Ecological fire extinguishers: inert gases VS fluorinated gases

The fire extinguishers and i extinguishing systems fireproof based on inert gases I am more ecological of those containing fluorinated gases. In fact i inert gases fire prevention (especially argon, nitrogen and carbon dioxide) do not feed thegreenhouse effect which causes the planet to warm, which fluorinated products do heavily.

The mixture of inert fire-fighting gases - not synthetic and made up of gases that we already breathe in nature - once discharged it simply returns to the atmosphere in its natural state and since it does not pose any threat to the ozone layer or climate change it will never be subject to regulatory restrictions. The restrictions instead concern i fluorinated gases that make the fire extinguishers definitely less ecological.

In fact, it also happens that the sector of fire prevention has its share of responsibility ingreenhouse effect and related damage to the environment. The reason depends on the use of so-called fluorinated gases, a family of powerful gases greenhouse effect used in many extinguishing products (mostly fire extinguishers) to replace agents such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and halogens, these even more harmful to ozone and gradually eliminated according to the Montreal Protocol.

Although i fluorinated gases do not consume it ozone layer, their contribution togreenhouse effect in terms of warming of the atmosphere, it is 23,000 times higher than that of carbon dioxide. They can also remain in the air for thousands of years before dispersing and it is estimated that they represent 2% of all harmful emissions in Europe, largely within fire extinguishers is extinguishing systems for the fire prevention.

The institutions are running for cover. In Italy, since 11 June 2013, there is an obligation to register in the national telematic register for individuals and companies who 'Install, repair or carry out maintenance on fixed systems and equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gases'. Those who deal with the installation, maintenance or repair of fixed systems are also required to register fire protection and of fire extinguishers containing fluorinated gases to greenhouse effect’.

Instead, a proposal by the European Commission to amend Regulation 1 on the use of fluorinated gases to greenhouse effect in order to significantly reduce (by 70% by 2030) emissions in the European Union starting from 2015. The proposal will be submitted to the attention of the European Parliament and the Council for adoption following the regulatory procedure.

However, they exist on the market fire-fighting systems ed fire extinguishers who do not have the problem of fluorinated gases, since they rely on extinguishing gases composed of a mixture of gases existing in nature, called for this reason inert, which do not produce the so-called greenhouse effect.

The mixture of inert fire-fighting gases is composed in particular of argon, nitrogen and a small percentage of carbon dioxide, useful for increasing the respiratory rate for oxygenation of the brain in case of stay inside the premises protected with fire extinguishing system of inert gases.

One of the most relevant advantages of the extinguishing mixture based on inert gases it consists of safety for people, not being toxic and not producing any form of corrosion of the products. Furthermore, since it does not create fog during the unloading phase, the escape routes remain clearly visible.

The fire extinguishers to inert gases they also ensure that the oxygen level is reduced to such an extent as to stop combustion and put out the fire, while remaining within the limits that allow human respiration. Reducing oxygen, in a totally safe way for people, eliminates one of the elements on which the combustion principle is based, extinguishing any type of fire that may involve flammable materials and liquids.

(Sources: study by Andrea Natale of Tyco Integrated Fire & Security)

Video: Timothy Swager, MIT: Molecular Designs for Specificity in Chemical Sensors 2018 (January 2022).