Environment

3F-ENVIRONNEMENT

 

3F is leading the development of efficient and environmentally friendly products.

Our aims are to provide our customers with environmentally friendly solutions in anticipation of future regulatory changes and in advance of other foam manufacturers.

 

Chemistry

3F is committed to developing products without fluorine compounds. This commitment is to ensure 3F customers have a comprehensive range of foam products to suit their risk and environmental concern for both Class A, Class B and Class B-AR foam concentrates.

3F innovates and launches a sneak preview of its range of concentrates without solvents : SMART FOAM3F SF 3D thumb

High Pressure

3F High pressure systems are designed to reduce extinguishing water consumption by as much as 40 times in comparison with low pressure water delivery systems.

Induction

3F foam induction systems are more accurate, more efficient and faster. Manufactured by CTD, our systems can provide a 30 to 50% reduction for intervention times and fire extinction. This will reduce consumption of both water and foam, faster extinction and less pollution.

3F has developed special expertise in ecological products for more than ten years

Fluorine 3F Fluorine

We hear and read a lot of information on the «fluorine», in foams, some of which is contradictory and often complicated and confusing. Some argue that there is little or no consequential problem to use 'fluoro' in foams, 3F think it is a global environmental issue that must be addressed and which is unsustainable.
There are two forms of fluorine:

  • Mineral fluorine, in the form of ion dissolved in the water or in rock,
  • Organic fluorine atom attached to a carbon atom. Products containing organic fluorine, quickly invaded our daily lives and are used successfully in countless applications: stain resistant, non-stick, anti-fat, anti-moisture, preparation to paper bags of fried fast food, anti-stick preparation for carpets, waterproofing, anti-stick cookware, AFFF foams...

Fire-fighting foams

In the case of foams, we are interested in organic fluorine that is usually attached to all carbon chain: this is called perfluorinated compounds - PFC. AFFF foam concentrate contains PFCs, but NEVER PFOS or PFOA ; yet these PFCs could release PFOS, PFOA or PFHxA products proven to be persistent in the environment!
Regulations
Prohibition and elimination of PFOS has been legislated in many countries , but not all. Regarding PFOA, the industry has negotiated a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Agency detailing a commitment to phase out this product.
To date, newer fluorinated products developed as replacements are not yet banned!
In Europe, the Directive on groundwater is absolutely clear, 'no halogenated organic products can enter ground water'. In plain language, this means that these products can be used, but must be collected and incinerated.

Should we be concerned?

3F Fluorine 2Given that these halogenated organic products can unwittingly find their way into our sewage treatment plants, there is a concern. These products are so persistent in the environment they can remain in sludge at treatment facilities, this sludge is then used on land as a fertilizer which allows these persistent products to find a route back to the food chain.
The future
Some products have recently appeared on the market and presented as «fluorine free.» In many cases, it is not true because they contained either fluorinated products in small quantities, or fluoro-polymers as a substitution. We would strongly urge end users to obtain written clear commitment from the manufacturer or supplier that their 'FLUORO – FREE' foam has 0% of fluorinated organic compounds.

 

3F offers REAL efficient and environmentally friendly solutions

Solvents 3F Solvents

Solvents are the great «forgotten» environmental concern for foam manufacturers.
Most solvents in foams are glycols and their derivatives but there are also some alcohols. They are used for the following reasons: antifreeze protection, foam stabilizing, and solubilizers. The use of solvents in foams represents risks to health and the environment.

3F solvents 2

Health Hazards:
The solvents are absorbed into the body by inhalation and through the skin. They are then metabolized and can result in side effects due to high doses in the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.
Many glycols are prohibited in household products used by the general public. In water-based paints, they can be gradually released into the air we breathe and can lead to long-term consequences.
They are also listed as VOC-Volatile Organic Compounds- and are subject to restrictions in industry.

Environmental Hazards:
Solvents have a significant organic load. Therefore, their COD - Chemical Oxygen Demand - can overload water treatment plants until saturation occurs. Moreover, if released into a river or lake, they contribute to the phenomenon of asphyxiation resulting in oxygen consumption.
For example, a standard 6% AFFF has a COD of 400 g/l. For our AFFF 6% without solvent FREESOLV 6, COD is divided by 4, a COD of 98 g/l.
Clearly, this innovation has positive implications for man and the environment.

Foams are usually released into the environment after use, whether by direct or indirect discharge – In Response to Rural or urban fires - or industrial fires – and where the foam is not contained, into treatment facilities.
Foams are made of a mixture of chemical compounds to balance its extinguishing properties. Foaming agents, per-fluorinated surfactants, solvents soluble in water, and a cocktail of additives to stabilize the product.
Foaming agents are essential, but they expand sharply during use and disrupt the operation of wastewater treatment plants. Foams are very visible if directly discharged to a watercourse, they degrade faster or slower depending on the nature of the agents selected in the formulation.

Chemistry

3F is committed towards products without fluorine additives with Class A and Class B foam concentrates making them truly versatile.
3F is actively promoting its range of foams to the market that do not contain solvents.
This is our SMART FOAM range - SF: Solvent Free They are Safer Foams :

  • FREEFOR SF: Class A
  • HYFEX SF: High Expansion Foam
  • FREESOLV: AFFF
  • T-FOAM: Training foam
3F believes in foam development to combine efficiency and environmentally friendly products. Therefore 3F aims to offer its customers sustainable green solutions ahead of other manufacturers and anticipating changes in regulations.
3F chooses to use completely biodegradable foaming agents, selecting products of natural origin, un-branched molecular chain structures and without aromatic ring.

The environment in 3F equipment range

High Pressure

High pressure systems are designed to provide a fire-extinguishing capability with a reduced amount of water. Indeed, the droplet size reduction increases the contact surface with the fuel and thus lowers the surface temperature accordingly. Our FAS 'Fire Attack Systems' high pressure technology allows the fire fighter to extinguish a fire with 40 times less water, so 40 times less polluted effluents. This technology has two advantages for the environment:

Extinguishing at a speed that minimizes the emission of polluting fumes

A decrease in the amount of water needed and thereby polluting effluents.

For a classic urban fire, it is common to send a truck or two with between 8 and 10 men that will work for an hour and consume a lot manpower and fuel.

With FAS, a small 4x4 vehicle will quickly reach its goal and put out the fire with three or fewer firemen in less than a fifth of the time. The use of a Class A additive will remove the risk of a fire re-starting and therefore the need to leave a truck with men for monitoring.

In the end, the fuel consumption, water and men hours are all reduced significantly as much as between 5 and 10 times. Don't forget the diesel consumed by the vehicles releases CO2, greenhouse gas emissions!

Electronic Dosing

Electronic metering manufactured by CTD and supplied to more than 50 countries around the world by 3F, represents a significant advance in the protection of the environment. Why?
The ability to initiate fast operation with precise dosing, avoiding tedious adjustments of pressure and flow rate of conventional systems. Being immediately operational, firefighters attack the fire faster and are more effective. This results in a much lower water consumption and less wasted foam concentrate. More accurate, more efficient and faster, CTD systems achieve a 30% to 50% faster initiation of fire attack with foam compared to conventional equipment, so the consumption of water and foam concentrate will be reduced. Faster extinction means less polluting fumes and less wasted and polluted water.
CTD systems have a unique feature: it allows you to use a training program for staff without consuming foam or water. Indeed, another program includes a simulation function to operate the equipment, but simply inducting water (not foam) into the water stream. 80% of the equipment training on foam can be achieved without the use of foam. Health and safety working at its best.

3F ENVIRONNEMENT UK

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