Fomtec’s perspective on environmental transitions and innovations around foam

October 16, 2023

In a recent article with International Fire and Safety Journal (IFSJ), Fomtec delves into the future of firefighting foam, particularly within the context of the Middle East.

Foam’s unmatched capabilities

For over half a century, foam has been the primary agent used for extinguishing liquid hydrocarbon fuel fires. Its unique capacity to not only put out fires but also provide post-extinguishment protection against reignition sets it apart from other firefighting agents.

Traditionally, these foams have been based on fluorine chemistry.

Environmental concerns dictate change

Despite the benefits of fluorine-based chemistry to the fire performance of these foams, the environmental impact of PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) has raised eyebrows.

This concern has prompted restrictions on foam usage in various parts of the world.

In fact, several regions and industries have already phased out PFAS-containing foams, and more are expected to follow suit in the coming decade.

Middle East’s unique position

The Middle East, being a major producer of oil and home to a burgeoning petrochemical industry, possesses an extensive inventory of firefighting foam.

It’s estimated that the region has over 10 million liters of foam that will need transitioning to more environmentally-friendly fluorine-free foam (SFFF) in the foreseeable future.

Fomtec’s commitment to innovation

Founded in 2001, Fomtec has built a name for itself in supplying high-performance foams.

The company’s dedication to innovation has empowered them to make notable strides in a market historically dominated by big corporations.

A testament to their commitment is their Enviro Programme, which, as of now, has conducted over 2,000 full-scale fire tests.

Their Enviro range boasts more than 15 diverse products tailored for different applications.

A significant milestone

Fomtec’s achievements include becoming the first company to secure an FM Approval for a fluorine-free foam apt for use on water-miscible fuels via a standard sprinkler, a feat they accomplished in 2021 with the ENVIRO ARK.

Challenges of transitioning

Transitioning away from PFAS foams is no small task. The commercially available SFFFs often don’t serve as direct replacements.

There’s a pressing need to reconsider the design and deployment of SFFFs for optimal results in battling liquid hydrocarbon fuel fires.

Safety margins previously available with AFFF’s and AR-AFFF’s may not apply with the new range of foams, a point Fomtec emphasizes based on their extensive experience with the Enviro products.

Data-driven approach

Fomtec operates on facts, not opinions.

Their recommendations are backed by rigorous testing and approvals from esteemed third-party organizations like FM or UL.

Since introducing their Enviro foam range, Fomtec has actively collaborated with end users to facilitate a smooth transition, often culminating in tailored fire performance tests to ensure the efficacy of the foam solutions.

This news piece is based on an article from the March edition of International Fire and Safety Journal.

FSJA Comment

The transition from traditional firefighting foams to more environmentally-conscious alternatives is pivotal in the firefighting industry.

With Fomtec leading the charge in innovation and research, it provides a valuable lens through which we can understand the challenges and opportunities this shift presents.

Read Next

Subscribe Now