Gorgon’s Ex-lighting saves local sea turtle population06 October 2011

Cooper Crouse-Hinds reports that it has engineered an explosion-proof fluorescent light fitting for the Chevron-operated Gorgon project, at Barrow Island, that specifically minimises disturbance of the local sea turtle population.

The firm is currently supplying more than 20,000 explosion-proof (Ex Zone 1 and Zone 2) fluorescent light fittings for installation on the LNG (liquefied natural gas) and domestic gas plant, currently under construction as part of Gorgon – one of the world's largest natural gas projects.

Graham Doran, director Europe global projects group at CCH, explains that satisfying health and safety requirements, in terms of explosion-protection and ensuring that plant personnel can still distinguish the colour of safety and warning signs, as well as the sea turtle issues posed significant engineering challenges.

The solution, he says, was the firm's eLLK 92 fluorescent light fitting with special covers and light filters, with four different types being installed – including its 2 x 18W, 2 x 36W, and 2 x 36W with battery back-up versions.

"Having to ensure that our lighting solution meets the needs of different groups involved – environmental, health & safety, and engineering – is a real challenge," comments Doran.

"One group wants a lighting solution that is as bright as possible, so that plant personnel can carry out their work in safe, bright lighting conditions, whereas another requires anti-reflective lights that are as dim as possible, to protect the sea turtles."

In this case, the requirements are that the main light output is greater than 560nm, to prevent turtles being attracted to the artificial light. The light fittings also have to be fit for use in hazardous industrial, Zone 1 and Zone 2 environments.

Another primary requirement is that the colour-rendering index (CRI) has to ensure safe working conditions. As Willi Steckel, product line manager lighting at CCH, puts it: "The CRI index measures how well a colour can be identified by the human eye under artificial light conditions. We had to make sure that our proposed lighting solution at 560-600nm could meet these requirements."

Hence the range of filters tested. "After we found the appropriate filters, we then tested which one would give us the best colouring with the fluorescent tube. This part of the product testing alone took eight months. And, once we had a good selection of matches, we commenced the UV resistance testing of each filter type," recalls Steckel.

Interestingly, the company also had to ensure that lighting would not be directed upwards from the plant into the sky, so creating a halo effect that could confuse the sea turtles.

"We developed different shielding arrangements, depending on the mounting angle of the light fitting. Normally, a light fitting faces downwards but there are situations on a plant where a light may need to be mounted sideways and so for these units, we had to ensure that the light was supplied with the correct shielding for that particular mounting position," explains Steckel.

Brian Tinham

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