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Data Center Gas Fire Suppression System Comparison

So, you have to choose a gas fire suppression system to protect against fire destroying valuable assets such as Computer Equipment, Document Vaults or Telecommunications / Switch Gear. You have a choice between Chemical Fire Suppression Systems such as Novec 1230 or FM200 and Inert Fire Suppression Systems such as Inergen.

FM200 Fire Suppression

Firstly, FM200 is a HFC Gas that is now monitored under the Kyoto Protocol. Why? Well, it has a high Global Warming Potential and therefore has to be treated and monitored accordingly.

Any engineer working on an FM200 fire suppression system, even for maintenance purposes, has to be trained and certified in F-Gases.

The disposal of FM200 can only be carried out by licensed companies. All this additional licensing puts additional responsibilities and expense on the end user, who are often not aware of their responsibilities around this gas.

So why is FM200 still chosen as a fire suppression agent? FM200 is more cost effective when its maintenance and disposal costs are left out of the equation. However, if the cost of the system is considered over its lifetime and subsequent disposal, then the obvious decision is to consider a different agent.

Novec 1230 Fire Suppression

Novec 1230 fire suppression agent is a relatively recent addition to the fire suppression industry. Manufactured by 3M, Novec 1230 comes with a 20 year “Blue Sky Warranty”, guaranteeing its “Green” credentials.

Choosing Novec 1230 over FM200 is the smarter choice and from here in this article, we shall consider only Novec 1230 and Inergen for that reason.

Inergen Fire Suppression

Inergen fire suppression agent is a mixture of three naturally occurring gases: nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide. As Inergen agent is derived from gases present in the earth’s atmosphere, it exhibits no ozone depleting potential, does not contribute to global warming, nor does it contribute unique chemical species with extended atmospheric lifetimes. Because Inergen agent is composed of atmospheric gases, it does not pose the problems of toxicity associated with some of the chemically derived agents.