Oxygen reduction systems, sometimes known as hypoxic air prevention systems, are designed to prevent fire ignition by reducing oxygen concentration levels within a room below the threshold required for a fire to begin. Oxygen reduction systems are not designed to detect, suppress or extinguish a fire, and cannot prevent smouldering or pyrolysing processes from taking place in areas of high heat.
What Is an Oxygen Reduction System?
Fires can occur when there is a combination of fuel, heat and oxygen. Most fires require an oxygen concentration level of at least 16 percent to burn. Ambient air contains around 21 percent oxygen meaning that in most cases there is sufficient oxygen for a fire to begin. As Oxygen concentration levels increase, so does the flammability of any combustible materials which could become a potential source of fuel. Oxygen reduction systems work to maintain oxygen levels below the required threshold for a fire to begin, typically around 15%.
How Do Oxygen Reduction Systems work?
Conventional fire suppression systems are passive, meaning they only become active after a fire has been detected, usually through excess heat or smoke. Fire damage may still occur in the time between ignition, detection and suppression as well as potential disruption to business, depending on the severity of the fire.
Oxygen Reduction Systems are active, meaning they preemptively work to prevent a fire from developing in the first place. This removes the possibility of any fire damage or damage from fire suppression methods which rely on water or foam.
Sensors monitor and maintain consistent oxygen levels that prevent fire ignition. Ambient air - which is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other - is filtered through a hypoxic generator which purifies and lowers oxygen concentration. Hypoxic air - typically consisting of 84% nitrogen, 15% oxygen and 1% other - is fed back into the room to create an environment where fire ignition is not possible.
What are the applications of an Oxygen Reduction System?
Oxygen reduction systems are particularly useful for environments that contain valuable assets which could otherwise be damaged by suppression methods which may use foam, water or chemicals to suppress and extinguish a fire. Oxygen Reduction Systems can also be used to slow down the oxidation process and help to prevent materials from degrading. Some of the most popular uses for Oxygen Reduction include uses in:
- Heritage applications
- IT Facilities
- High value item storage
- Archive & document storage
How We Can Help
At Sygma Fire Services, we work with the best European manufacturers to assist you in the design, installation and ongoing maintenance of these systems. Our knowledge in the sector and supplier relationships allow us to present and install this innovative solution to your fire protection systems.