Fuel cell for fire-safety, too – Bielefeld’s Oetker group shows how at Wolf ButterBack KG. The core element of the system is a fuel cell that generates power and heat simultaneously on the cogeneration principle, with absolutely no pollutant emissions and with particularly low maintenance needs. The process results in an exhaust gas with a lower oxygen content than normal ambient air and which occurs continuously and with no additional costs whatsoever during operation of the system. A permanent shielding atmosphere, in which fires cannot even get started, is generated, via a piping system, in the rooms requiring protection. Because, too little oxygen, no fire! And if nothing can burn, nothing has to be extinguished. Wolf ButterBack KG, of Fürth, part of Bielefeld’s Oetker group, employs the innovative “QuattroGeneration” system from Fuji N2telligence for fire safety in its cold store.
“But surely nothing can burn in a cold store.” Wrong! There is a high risk of fire even at extremely low temperatures, as a result, in particular, of the dry air present, the large range of combustible packaging and insulation materials, and increasing automation. Fire-safety costs money, however, and continuous operational costs are a particular factor. But fire-safety now no longer has to be a cost element – it can, instead, generate its own return-on-investment. This, at least, is Fuji N2telligence’s promise for its “QuattroGeneration” system.
It’s not really a new principle, but with “QuattroGeneration” the waste-air from the fuel cell is available 24/7 at zero cost. So using the fuel cell also results in cold stores being supplied with electricity and heat (or refrigeration) and never coming into contact with fire or water.
The limited partnership for deep-frozen baked goods founded in 1991 was integrated into the Foods division of Bielefeld’s Oetker group in 2004. In 2015, Wolf ButterBack achieved annual sales of 28,326 tonnes of deep-frozen baked products, which require continuous cooling. This is why the world’s first-ever project for simultaneous supply of energy and elimination of fires in a cold store using fuel-cell technology was conceived and why it has been in use since Christmas, 2016. And it’s good for the environment, and for the company’s purse and assured energy supplies. Fuji N2telligence and its fire-safety partner Minimax are thus hoping together to make a large number of such warehouses more energy-efficient and even safer against fire in the future.