Continuous monitoring of CO2 in fermentation rooms.

Areas of concern for high levels of Carbon dioxide (CO2) in wineries include pits, sumps, storage tanks and bottling rooms, but in particular, fermentation rooms. During fermentation a significant amount of CO2 is generated. If the tanks are indoors, the CO2 that escapes can collect in low lying areas and pose a safety hazard to employees. CO2 is twice as heavy as air and will sink to the bottom of a room or tank, forming potentially hazardous pools of gas that builld up and displace Oxygen (O2). Being odourless and colourless, the presence of CO2 is not known until symptoms of exposure are experienced, unless gas detection equipment is used.

Using Critical Environment Technologies' QCC Quad Channel Controller with a cGas Detector CO2 Transmitter, along with a personal, portable O2 detector is the solution. The placement of the transmitter inside the fermentation room provides continuous monitoring for potential leaks of Carbon dioxide. The QCC Controller with a top mounted strobe mounted outside the room door provides a status of the air quality conditions inside the room prior to entry. If a CO2 leak is detected the top mounted strobe will activate and an audible alarm will sound. The designated relays in the QCC will activate a preset response, such as turning on a remote alarm device, actuating the mechanical ventilation system and/or triggering another set response as required. Inside the fermentation room, there should be a cGas Detector with an infrared CO2 sensor mounted on the wall at the breathing zone height (4 - 6 feet from the floor). It should be close to the fermentation tanks where the possibility of a Carbon dioxide leak is most likely to occur. The measurement range for Carbon Dioxide is 0 - 5% volume. With the optional splash guard installed, the enclosure is water tight (IP54 rated) and will withstand water spray or wash down applications.

If Ozone is used to disinfect the bottles and equipment there should be an cGas Detector with an Ozone sensor mounted 6 in / 15 cm from the floor in the bottling area.

The QCC Quad Channel Controller with a top mounted strobe should be mounted outside the fermentation room entry door. It will interface with both cGas Detectors and will display the target gas levels for viewing prior to entering the rooms. The QCC is pre-programmed and field adjustable. Functions that can be set include relay assignment, time delays, logic control, sensor types and ranges, alarm set points, etc. There is a 4-line x 20 character backlit LCD display that actively scrolls through the programmed channels and displays the gas name, concentration and alarm status. The QCC should be configured to set off alarms and activate the exhaust ventilation system, shut down the chillers or other alarm procedures as appropriate when a leak is detected. The QCC can accept inputs from up to 4 transmitters, using either an analog (4 - 20 mA) signal and/or Modbus® RS-485 digital communication, making it the ideal central controller for any additional gas detectors that may be needed throughout the winery. The cGas Detector CO2 transmitter is available with analog output (CGAS-A-CO2-5%) or Modbus output (CGAS-D-CO2-5%).

Remote visual and audible alarm devices such as the Remote Strobe / Horn (RSH-24V) should be set up inside each room and if there is another entrance to the room, a QCC-RDM Remote Display Module should be mounted outside the door of that entrance, to provide visual confirmation of gas level readings prior to entering the room.

The levels of O2 and CO2 should be checked prior to cleaning the tanks by lowering a personal, portable O2 and CO2 detector into the vessel to determine if it is safe to enter. Follow local confined entry requirements and regulations.