With FM200 now a distant memory for new systems 3M’s Novec 1230 has taken over as the Clean Chemical Agent of choice. We now match up Novec 1230 v INERGEN® to see if the winner is as clean cut as many think it is.
Although Novec 1230 is much more environmentally friendly than FM200 it is still a manmade product and a chemical. It does however have various advantages over INERGEN® and we will discuss these below.
Novec 1230 v INERGEN®
Novec 1230 v INERGEN® – Quantity of Agent
Comparing the amount of agent (weight) between Novec 1230 v INERGEN® makes no sense as ultimately the weights are not that much different. As an example lets compare Novec 1230 and INERGEN usig a data centre with a 580m3 volume. You will need 455Kg of Novec 1230 compared to 421Kg of INERGEN® so there is very little difference between them.
Quantity of Cylinders
Comparing the quantity of cylinders between Novec 1230 v INERGEN® is really where the real advantage is. To use the previous example of the data center with a 580m3 volume, Novec 1230 would require just 3 cylinders whereas INERGEN® would require 18 cylinders. The storage space required for INERGEN® is going to be much greater than for Novec 1230, which on some sites can be critical.
Flexibility of Agents
When we talk about flexibility of agent we mean how easy is it to install as follows:- 1. How far away can the cylinders be stored? 2. How far above or below the room can the cylinders be stored? 3. Can Multi Room Protection be provided?
In all of the above questions INERGEN® wins hands down. You must position Novec 1230 as close to the risk as possible and preferably within the risk. Like FM200 multi room protection (where a bank of cylinders provides protection to more than one room) is very difficult to achieve as the exact amount of Novec 1230 will be different for each room and therefore you may end up with too much agent within the room.
People Safety Factor
When we talk of the safety factor this is comparing the standard level of use with the maximum safe level of use (with a manned room). When you design a fire suppression system you must take into account concentration levels. This is because a high level of concentration could mean if people are entering the room on a regular basis we will need to fit a safety lock off system to ensure it will not discharge when someone is in the room.
Most systems we install are well within these levels as the issues with having to lock of the fire suppression system create too many issues if people need regular access to the room. We prefer to install a system that requires no human intervention during normal hours of work. If you have building work or maintenance within the protected we room we do recommend that the system is isolated to ensure the system is not accidently discharged.
Sometimes though a room changes from the original installation, if it gets bigger then the concentration level drops and the fire suppression system may not out out the fire. If a room becomes smaller then the concentration level could go to levels that are not acceptable.
7% – 26%
88% – 138%
As you can see Novec 1230 wins that competition hands down.
Novec 1230 is much more environmentally friendly than FM200 because of the Global Warning Potential (3500) and the Atmospheric Lifetime (33 years), whereas Novec 1230 in comparison was 1 and 0.014 years.
But how does Novec 1230 stack up against? INERGEN® contains 3 natually occurring gases, Argon, Nitrogen and CO2 and Novec 1230 is a manmade chemical, so can Novec 1230 beat it?
Well to compare the gases on their own INERGEN® clearly comes out the best. But if you compare the amount of cylinders you will need to use in our original example i.e INERGEN®, 18 cylinders and Novec 1230, 3 cylinders, you could argue that they are ultimately equal as the energy used to creat 3 cylinders is much lower than 18 cylinders and with the cost to transport them could equal them up or at least bring them closer together!!
Although the quantity of INERGEN® and Novec 1230 are relatively similar the prices are not. Novec 1230 is around 30% more expensive than INERGEN®, so why do we still use Novec 1230. Well ultimately some projects do not have the space for the amount of cylinders INERGEN would require whereas as most sites will happily fit the amount Novec 1230 will require. So some sites need to go the Novec 1230 route because of space.
Novec 1230 v INERGEN® – Conclusion
The differences between Novec 1230 and INERGEN® are quite small but most projects are price led so INERGEN® will continue to be the favourite but when the project is limited for space Novec 1230 clearly comes into it’s own and will win hands down.