CAMX Award | Fire Retardant FRP Utility Poles for Grid-Hardening in Fire-Prone Areas

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Originally Aired - Tuesday, October 18 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

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Event Location

Location: CAMX Awards Pavilion


Event Information

Title: CAMX Award | Fire Retardant FRP Utility Poles for Grid-Hardening in Fire-Prone Areas

Description:

Unsurpassed Innovation Award 

Company: Creative Composites Group

Description: The CAMX Award winners will be announced during Tuesday's General Session and will present in the theater at 12 pm. All entries will be on display throughout the week in the CAMX Awards Pavilion in the exhibit hall. FireStrong™ utility pole system incorporates industry first innovations including:  Combining outer fire protection sleeve or shield layer with inner StormStrong® utility pole as primary structure. StormStrong inner core helps with storm hardening efforts to keep utility grid intact when extreme weather events occur. FireStrong poles are classified as self-extinguishing per UL94 with V0 rating.  Self-Monitoring Temperature Recorders permit utility to inspect poles post-fire to gauge level of strength retention for each pole with little to no guess work. Previously, utility companies could only guess the strength retention post-fire resulting in error on side of replacing poles after fire exposure.

Collaboration and Partnerships: CCG is working with multiple utilities in California to provide additional fire hardening and grid enhancement for their unique environment.  California is considered the epicenter for fire events. Chaparral covers more than 14,000 square miles of the Golden State. When a standard wood utility pole is exposed to fire, it loses area from its design section, causing its engineering properties to change. Loss of strength and stiffness means a pole has to be replaced, undermining grid reliability and uptime. FireStrong poles don't have to be replaced if the pole temperature remains below 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Additionally several of the utilities have requested How To videos regarding the installation, use and care of FireStrong videos. CCG has created a How To determine if your pole needs to be replaced after a fire. This is a valuable collaboration that educates the installation and maintenance crews that support the utility companies. Since the FireStrong pole is the only utility pole with an irreversible temperature label we've collaborated to make videos to support utility workers in the field.  CCG is working with multiple utilities in California to provide additional fire hardening and grid enhancement for their unique environment.  California is considered the epicenter for fire events. Chaparral covers more than 14,000 square miles of the Golden State. When a standard wood utility pole is exposed to fire, it loses area from its design section, causing its engineering properties to change. Loss of strength and stiffness means a pole has to be replaced, undermining grid reliability and uptime. FireStrong poles don't have to be replaced if the pole temperature remains below 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Additionally several of the utilities have requested How To videos regarding the installation, use and care of FireStrong videos.         

Concept and Design: Creative Composites Group invested in automation systems to assemble the outer fire-resistant sleeve to the inner utility primary pole. This system automates rotation and simultaneous drilling through both layers to allow them to be fastened together as unit and maximizing production throughput.  This FireStrong utility pole system was developed to withstand a chaparral fire and has been independently tested to withstand 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes – which is twice the time of the average wild fire.  CCG Engineered the resin to create an endothermic reaction. As a result molecules of water are created and during our testing the pole self-extinguished in less than 8 seconds.  This utility pole is a more sustainable solution for the utility industry because it replaces wood poles that leach harmful chemicals like Creosote and Penta into the ground or aquifer. Penta was recently banned by the EPA. Additionally, FRP composites last longer than other alternatives.  CCG made the decision to FireStrong utility poles based on market need and gaps with current providers. Unlike wood poles, the FireStrong poles are an engineered product with a low coefficient of variation. Pultruded utility poles feature high reliability when compared to traditionally treated wood poles. In fact, the National Electric Safety Code (NESC 2012) recognizes FRP composite distribution poles as having the same reliability as steel poles.

Additional Information: 

Type: CAMX Awards


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