. Its compact size and lightweight design make it easy to carry and deploy in the field, ensuring that workers have access to reliable gas detection wherever they go.  

Personal protection is crucial for providing safety in battery energy storage. Portable detectors, such as the T4x, play a crucial role in safeguarding the health and safety of workers by detecting hazardous gases and providing early warning of potential dangers. By investing in advanced detection technology and prioritising worker safety, organisations can mitigate risks and ensure a safe battery energy storage environment. 

Want to know more about how Crowcon can help provide personal protection in battery energy storage? Visit our website or click here to get in touch for an obligation-free chat with a member of our team.  

The Importance of Early Gas Detection in Battery Storage

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the rise of lithium-ion batteries has revolutionised the energy landscape. These compact powerhouses have helped shift our society away from complete fossil fuel dependence, powering the rise of electric vehicles and enabling us to store renewable energy on a previously impossible scale. However, lithium-ion batteries are not an entirely risk-free energy source and can be volatile, which is a cause for concern for battery energy storage systems (BESS) who need to safeguard people – and their assets – from danger.

The Explosive Rise of Batteries

With the rise in lithium-ion batteries, has come a rise in high-profile cases of thermal runaway causing extraordinary damage through explosive fires, causing untold harm to the local environment, as well as eye-watering repair costs. Indeed, the widely-known risks of toxic thermal runaway has caused some pushback against the establishing of BESS sites, making it of paramount importance that battery energy supply can be made demonstrably safer.

Thermal runaway, characterised by uncontrolled heat generation and rapid battery failure, can lead to catastrophic consequences such as fires and explosions. What’s more, as heat can trigger thermal runaway in other batteries, the failure of one can lead to the failure of many, compounding the potential damage cost. While BESS insurers are well aware of such a risk, and have stipulations in place regarding fire, once fire has broken out the damage is already done. Prevention is always better than the cure, and so as suppliers and stakeholders in the lithium-ion battery industry, it’s imperative we address these risks head-on and prioritise safety measures to protect both assets and lives.

The Need for Early Gas Detection

Fortunately, FM Global and UL, two of the world’s largest public safety testing labs, have recognised the importance of gas detection in mitigating the risks associated with lithium-ion battery storage. Their documentation and standards serve as a testament to the critical role that early gas detection plays in ensuring the safety and reliability of energy storage systems. By adhering to these guidelines and implementing comprehensive gas detection strategies, suppliers can bolster their safety protocols and instil confidence in their products.

One of the key indicators of an impending thermal runaway event is the off-gassing from the compounds within the battery. As the internal components degrade or are subjected to extreme conditions, gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen may be released, as well as other flammable gases ethylene and propylene. Detecting these gases early is critical, as it provides an opportunity to intervene before the situation escalates further, averting potential disasters. However, ensuring your gas detection system is able to recognise the wide variety of toxic and combustible gases accurately without getting poisoned is crucial. If it’s not accurate, it’s simply not effective and you’re putting your people and property at risk.

Cutting-Edge Gas Detection

While the importance of fire safety and suppression systems in mitigating the risks of lithium-ion battery fires is well-documented, the significance of gas detection systems is often overlooked. Unlike fires, which are often visible and generate smoke, gas emissions can go unnoticed until it’s too late. This gap in awareness underscores the need for robust gas detection solutions to complement existing safety protocols.

Crowcon’s patented MPS™ technology, specifically designed to fill the void left by other gas sensors, offers a reliable and effective solution for detecting gas emissions at the earliest stages of battery failure. The MPS sensor uses advanced micro-pellistor technology to detect a wide range of gases with unparalleled sensitivity and accuracy, able to detect gases at extremely low concentrations, allowing for early intervention and prevention of thermal runaway events. Furthermore, its compact design and ease of integration make it an ideal choice for both new installations and retrofitting existing systems. With Crowcon’s MPS sensor, suppliers can proactively monitor gas emissions and take prompt action to mitigate risks, ensuring the safety and integrity of their lithium-ion battery storage solutions.

Safeguarding a Battery-Powered Future

The importance of early gas detection in battery storage cannot be overstated. Not only can the cost of failing to detect the early warning signs be devastating to your business, but as suppliers and stakeholders in the energy industry, it is our collective responsibility to prioritise safety and implement robust measures to mitigate risks. The only way to do this is through an innovative and rigorous approach to gas detection. By investing in advanced gas detection technologies, you will not only be safeguarding your assets, but the very future of energy storage, helping pave the way for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Contact the Crowcon team today to learn more about how their innovative solutions can enhance the safety and reliability of your battery storage systems. Together, let’s build a brighter and safer battery-powered future.

Battery Safety: What is Off-Gassing and Why Does it Occur​?

Batteries have become an integral part of our daily lives, powering everything from smartphones to electric vehicles. But have you ever considered the potential risks associated with the batteries that enable the seamless functioning of these devices? While advancements in battery technology have revolutionised the way we live, it’s crucial to explore the potential hazards these power sources pose.

Lithium-ion batteries are combustible and hazardous, with the potential of dangerous and explosive thermal runaway – which can not only have devastating consequences for the environment and property but can threaten human life. Therefore, it is important to understand the first signs of a possible disaster – off-gassing.

Understand Off-gassing: The Silent Emission

Off-gassing refers to the release of gases from lithium-ion batteries often as a result of abuse or misuse. When a battery is subjected to conditions such as overcharging, over-discharging, or physical damage, it can lead to the breakdown of internal components, causing the release of gases. These gases typically include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other volatile organic compounds – which can be toxic for anyone who may come in contact with them.

Explaining Off-gassing Dynamics:

Off-gassing dynamics differ based on battery setups. In enclosed setups like racks or small housings, off-gassing can accumulate within the confined space, increasing the risk of pressure buildup and ignition. In open setups, such as outdoor installations, off-gassing may dissipate more easily, but still poses risks in poorly ventilated areas.

How Off-gassing Occurs and the Timeline:

Although not always a guaranteed precursor to thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries, off-gassing events typically occur early in their failure. Thermal runaway occurs when a battery undergoes uncontrolled heating, leading to a rapid increase in temperature and pressure within the cell. This escalation can ultimately result in the battery catching fire or exploding, posing significant safety hazards.

The timeline for off-gassing can vary depending on the severity of the abuse and the type of battery. In some cases, off-gassing may occur gradually over time as the battery undergoes repeated stress, while in other instances, it may occur suddenly due to a single event, such as overcharging.

Factors in which Off-gassing can occur:

  • Physical Damage: Any damage to the battery, such as punctures or crushing, can cause internal components to degrade, leading to off-gassing.
  • Overcharging: Excessive charging can cause the decomposition of electrolytes within the battery, leading to gas generation.
  • Overheating: Like off-gassing, excessive heat can trigger thermal runaway by destabilising the battery’s internal chemistry.
  • Over-discharging: Discharging a battery beyond its recommended limit can also result in the release of gases.
  • Internal Short Circuits: Any malfunction that causes a short circuit within the battery can initiate thermal runaway.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Faulty manufacturing processes can introduce weaknesses in the battery structure, making it more susceptible to thermal runaway.

What are the dangers of Off-gassing buildup?

Off-gassing buildup can lead to the battery storage container turning into a pressure vessel that is just waiting for a spark to ignite. To mitigate this risk, it’s crucial to have a monitored ventilation system in place. Additionally, compliance with FM standards is essential, as BESS should maintain lower than 25% LFL or have a container that can open to vent gas, ensuring safety in case of off-gassing.

Why Early Detection of Off-gassing is Critical:

Early detection plays a critical role in preventing catastrophic battery incidents. By identifying signs of off-gassing at the onset, operators can intervene before the situation escalates into thermal runaway. Here’s why early detection is crucial:

  1. Preventative Maintenance: Early detection allows for timely maintenance and corrective action to address battery issues before they worsen. Routine monitoring of off-gassing can help identify underlying problems in battery systems, such as overcharging or internal damage, enabling proactive maintenance to mitigate risks.
  2. Risk Mitigation: Off-gassing serves as an early warning sign of potential battery failures. By monitoring off-gassing levels, operators can implement risk mitigation measures, such as adjusting charging parameters or isolating malfunctioning batteries, to prevent thermal runaway and its associated hazards.
  3. Enhanced Safety: Timely detection of off-gassing enhances safety for both personnel and property. It provides an opportunity to evacuate affected areas, implement emergency protocols, and minimise the impact of battery-related incidents on surrounding environments. Additionally, early intervention reduces the likelihood of injuries and property damage resulting from thermal runaway events.
  4. Cost Savings: Detecting off-gassing early can help avoid costly repairs or replacements of damaged batteries and equipment. By addressing issues proactively, operators can extend the lifespan of batteries, optimise performance, and avoid unplanned downtime, resulting in significant cost savings over time.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Many regulatory standards and guidelines mandate the monitoring of off-gassing as part of battery safety protocols. Early detection ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and demonstrates a commitment to maintaining safe battery operations in accordance with industry standards.

Incorporating robust gas detection systems and technologies for early detection of off-gassing is essential for proactive risk management and maintaining the integrity of battery systems. By prioritising early detection, stakeholders can safeguard against potential hazards, minimise disruptions, and promote the safe and sustainable use of battery technology across various applications.

Click here to speak to us about safeguarding your business

For more information on battery safety, download our eBook ‘The Battery Boom: The Explosive Rise of Thermal Runaway and how you can prevent it’.

Get your FREE copy of ‘The Battery Boom’ eBook

A Battery Powered Future: The Rise of Lithium-ion batteries and what it means for sustainability efforts

As we collectively move towards a greener future in which the shift to sustainable energy solutions have become a core global socio-political issue, lithium-ion batteries have come centre stage as a possible solution. Thanks to their ability to store large amounts of energy in a comparatively lightweight and compact form, they have revolutionised everything from consumer wearables to electric vehicles. But to what extent is a battery-powered future truly the perfect energy solution we’ve been looking for?

Facilitating greener energy opportunities

The rise in lithium-ion batteries comes with a plethora of advantages as we shift away from fossil fuel dependence, contributing to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Particularly in relation to the electrification of transportation through electric vehicles (EVs). By powering EVs with clean electricity stored in batteries, the transportation sector can reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and decrease emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants. As the EV sector becomes more competitive, and with many governments incentivising the rise of EVs, battery technology advancements continue to improve the range, charging speed, and affordability of EVs, accelerating their adoption and further reducing reliance on internal combustion engine vehicles.

Lithium-ion batteries also play an increasingly crucial role in stabilising power grids, allowing the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into the electricity grid. The sun doesn’t always shine and it’s not always windy – but by storing excess energy generated during periods of high production and discharging it when needed, batteries facilitate a reliable supply of clean energy in a reliable, stable way which had previously been difficult to achieve. By optimising energy management and reducing losses associated with traditional energy systems, batteries contribute to more efficient and sustainable energy use across various sectors.

Just how green are lithium-ion batteries?

However, the increasing prevalence of batteries has come with its own set of environmental implications. The extraction and processing of the rare earth metals such as lithium and cobalt are often conducted under exploitative conditions in mining regions, and the extraction process can also have significant environmental impacts, including habitat destruction and water pollution. Furthermore, the disposal of lithium-ion batteries at the end of their life cycle also poses concerns about recycling and the potential for hazardous waste to leak into the environment.

However, there is another area of concern with lithium-ion batteries which, with their increased usage, has led to a rise in dangerous incidents: their volatile and combustible nature. Anyone who has seen thermal runaway of lithium-ion batteries cannot fail to recognise the risk attached to their increased use. Even the failure of small-scale lithium-ion consumer electronic device can cause deadly and devastating explosions and fires, which makes the storage and use of batteries on a larger scale in need of robust safety measures.

Risk management with lithium-ion batteries

Fortunately, there are ways of mitigating the risk attached to lithium-ion batteries. Commonly, Battery Management Systems (BMS) are used to monitor battery charge level, voltage, current and temperature- which can help identify issues with any batteries. However there is a more efficient and reliable way of detecting thermal runaway: gas detection.

Ahead of thermal runaway, the batteries undergo a process of ‘off-gassing’, in which increased quantities of toxic VOCs are released. By monitoring the gasses around the batteries, and signs of stress or damage can be identified before thermal runaway begins.

At present, many insurers focus on the risk of fire, encouraging Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) to have processes in place to ensure fires can be controlled and managed as quickly and effectively as possible. However, as lithium-ion batteries are highly sensitive to temperature, once a fire has begun in one battery, it is likely any other batteries in proximity will also be irrevocably damaged- or begin thermal runaway themselves. The solution is simple: identify the problems at the earliest possible stage through gas detection, and ensure fires can’t start in the first place to more robustly safeguard against disaster. 

You can’t put a price on safety

The cost attached to investing in sophisticated gas detection is negligible in contrast with the cost of fire – roughly 0.01% of the cost of a new project – making it an obvious choice for those seeking to mitigate risk with manufacturing, storing and using lithium-ion batteries. The damage to the property, cost to human health (and even life), alongside the harm caused to the natural environment with potential contamination issues following battery failure are all extensive and significant. Combined with the threat to maintaining a business on top of the damage control required, the need to avoid complicated and expensive clean-up operations is paramount. This is something the Crowcon team understand better than anyone.

Crowcon will work closely with you to ensure your business and personnel are as safe and secure as possible through cutting-edge gas detection technology, such as the MPS™ sensor. Our Molecular Property Spectrometer™ (MPS™) technology accurately detects over 15 hazardous gases in one, allowing for a higher standard of flammable gas detection and greater confidence in your battery safety.

Click here to speak to us about safeguarding your business

While realising the full potential of lithium-ion technology still requires addressing the environmental and social challenges associated with its production, maintenance and disposal, the increasing prevalence of lithium-ion batteries represents a significant step towards a more sustainable and cleaner energy future. Innovation in the maintenance and enhanced efficiency of renewable energy technologies, such as rechargeable batteries, is a crucial step in detaching society from dependence on fossil fuels. From powering our everyday devices to driving the transition to electric transportation and renewable energy, lithium-ion batteries are at the forefront of the sustainability revolution – and the Crowcon team are on hand to help make a greener and safer future for generations to come.

For more information on battery safety, download our eBook ‘The Battery Boom: The Explosive Rise of Thermal Runaway and how you can prevent it’.

Get your FREE copy of ‘The Battery Boom’ eBook

Want to know more about how Crowcon can help safeguard your business’ future with premier gas detection systems? Click here to get in touch for an obligation-free chat with a member of our team.

Water Treatment: The Need For Gas Detection In Detecting Chlorine

Water utility companies help provide clean water for drinking, bathing, and industrial and commercial uses. Wastewater treatment plants and sewage systems help keep our waterways clean and sanitary. Throughout the water industry, the risk of gas exposure and gas-associated hazards are considerable. Harmful gases can be found in water tanks, service reservoirs, pumping wells, treatment units, chemical storage and handling areas, sumps, sewers, overflows, boreholes, and manholes.

What Is Chlorine and Why Is It Dangerous

Chlorine (Cl2) gas appears yellow green in colour, used to sterilise drinking water. However, most chlorine is used in the chemical industry with typical applications including water treatment as well as within the plastics and cleaning agents. Chlorine gas can be recognised by its pungent, irritating odour, which is like the odour of bleach. The strong smell may provide adequate warning to people that they are exposed. Cl2 itself is not flammable, but it can react explosively or form flammable compounds with other chemicals such as turpentine and ammonia.

Chlorine gas can be recognised by its pungent, irritating odour, which is like the odour of bleach. The strong smell may provide adequate warning to people that they are exposed. Chlorine is toxic and if inhaled or drunk in concentrated quantities can prove fatal. If chlorine gas is released into the air, people may be exposed through their skin, eyes or through inhalation. Chlorine is not combustible however can react with most combustibles which poses a fire and explosion risk. It also reacts violently with organic compounds such as ammonia and hydrogen, causing potential fire and explosion.

What is Chlorine used for

Water chlorination began in Sweden during the 18th century with the purpose to remove odours from water. This method continued to be used solely to remove odours from water until 1890 when chlorine was identified as an effective substance for disinfection purposes. Chlorine was first used for disinfection purposes in Great Britain in the early 1900’s which over the next century chlorination became the more favoured method used for water treatment and is now used for water treatment in most countries worldwide.

Chlorination is a method that can disinfect water with high levels of microorganisms where either chlorine or substance that contain chlorine is used to oxidise and disinfect the water. Different processes can be used to achieve safe levels of chlorine in drinking water to prevent against waterborne diseases.

Why Do I Need To Detect Chlorine

Chlorine, being denser than air, tends to disperse throughout low-lying zones in poorly ventilated or stagnant areas. Although non-flammable by itself, chlorine can become explosive when in contact with substances like ammonia, hydrogen, natural gas, and turpentine.

The reaction of the human body to chlorine depends on several factors; the concentration of chlorine present in air, the duration and frequency of exposure. Effects are also dependant on the health of an individual and the environmental conditions during exposure. For example, when small amounts of chlorine are breathed in during short time periods, this can affect the respirational system. Other effects vary from coughing and chest pains, to fluid accumulation in the lungs, skin and eye irritations. To note, these effects do not take place under natural conditions.

Our solution

The use of a chlorine gas detector provides detection and measurement of this substance in the air to prevent any accidents. Equipped with an electrochemical chlorine sensor, a fixed, or portable, single gas or multi gas Cl2 detector will monitor chlorine concentration in the ambient air. We have a wide range of gas detection products to help you meet the demands of the water treatment industry.

Fixed gas detectors are ideal to monitor and alert water treatment plant managers and workers to the presence of all the major gas hazards. The fixed gas detectors can be permanently positioned inside water tanks, sewage systems, and any other areas that present a high risk of gas exposure.

Portable gas detectors are lightweight and robust wearable gas detection devices. The portable gas detectors sound and signal an alert to workers when gas levels are reaching dangerous concentrations, allowing action to be taken. Our Gasman, and Gas-Pro portables have reliable chlorine sensor options, for single gas monitoring and multi-gas monitoring.

Control panels can be applied to coordinate numerous fixed gas detection devices and provide a trigger for alarm systems.

For more information about gas detection within water and water treatment, or to explore more of Crowcon’s gas detection range, please get in touch.

Gas Hazards in Battery Power Storage

Batteries are effective at reducing power outages since they can also store excess traditional grid energy. The energy stored within batteries can be released whenever a large volume of power is needed, such as during a power failure at a data centre to prevent data being lost, or as a back-up power supply to a hospital or military application to ensure the continuity of vital services. Large scale batteries can also be used to plug short-term gaps in demand from the grid. These battery compositions can also be used in smaller sizes to power electric cars and may be further scaled down to power commercial products, such as phones, tablets, laptops, speakers and – of course – personal gas detectors.

Gas hazards

The main gas risk emitted by batteries, specifically lead acid batteries, is hydrogen. It is possible to get both hydrogen and oxygen evolved during charging however, a lead acid battery is likely to have catalytic recombination parts internally, so oxygen is less of a risk. Hydrogen is always a cause for concern, as it can collect and build up. A situation that is obviously worsened when they are charged in a space with a poor airflow.

When charging, lead-acid batteries consist of lead and oxide at the positive terminal, and of spongy lead at the negative anode, using concentrated sulfuric acid as the electrolyte. The presence of sulfuric acid is another cause for concern if the battery leaks or is ever damaged because concentrated acids harm people, metals and the environment.

When charging batteries also emit oxygen and hydrogen because of the electrolysis process. The levels of hydrogen produced soar when a lead acid battery cell “blows” or is unable to be charged properly. The amount of gas present is relevant because high levels of hydrogen make it highly explosive, even though it is not toxic. Hydrogen has a 100% lower explosive limit of 4.0% by volume, at which level an ignition source would cause fires or for hydrogen more usually, explosions. Fires and explosions are an issue not only for the workers within the space, but also for the surrounding equipment and infrastructure.

Importance of Gas Detection Technology

Gas detection is an invaluable safety technology often equipped in battery charging rooms. Ventilation is also advised, and while helpful, it is not fool proof as fan motors can fail and should not be relied upon as the sole safety measure for battery charging areas. Fans mask the problem while gas detection notifies personnel to act before problems escalate. Gas detection systems are crucial in informing personnel of increasing gas leaks before becoming dangerous. Gas detection units comply with local building codes and NFPA 111, the National Fire Protection Association standard on stored electrical energy emergency and standby power systems. They include maintenance, operation, installation, and testing provisions regarding the system’s performance. In addition to permanent gas detection systems, handheld units are available. The benchmark products are provided by Crowcon and are listed below.

Portable Gas Detectors

Crowcon’s portable gas detectors (Gasman, Gas-Pro, T4x, Tetra 3 and T4) protect against a wide range of industrial gas hazards, with both single gas and multi-gas monitors available. With a wide range of sizes and complexities, you can find the right portable gas detection solution to meet the number and type of gas sensors you need and your display and certification requirements.

Fixed Gas Detectors

Crowcon gas detection fixed systems offer a flexible range of solutions that can measure flammable, toxic, and oxygen gases, report their presence, and activate alarms or associated equipment. Crowcon fixed gas monitoring systems (Xgard, Xgard Bright and XgardIQ) are designed to be interfaced with manual call points, fire and gas detectors, and distributed control systems (DCS).

Control Panels

Crowcon gas detection control panels offer a flexible range of solutions that can measure flammable, toxic, and oxygen gases, report their presence, and activate alarms or associated equipment. Crowcon fixed gas (Vortex, GM Addressable Controllers, Gasmaster) monitoring systems are designed to be interfaced with manual call points, fire and gas detectors and distributed control systems (DCS). In addition, each system can be engineered to drive remote annunciators and mimic panels. Crowcon has a gas detection product to suit your application regardless of your operation.

Temperature Measurement

Crowcon has extensive experience with temperature measurement. There are several models of temperature measurement, from pocket thermometers to industrial kits ranging from -99.9 to 299.9°C with probes and clamps. They are enhancing their fixed detection capabilities by adding high-temperature electrochemical sulphur dioxide detection for battery manufacturing and charging stations. This is critical during the first charge of a battery, as a fault is most likely at that time. Their fast-acting systems detect the precursors to thermal runaway and quickly terminate power to the batteries to avoid damage.

To find out more on the dangers of gas hazards in battery power visit our industry page for more information.

The Importance of Gas Detection in the Security, Government and Defence Industry

Those working in our frontline public sectors risk their lives every day to serve and protect the communities they come from, and work within. Fire crews, police constabularies and medical healthcare first responder teams, when working in volatile, conflict zones need to be suitably protected and equipped to undertake their life saving work. Different applications will require a range of equipment from fixed detectors, to portable devices and air quality testing platforms. Whatever it is, robust detection supports reliable service delivery in hostile sectors internationally.

Within the crucial security, defence and government sectors the need for appropriate gas detection equipment is wide ranging. From a country’s armed forces, to their plethora of government departments, the varied applications within each area give rise to the workers within it encountering many different hazardous substances, specifically toxic and flammable gases.

Gas Hazards in the Security, Government and Defence Industry

For teams working within the defence sector, including the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and Strategic Command, teams operate within hazardous, often life threatening environments. Whether it’s in a combat situation, or a training environment, the likelihood of encountering hazardous gases and materials are heightened in these fields. For example, teams operating in confined spaces, such as submarine crews, are at risk from the accumulation of toxic gases, reduced airflow and restricted monitoring and maintenance time. Whether based on sea, in the air, or on land, utilising exemplary gas detection equipment is a priority to allow teams to focus on the mission at hand and remain aware of any chemical, biological or radiological hazards.

Concealed and Confined Spaces

In concealed and confined spaces, such as submarines, crews are more at risk from hazardous gas build ups. With crews living and working for upwards of three months in these circumstances, false gas level readings and alarms can be catastrophic. Atmospheres need to be managed and overseen with the utmost caution to ensure the vessels can support life, as well as to monitor any potentially life-affecting substances.

Carbon Monoxide and Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs)

For those dealing with fire in their roles, whether this is as an arson investigator, fire fighter, or police officer there is a risk of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compound (VOCs) consumption. Utilising appropriate gas detection equipment in these environments can provide a way to analyse the evidence and assess which compounds or gases are present in the atmosphere as a result of fire, combustion or explosion. If ingested, VOCs and carbon monoxide can harm human health. Side effects include eye, nose and throat irritation, shortness of breath, headaches, fatigue, chest pain, nausea, dizziness and skin problems. In higher concentrations the gases can cause lung, kidney, liver and central nervous system damage.

Decontamination and Infection Control

When dealing with potential biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear incidents, specifically in the case of casualty contamination, monitoring the gases and harmful elements present can be life saving. Decontamination processes can bring workers into contact with a range of harmful gases including hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, ethylene oxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine dioxide and ozone. Due to the dangers of each of these gases, areas should be efficiently monitored during all phases of the decontamination process, including before personnel re-enter the area, during decontamination and when PPE is being removed by staff. For the areas where decontamination chemicals are stored, fixed gas detectors can keep teams aware of any leaks prior to workers entering the storage area.

Our Solutions

Elimination of these gas hazards is virtually impossible, so permanent workers and contractors must depend on reliable gas detection equipment to protect them. Gas detection can be provided in both fixed and portable forms. Our portable gas detectors protect against a wide range of gas hazards, these include T4x, Gasman, Gas-Pro, T4, and Detective+. Our fixed gas detectors are used in many applications where reliability, dependability and lack of false alarms are instrumental to efficient and effective gas detection, these include Xgard and Xgard Bright. Combined with a variety of our fixed detectors, our gas detection control panels offer a flexible range of solutions that measure flammable, toxic and oxygen gases, report their presence and activate alarms or associated equipment, for the power industry our panels include Gasmaster.

To find out more on the gas hazards in the power industry visit our industry page for more information.

The Importance of Gas Detection in the Power Industry

The energy industry is the very backbone of our industrial and domestic worlds, supplying essential energy to industrial, manufacturing, commercial and residential customers around the globe. With the inclusion of fossil fuel industries (petroleum, coal, LNG); electricity generation, distribution and sales; nuclear energy and renewable energy, the power generation sector is essential in supporting the increasing demand for power from emerging countries and an increasing world population.

Gas Hazards in Power Sector

Gas detection systems have been installed extensively in the power industry to minimise potential consequence through the detection of gas exposure with those working within this industry are exposed to a variation of power plant gas hazards.

Carbon monoxide

The transport and pulverisation of coal poses a high risk of combustion. Fine coal dust becomes suspended in air and highly explosive. The smallest spark, for example from plant equipment, can ignite the dust cloud and cause an explosion that sweeps up more dust, which explodes in turn, and so on in a chain reaction. Coal power plants now require combustible dust certification, in addition to hazardous gas certification.

Coal power plants generate large volumes of carbon monoxide (CO) which is both highly toxic and flammable and must be accurately monitored. A toxic component of incomplete combustion, CO comes from boiler casing leaks and smouldering coal. It is vital to monitor CO in coal tunnels, bunkers, hoppers and tipper rooms, along with infrared-type flammable gas detection to detect pre-fire conditions.


With hydrogen fuel cells gaining popularity as alternatives to fossil fuel, it is important to be aware of the dangers of hydrogen. Like all fuels, hydrogen is highly flammable and if it leaks there is real risk of fire. Hydrogen burns with a pale blue, almost invisible, flame that can cause serious injuries and severe equipment damage. Therefore, hydrogen must be monitored, to prevent seal-oil system fires, unscheduled shutdowns and to protect personnel from fire.

In addition, power plants must have back-up batteries, to ensure the continued functioning of critical control systems in cases of power outage. Battery rooms generate considerable hydrogen, and monitoring is often carried out in conjunction with ventilation. Traditional lead acid batteries produce hydrogen when they are being charged. These batteries are normally charged together, sometimes in the same room or area, which can generate an explosion risk, especially if the room is not properly ventilated.

Confined Space Entry

Confined space entry (CSE) is often considered to be a dangerous type of work performed in power generation. It is therefore important that the entry is strictly controlled and detailed precautions are taken. Lack of oxygen, toxic and flammable gases are risks that can occur during work in confined spaces, which should never be considered as simple or routine. However, the hazards of working in confined spaces can be predicted, monitored, and mitigated through the use of portable gas detection devices. Confined Spaces Regulations 1997. Approved Code of Practice, Regulations and guidance is for employees that work in Confined Spaces, those who employ or train such people and those who represent them.

Our Solutions

Elimination of these gas hazards is virtually impossible, so permanent workers and contractors must depend on reliable gas detection equipment to protect them. Gas detection can be provided in both fixed and portable forms. Our portable gas detectors protect against a wide range of gas hazards, these include T4x, Gasman, Tetra 3,Gas-Pro, T4, and Detective+. Our fixed gas detectors are used in many applications where reliability, dependability and lack of false alarms are instrumental to efficient and effective gas detection, these include Xgard, Xgard BrightXgardIQ and IRmax. Combined with a variety of our fixed detectors, our gas detection control panels offer a flexible range of solutions that measure flammable, toxic and oxygen gases, report their presence and activate alarms or associated equipment, for the power industry our panels include Vortex and Gasmonitor.

To find out more on the gas hazards in the power industry visit our industry page for more information.

Industry Overview: Waste to Energy

The waste to energy industry utilises several waste treatment methods. Municipal and industrial solid waste is converted into electricity, and sometimes into heat for industrial processing and district heating systems. The main process is of course incineration, but intermediate steps of pyrolysis, gasification, and anaerobic digestion are sometimes used to convert the waste into useful by-products that are then used to generate power through turbines or other equipment. This technology is gaining wide recognition globally as a greener and cleaner form of energy than traditional burning of fossil fuels, and as a means of reducing waste production.

Types of waste to energy


Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of energy rich substances contained within waste materials, typically at high temperatures around 1000 degrees C. Industrial plants for waste incineration are commonly referred to as waste-to-energy facilities and are often sizeable power stations in their own right. Incineration and other high-temperature waste treatment systems are often described as “thermal treatment”. During the process waste is converted into heat and steam that can be used to drive a turbine in order to generate electricity. This method currently has an efficiency of around 15-29%, although it does have potential for improvements.


Pyrolysis is a different waste treatment process where decomposition of solid hydrocarbon wastes, typically plastics, takes place at high temperatures without oxygen present, in an atmosphere of inert gases. This treatment is usually conducted at or above 500 °C, providing enough heat to deconstruct the long chain molecules including bio-polymers into simpler lower mass hydrocarbons.


This process is used to make gaseous fuels from heavier fuels and from waste containing combustible material. In this process, carbonaceous substances are converted into carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and a small amount of hydrogen at high temperature. In this process, gas is generated which is a good source of usable energy. This gas can then be used to produce electricity and heat.

Plasma Arc Gasification

In this process, a plasma torch is used to ionise energy rich material. Syngas is produced which may then be used to make fertiliser or generate electricity. This method is more of a waste disposal technique than a serious means of generating gas, often consuming as much energy as the gas it produces can provide.

Reasons for Waste to Energy

As this technology is gaining wide recognition globally in regards to waste production and the demand for clean energy.

  • Avoids methane emissions from landfills
  • Offsets greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel electrical production
  • Recovers and recycles valuable resources, such as metals
  • Produces clean, reliable base-loaded energy and steam
  • Uses less land per megawatt than other renewable energy sources
  • Sustainable and steady renewable fuel source (compared to wind and solar)
  • Destroys chemical waste
  • Results in low emission levels, typically well below permitted levels
  • Catalytically destroys nitrogen oxides (NOx), dioxins and furans using an selective catalytic reduction (SCR)

What are the Gas Hazards?

There are many processes to turn waste into energy, these include, biogas plants, refuse use, leachate pool, combustion and heat recovery. All these processes pose gas hazards to those working in these environments.

Within a Biogas Plant, biogas is produced. This is formed when organic materials such as agricultural and food waste are broken down by bacteria in an oxygen-deficient environment. This is a process called anaerobic digestion. When the biogas has been captured, it can be used to produce heat and electricity for engines, microturbines and fuel cells. Clearly, biogas has high methane content as well as substantial hydrogen sulphide (H2S), and this generates multiple serious gas hazards. (Read our blog for more information on biogas). However, there is an elevated risk of, fire and explosion, confined space hazards, asphyxiation, oxygen depletion and gas poisoning, usually from H2S or ammonia (NH3). Workers in a biogas plant must have personal gas detectors that detect and monitor flammable gas, oxygen and toxic gases like H2S and CO.

Within a refuse collection it is common to find flammable gas methane (CH4) and toxic gases H2S, CO and NH3. This is because refuse bunkers are built several metres underground and gas detectors are usually mounted high up in areas making those detectors hard to service and calibrate. In many cases, a sampling system is a practical solution as air samples can be brought to a convenient location and measured.

Leachate is a liquid that drains (leaches) from an area in which waste is collected, with leachate pools presenting a range of gas hazards. These include the risk of flammable gas (explosion risk), H2S (poison, corrosion), ammonia (poison, corrosion), CO (poison) and adverse oxygen levels (suffocation). Leachate pool and passageways leading to the leachate pool requiring monitoring of CH4, H2S, CO, NH3, oxygen (O2) and CO2. Various gas detectors should be placed along routes to the leachate pool, with output connected to external control panels.

Combustion and heat recovery requires the detection of O2 and toxic gases sulphur dioxide (SO2) and CO. These gases all pose a threat to those who work in boiler house areas.

Another process that is classed as a gas hazard is an exhaust air scrubber. The process is hazardous as the flue gas from incineration is highly toxic. This is because it contains pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), SO2, hydrogen chloride (HCL) and dioxin. NO2 and SO2 are major greenhouse gases, while HCL all of these gas types mentioned here are harmful to human health.

To read more on the waste to energy industry, visit our industry page.