Over the past few decades, the fire protection industry has been affected by national/international restrictions and bans on production of the chemicals used in fire suppression systems. The first and most notable event was the Montreal Protocol in 1992 that essentially halted the production of Halon, categorized as a class 1 ozone depleting substance and the most popular clean agent of its time.
Halon was targeted because of its high ozone-depleting potential (ODP). The search for a Halon replacement led many manufacturers to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). In terms of fire suppression, HFCs provided a viable replacement to Halon without the ODP. However, HFCs were soon to be regulated by the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 on greenhouse gas emissions.
With the ongoing concern over climate change substances and materials with high global warming potential have increasingly come under scrutiny from Congress and other international governing bodies. Consequently, on December 27, 2020, Congress passed the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act.
The AIM Act quickly curtails the production and consumption of HFCs, provides strict oversight on any remaining use of HFCs, and encourages innovation for HFC-free technologies. In terms of fire suppression agents, HFC 125 (trade name: FE-25), and HFC 227ea (trade name: FM-200) are both directly and adversely affected in terms of production, usage, and handling.
Environment + Energy Leader, 19-05-22