Fire Wire is a quarterly fire suppression newsletter about 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid for specifying engineers, architects, and anyone working in special hazards fire protection.
The state of California has passed a new bill banning the sale or distribution of bulk hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) above certain levels. SB 1206 was passed by both the state House and Senate in August 2022, and was signed into law in September..
Beginning on January 1, 2025, SB 1206 forbids any company from selling or distributing bulk HFCs or blended chemicals including HFCs with a GWP exceeding 2,200. The GWP limit then phases down over the following 10 years, to 1,500 in January 2030 and 750 in January 2035. This is expected to impact common HFCs used in fire suppression such as HFC-23 (GWP 14,800), HFC-236fa (GWP 9,810), HFC-125 (GWP 3,500) and HFC-227ea (GWP 3,220).* Reclaimed HFCs are explicitly not restricted.
This is intended as a maximum GWP level; the bill does not restrict the State Air Resources Board from regulating HFCs with lower GWPs, and requires it to conduct rulemaking around “requiring low or ultra-low GWP alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons in a sector unless it is not practicable for entities in the sector to comply with the requirement.”
*GWP source: U.S. EPA (PDF, 178.93 KB)
Every year, 3M attends the annual SFPE Expo. The Expo is a great opportunity for 3M to make contact with specifiers from around the United States and even from international locations to answer questions and discuss industry trends and the latest developments in the fire suppression industry. Plus, 3M has a proven track record of supporting the fire suppression engineering community. We have various resources available including:
Fiction (with one exception). Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a measure of the amount of heat absorbed by a given chemical when it is released into the atmosphere in gaseous form.
GWP is always measured relative to carbon dioxide (CO2), which is defined as having a GWP of 1. 1 pound of CO2 = GWP 1. All other chemicals have a calculated GWP, based on an estimation of how much heat they will absorb over a given timeframe, usually 100 years, and compared with CO2. For example, HFC-227ea has a GWP of 3,220, so 1 pound of HFC-227ea, discharged into the atmosphere, over the course of 100 years will absorb or trap as much heat as 3,220 pounds of CO2.
Because it is inherently a calculated estimate based on estimates of many different factors over a 100-year forward looking timeframe, different organizations may have different GWPs for the same chemical, and organizations may even change their GWP calculations over time as estimates improve. For example, the EPA estimates (PDF, 178.93 KB) the GWP of HFC-227ea as 3,220, while the NFPA 2001 standard estimates it as 3,500. However, these estimates are directionally consistent: it may be 3,220 or 3,500, but it will always be 3,000+.
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