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VACTEC_Responsive corrosion inhibiting Vacuum Technology-based fire protection system

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VACTEC (VACTEC_Responsive corrosion inhibiting Vacuum Technology-based fire protection system)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2019-06-30

Fires are a big safety and societal concern worldwide. On average, more than 5,000 fire incidents are reported each day only in Europe.
The fight against fire hazard in buildings is complicated by failures in fire protection systems, mostly due to corrosion and obstructions produced by sludge formation and/or freezing in the pipes. This causes false, delayed or failed activation of the system, causing severe infrastructure damage, destruction of heritage sites and, even worse, unrecoverable losses of lives. Fire losses in EU are estimated to cost as much as €153 billion annually.
To face this problem, we have developed a very efficient fire protection/suppression system based on vacuum sprinkler technology (Vactec), resolving the aforementioned issues inherent to the conventional fire sprinkler systems. Vactec’s technical, commercial and financial feasibility has been assessed in this study.
Our system uses a vacuum controller that keeps a negative relative pressure in the pipes, between -180 and -150 mbar, avoiding the inconveniences of the conventional solutions and their malfunctions. The first prototype of Vactec was developed in 1996. In 2017 we produced and certified the 6th generation of prototypes (V6). We are working to improve its performance in order to release a new version (V7). The improvements follow three different directions:
- further reduction of the corrosion and response time of the system by lowering the operating pressure at idle state, from -180 to -700 mbar (relative pressures) : hydraulic calculations confirmed the compliance with the sprinkler standards.
- qualification of the system to allow the use of any type of sprinkler head in the market (development of a new adapter) : a first prototype was built
- enlargement of the range of applications through the development of adaptors for water-mist and deluge systems.
The state of the art fire protection systems are clearly outperformed by the much higher reliability and performance of vacuum technology. These are the main improvements:
- Corrosion inhibited by removing oxygen and water.
- Water leaks avoided (no water in the pipes).
- Suitable for extreme environments (no risk of freezing).
- Faster water delivery.
- Any water source possible (not only drinkable water).
- Less maintenance and much lower operational costs.
- Pipeline lifespan extended.
Vactec can save billions of €, in Europe and worldwide. More importantly, it can save thousands of lives.