With the massive rise in the price of FM200 (click here for article) we thought we would compare the alternatives with an article titled FM200 v Novec 1230.
FM200 and Novec 1230 are very similar in many people’s opinions as both are clean chemical agents, stored as liquids and can have issues if discharged into very high temperature fires, but that’s where the similarities end. We are not trying to dismiss the similarities as these are very important and allow during the design process to design a Novec 1230 system very similar to an FM200 one.
There are a number of important differences that we need to discuss.
FM200 v Novec 1230
Quantity of Agent
FM200 uses a concentration level of between 6% and 9% whereas Novec 1230 uses between 4% and 6% and when we calculate the quantity of Novec 1230 it looks like we are using more agent.
This is not quite correct as Novec 1230 is much heavier than FM200 (Specific Gravity/Density 1.6 v 1.46) and therefore the actual quantity in another measurement such as Litres may be the same or less. Also because of the difference in weight it is much more difficult to get Novec 1230 out of the cylinder and therefore during the design process this can mean more cylinders (either a bigger cylinder or additional) and bigger pipework (usually just up by one size if at all).
Therefore you must be very careful especially when upgrading systems from FM200 to Novec 1230 to ensure the cylinder quantities, cylinder sizes and pipework size will work for Novec 1230. Where you are designing a Novec 1230 from scratch then it won’t make any difference unless you are comparing them.
People Safety Level
What do we mean by People Safety Level?
When we design a Fire Suppression System we check the actual concentration is safe for people to enter without having to use additional safety devices such as lock offs etc. When you enter the Room or hazard the Fire Suppression System will be automatically isolated for safety reasons. We check this at the design stage and if a system is not safe for people we change the design. When we carry out a service we check the room size has not been changed since the installation. If the room size has changed we will check that the concentration level has not either increased (room is smaller) or decreased (room is bigger). The fire will not be put out if there is not enough agent but it will be dangerous for people to be in the room if there is too much!
Novec 1230 has a safety margin of between 67%-150% whereas FM200 has a safety margin of just 3%-29% but his makes a decrease in room size without changes in agent quantity much safer for people when we use Novec 1230.
With people more aware than ever the environmental impact of the products we use, this has become more important in peoples decision making.
Production ceased of Halon 1301 in 1992 and FM200 was a much more environmentally safer replacement product. Halon 1301 was an Ozone Depleting Gas FM200 wasn’t. Halon stayed in the atmosphere for 65 years, FM200 just 33 years and finally the Global Warming Potential of Halon 1301 was 6900, FM200 was nearly half that at 3500. Ultimately FM200 was much more environmentally friendly than Halon 1301.
Novec 1230 takes those numbers to a whole new level, see below.
|Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP)
|Atmospheric Lifetime (Years)
|Global Warming Potential (GWP)
FM200 v Novec 1230 – Conclusion
In conclusion Novec 1230 prior to 1st January 2018 was the most expensive of the agents we use for Fire Suppression System and with the massive increase in price of FM200 (due to an EU reduction of 36%) this has meant Novec 1230 is now the only real alternative to Inert Gas Systems.
When it comes to upgrading your existing FM200 system and a Novec 1230 system looks the easiest way. Please be aware that in principal the pipework should be similar but in practice many pipework systems have to be changed andwe make sure that all systems are checked before we quote them.
Should you require any information or advice on Novec 1230 and FM200 Systems please do not hesitate in contacting us
Novec 1230 is a registered trademark of 3M
FM200 is a registered trademark of The Chemours Company
FE227 is a registered trademark of DuPont