Case Studies

Protecting Miss GEICO

In July 2012 the Miss GEICO racing team faced a devastating set-back when their World Champion powerboat suffered an internal fire and was engulfed in flames.  The flare-up began in the engine compartment and quickly overpowered the traditional HCFC gas fire protection system.  Fortunately no one was hurt, but the reigning  queen of extreme unlimited class racing was dead in the water.

“We’ve made a lot of advancements to make the new, 4th Generation Miss GEICO the most formidable racing boat in the world,” said the boat’s driver Marc Granet.  “And as extra insurance, this time we included an advanced Stat-X® aerosol fire detection and suppression system.”

Traditional fire systems use stored dry chemical or gas suppressant in pressurized tanks. Aerosol fire systems are different.  They pack an advanced agent into small, unpressurized stainless steel generators that remain inert until the system actuates in response to fire. Then, a chemical process generates a highly-effective, micron-sized agent that floods the area and quickly suppresses the fire.

Alternatives Considered 

A Stat-X aerosol fire system was evaluated against traditional halogenated gas fire suppressants.

 Issue HFC / HCFC Gas System Stat-X Aerosol Fire System
Space is very limited, not easily accessible Bulky agent tanks and distribution piping   take up room and limit mounting choices Small, self-contained aerosol generators fit easily; no distribution piping needed
Need to maximize fire-fighting HFCs require high concentrations Stat-X is 10X more effective than HFCs
Must be lightweight, resist shock, and survive marine environment Agent tanks are heavy, under pressure,     and subject to leaks from steady vibration Unit sizes from 0.8-25 lbs., unpressurized, sealed, with heavy-duty brackets
Not possible to seal compartment Gas over-pressurizes space, escapes Design concentration allows some opening
Highly variable airflow in space Tight closure needed to keep gas in space Agent suspends in place; reserve discharge
Low maintenance, easy recharge Must regularly inspect pressure level/weigh; drained tanks need to be ordered, replaced Stainless steel, long lifespan, no gauges; keep spares handy for change-out on road
Is it environmentally friendly? High Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)  and/or Global Warming Potential (GWP) Zero ODP, zero GWP; chemically blocks fire, does not work by depleting oxygen

Fire Protection Choice

  • Linear fire detection instead of spot for better coverage, less airflow effect
  • Automatic “mini” fire control panel plus operator panel with manual actuation
  • Optional 15-second engine shut-down delay allows driver to pull off the course
  • Designed with both initial plus delayed agent release for extended discharge
  • Spare units available for support trailer for crew replacement while on road

Bill of Materials (partial)

No. Part Number Description Quantity
1 15550 Model 1000ME electrical actuation generator, 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) 6
2 18016 1000/1500/2500 stainless steel heavy duty bracket 6
3 HFSS-31500 Stat-X HyTec primary panel 1
4 HFSS-31501 Stat-X HyTec operator display panel 1
5 HFSS-31502-25 Panel harness 1
6 HFSS-31503 Generator terminal connector 2
7 HFSS-31504 Generator series connector 4
8 HFSS-31506 Detection wire adaptor module 6
9 PHSC-356-XCR Protectowire linear heat detector cable Type XCR 356°F/180°C 100 ft.

Materials specific for the Miss GEICO installation only.  List varies depending on the particular hazard protected.

 Installation

A Stat-X aerosol fire suppression system was installed in the Miss GEICO IV extreme unlimited class racing boat prior to the 2013 racing season.

Actual installation was done by the Miss GEICO Racing rigging crew.  This gave the flexibility needed so the system could be installed during a regular maintenance cycle to minimize racing downtime.

Stat-X operator panel fits neatly in the boat console.

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