Fire Technology

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 257–284 | Cite as

Extinguishing Smoldering Fires in Wood Pellets with Water Cooling: An Experimental Study

  • Ragni Fjellgaard MikalsenEmail author
  • Bjarne Christian Hagen
  • Anne Steen-Hansen
  • Ulrich Krause
  • Vidar Frette


Smoldering fires in stored or transported solid biofuels are very difficult to extinguish. The current study has explored heat extraction from the combustion zone as a method for extinguishing such flameless fires. Heat extraction from the sample was made feasible using water flowing through a metal pipe located inside the sample. The fuel container was a steel cylinder with insulated side walls, open at the top and heated from below. Wood pellets (1.25 kg, 1.8 l) was used as fuel. Results from small-scale experiments provide proof-of-concept of cooling as a new extinguishing method for smoldering fires. During self-sustained smoldering with heat production in the range 0 W to 60 W, the heat loss to the cooling unit was in the range 5 W to 20 W. There were only marginal differences between non-extinguished and extinguished cases. Up-scaling is discussed, cooling could be feasible for preventing smoldering fires in silos.


Fuel storage safety Industrial fire Biofuels Smoldering Extinguishment Fire suppression 



This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway, Project 238329: Emerging Risks from Smoldering Fires (EMRIS) and by Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), in Haugesund, Norway. Virginia Rebaque Valdes (master student at Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Universidad Politecnica de Madrid) did the experimental work on the Background experiments. The group of Prof. Ulrich Krause at the Department of process safety and environmental engineering at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany, provided chemical analysis of the fuel. Assistant Prof. Gisle Kleppe at HVL constructed a measurement device and provided permeability measurements. The authors would like to thank the EMRIS team for valuable input and discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Norway University of Applied ScienceHaugesundNorway
  2. 2.RISE Fire ResearchTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Otto von Guericke University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany

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