Novec 1230 extinguishes fires by removing heat. All fires need heat, oxygen, and a fuel source to continue to burn. By removing any of these three elements, you can extinguish the fire. Other fire suppression agents, such as carbon dioxide, remove oxygen. Because Novec 1230 removes heat instead of oxygen, it is safer to use in occupied spaces, because it does not pose a suffocation risk for people.
Novec 1230 is the brand name for the chemical compound FK-5-1-12, manufactured by 3M. Fire suppression systems marketed as Novec 1230 systems contain FK-5-1-12, which is stored as a liquid and discharges as a gas when the system activates. There are many different manufacturers (OEMs) of Novec 1230 fire suppression systems, including Firetrace International. Some manufacturers offer fire suppression systems with generic FK-5-1-12 that is not supplied by 3M. These systems may perform similary to a Novec 1230 fire suppression system, but they are not genuine Novec 1230 fire suppression systems.
Relative to most fire suppression chemicals, Novec 1230 is not dangerous. Unlike carbon dioxide, Novec 1230 is considered safe to use in occupied spaces. That means if Novec 1230 is released inside of a room with people in it, there is no suffocation risk or other serious health impacts. Toxicity studies show that Novec 1230 fluid does not irritate the skin but may cause mild eye irritation. It is not a carcinogen, according to the Ames test.
Novec 1230 is typically similar in cost to FM200, another leading clean agent for fire suppression. Novec 1230 fluid is purchased as part of a fire suppression system. Only approved fire suppression system manufacturers can purchase Novec 1230 fluid directly. Novec 1230 fire suppression systems cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the scale of the project.
Novec 1230 and FM200 are different chemical compounds. Novec 1230 is a fluoroketone, while FM200 is a heptafluoropropane (HFC). Both Novec 1230 and FM200 are clean agents, and they share similar properties. However, Novec 1230 is widely regarded as more environmentally friendly than FM200, because it has a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP). Additionally, Novec 1230 is stored as a liquid, while FM200 is stored as a gas.
Both Novec 1230 and FM200 discharge as gases, when a fire suppression system activates. Novec 1230 and FM200 are both effective at suppressing class A, B, and C fires, and they are both safe to use in occupied spaces.