NFPA 2001 has defined the term “clean agent” as an electrically non conductive, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishing agent that does not leave a residue upon evaporation. A clean agent fire suppression system will take either an inert gas or a chemical that is stored in a container and discharge it, when necessary, to extinguish a fire in its incipient stage.
There are many benefits to using a clean agent fire suppression system. These systems are fast, effective, safe, clean, and eco-friendly. The clean agent systems are three dimensional as well. Most systems can reach extinguishing concentration levels in just 10 seconds or less. Clean agents are designed to suppress the fire while it’s still in its incipient stage, meaning it will suppress the fire before it grows and enters into the heat/flame stage. The clean agents that are dispersed in a fire suppression system are safe to use in areas populated by humans, and are non-ozone reducing with a short or no atmospheric lifetime. There is no costly clean-up once the clean agents have been discharged, because they are fast vaporizing gases that do not leave a residue after they dissipate.
The three most common clean agents used in fire suppression systems are inert gases, 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, and FM-200. Inert gases used in fire suppression systems are stored as a gas and consist of a mixture of nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide gases. Novec 1230 fluid is stored as a liquid and is a fluorinated ketone that contains carbon, fluorine, and oxygen. FM-200 is stored as a liquefied compressed gas and is a hydrofluorocarbon compound