Novec 1230 discharging

3M introduces warranty for Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid

Published:  25 September, 2014

Warranty aims to provide ‘peace of mind’ in light of new EU F-gas regulation.

According to the company, the new F-gas Regulation coming into effect in January 2015 does not affect Novec 1230 (a fluorinated ketone) – nevertheless it is introducing the warranty to provide extra reassurance to customers. The Blue Sky Warranty is global and covers a period of 20 years.

3M Novec 1230 fluid does not deplete ozone (ODP 0) and has a global warming potential of 1 over 100 years, equivalent to that of carbon dioxide.

The original F-gas Regulation, adopted in 2006, is being replaced by a new Regulation adopted in 2014 which applies from 1 January 2015. This strengthens the existing measures and introduces a number of far-reaching changes by:

  • Limiting the total amount of the most important F-gases that can be sold in the EU from 2015 onwards and phasing them down in steps to one-fifth of 2014 sales in 2030. This will be the main driver of the move towards more climate-friendly technologies;
  • Banning the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment where less harmful alternatives are widely available, such as fridges in homes or supermarkets, air conditioning and foams and aerosols;
  • Preventing emissions of F-gases from existing equipment by requiring checks, proper servicing and recovery of the gases at the end of the equipment's life.

These measures will build on and benefit from the successful phase-out of ozone-depleting substances which was achieved in the EU 10 years ahead of the internationally agreed schedule.

Thanks to the new F-gas Regulation, the EU’s F-gas emissions will be cut by two-thirds by 2030 compared with 2014 levels.

Under the regulations, HFC producers will be allocated a production/import quota for HFCs.

According to 3M, because the quota will be in CO2 equivalents, and because HFCs sold into fire suppression have some of the highest global warming potentials (GWPs) relative to other sectors, the framework does not favour HFCs.

HFC-227ea, HFC-125 and HFC-236fa are listed in the overall scope of the regulation (see http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2014.150.01.0195.01.ENG)

HFC-23 will be prohibited from being placed on the market after 1 January 2016.

“It is a mistake to think that the F-gas Regulation can be dismissed on the basis that HFCs have low emissions in fire suppression,” said Bart Goeman, business development manager for 3M Electronics Materials Solutions Division.  “The F-gas Regulation is about reducing the use of HFCs through the cap and phase-down of the production and importation of HFCs.  Plus, given that fire suppression systems can easily be in situ for 20 or more years, any HFC-based system already installed or purchased over the next few years will likely be affected by the F-gas Regulation.  So, suddenly purchases of HFC-based fire suppression systems will not only be faced with immediate price consequences, there will also be more potential future recharge costs and end of life costs when a system is ultimately decommissioned.

 “With our Blue Sky Warranty, we are the only organisation offering global assurance for our synthetic clean agent fire suppression fluid,” continued Goeman. “This reassurance, in addition to the high level of performance, effectiveness and wide margin of human safety makes Novec 1230 fluid an ideal solution for those looking to move away from HFCs.”

Natural alternatives

There is an alternative to using man-made clean agents for fire suppression.

Inert gases such as nitrogen and argon, which are naturally occurring in the atmosphere, have a GWP of zero. This is because (unlike Greenhouse gases) they are incapable of directly absorbing or emitting infrared radiation.

The atmospheric lifetime of a substance measures the time required to restore equilibrium following a sudden increase or decrease in its concentration in the atmosphere. The lifetime of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) hasn’t been precisely measured, but it is estimated to be in the order of 30–95 years. The atmospheric lifetime of FM200 is between 31 and 42 years (according to its manufacturer DuPont), and 3M puts forward a five-day atmospheric lifetime for Novec 1230.

Naturally occurring atmospheric constituents such as argon and nitrogen – used in inert gas suppression systems – do not contribute to the greenhouse effect and as such their atmospheric lifetime is irrelevant.

Fire suppression

Man-made clean agents work in a similar way. They are stored as a liquid and come out of the nozzle as a gas, cooling the fire at molecular level, acting as a thermal sponge.

Inert gases, in contrast, are stored in pressurised cylinders and when discharged work by reducing the oxygen content in a room to a level where fire cannot exist, but where it is still safe for humans to breathe (oxygen content of around 12-13%).

Under current standards clean agents are required to discharge in ten seconds or less, compared to 60 seconds (in Europe) and 120 seconds (in the USA) for inert gases.

Refilling an inert gas system is widely accepted as being more cost effective than a clean agent system. Some industry insiders suggest that in comparison to a higher end clean agent, and in the protection of a similar sized room, the cost of refilling cylinders with inert gas is approximately ten times lower than with a clean agent liquid. However, inert gas systems typically require greater space. In a rough comparison, a small meeting room may require one small clean agent cylinder (say 10kg) in comparison to two 80-litre cylinders.

  • Operation Florian

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