Novec 1230 Fire Suppression System: SHM Perspective

Fire is one of the calamities that can cause untold loss of life and property. Hence, over the years, humankind has developed various increasingly effective ways of extinguishing or suppressing fires, in order to safeguard human lives, property and assets, and the environment. The latest and most popular systems are known as ‘clean agent fire suppression systems’.

Clean agent fire suppression systems use a ‘clean agent’ to extinguish fires. A clean agent is an electrically non-conductive, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishing agent that leaves no residue upon evaporation. Clean agent fire suppression systems use inert gases or chemicals stored in containers, which extinguish fire when discharged. From a sustainable point of view as well, clean agents are preferable for maximum use as they are substantially more environment-friendly than all other options.

How do clean agent fire suppression systems work?

Essentially, a fire requires three components: heat, oxygen, and a fuel source. If any of these is not present or gets cut off, the fire will be suppressed. Clean agents eliminate either the heat or the oxygen to put out the fire. There are three main types of Clean Agent Systems:

  1. FM 200
  2. Inert Gas:
    1. CO2
    2. INERGEN
  3. Novec 1230

Among these, Novec 1230 based systems are gaining increasing demand and popularity worldwide. Let us delve a bit deeper into what makes these systems so special!

What is Novec 1230?

Novec 1230, scientifically known as 1,1,1,2,2,4,5,5,5-Nonafluoro-4-(Trifluoromethyl)-3-Pentanone is a fluorinated ketone. It is used as a clean agent in fire suppression systems and has fast emerged as one of the most popular Clean Agent options globally.

How does it work?

It is used as a gaseous suppression agent in places where water or CO2 based extinguishers would be impractical. The Novec 1230 is stored as a non-toxic, colorless liquid which converts into a gas when discharged and removes the heat from the fire, thereby extinguishing it. Usually employed in fixed fire safety systems, Novec 1230 is also used in portable extinguishers for specialized applications.

Once expelled into the environment, Novec 1230 exhibits strong absorption of energy at near UV wavelengths, resulting in a very short atmospheric lifetime. Thus, photolysis is the main atmospheric sink for the compound, resulting in the gas getting completely dispersed within 5 days to a week. Being a clean agent, of course, it does not leave any residue, damage any assets or harm the environment in any way.

How is it different from other Clean Agent FSS?


The Novec 1230 fluid is considered the best, most environment-friendly clean agent, having zero Ozone Depletion Potential and a Global Warming Potential of just 1! This means that it has next to no effect on the environment, and does not contribute to climate change. Hence it is an excellent replacement for the old HFC systems which were harmful to the ozone layer. This makes it preferable over the FM 200 system, which has slightly higher ozone depletion potential.

Occupant Safety

The Novec 1230 agent has no effect on the health of the occupants in any space. Unlike CO2 systems which can cause breathing trouble to occupants by lowering the oxygen levels in the surroundings to put out the fire, Novec 1230 simply removes the heat from the surroundings, suppressing the fire within seconds. Hence, it is completely safe for occupants and can be used in areas with high occupant density.

Asset Protection

The Novec 1230 is non-toxic, non-corrosive, and leaves no residue upon action. This makes it, along with the INERGEN system, one of the safest and cleanest agents to be used for extinguishing fires.

Additionally, it is also one of the most electrically non-conductive materials to be used as a clean agent. Hence, it is especially useful in facilities having a large number of electronic and electrical components, such as data centers, server rooms, race cars, and industrial facilities.


Not only is the Novec 1230 a clean agent, it is extremely fast-acting as compared to INERGEN or CO2; hence, it severely limits the amount of damage the fire can do to the surroundings. It is also extremely effective in small quantities, thus requiring less space for storage. All these factors make it a convenient, sustainable and safe clean agent fire suppression system.

When and where is it used?

Considering the above factors, it is no wonder that the Novec 1230-based clean agent fire suppression systems have a widespread application. They can be used for occupied as well as non-occupied places. They are recommended for use in facilities that require maximum preservation of assets. Some of the facilities where Novec 1230 systems are recommended are:

  • Museums and art galleries
  • Valuable cargo warehouses and shipments
  • Server rooms
  • Data centers
  • Electronic areas with very sensitive or irreplaceable equipment
  • Telecommunication and switching centers
  • Power generation and transmission facilities
  • Industrial facilities
  • Military facilities and marine engine rooms
  • Racing cars
  • Seafaring merchant, defense, and recreation vessels
  • Airplanes

SHM Showcase: Sapphire Clean Agent System

SHM Shipcare is one of the foremost dealers for the Sapphire Clean Agent System. This 3M Novec 1230 based Fire Suppression System quickly suppresses fire in areas where an electrically non-conductive medium is required and where electronic systems cannot be shut down in an emergency.

This system uses 3M Novec 1230 fire protection fluid for total flooding applications. This allows it to suppress a fire before it can be fully engaged and once the fire is suppressed, Novec 1230 quickly evaporates without harming any valuable assets.

The Novec 1230 in Sapphire Systems provides a wide safety margin, being used at concentrations of only 4 to 6% by volume, substantially below the 10% concentration maximum for safe exposure. As per the specifications laid out under National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2001 code, it is safe for occupied spaces.

The Sapphire system can detect and extinguish a fire even before it approaches the flame stage, due to its state-of-the-art detection and control system. It combines exclusive AUTOPULSE microprocessor control panels with extremely sensitive smoke, heat, and flame detectors.

Once the smoke and heat detectors detect a fire; the AUTOPULSE control panels will set off alarms, close doors, shut down equipment, and release the fire suppression system. The system provides automatic detection, 24 hours a day, in conjunction with manual pull stations.


The Sapphire Clean Agent System has wide applicability and can be installed to perfectly cater to your facility’s every need. Interested in getting the state-of-the-art Novec 1230 system for your business or facility? You can check out our Sapphire Clean Agent System, or contact us at firesafety@shmgroup.com for a consultation!

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