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Sustainable 3M fire protection technology keeps Roush Fenway Racing on the fast track to a greener future


In the racing world, the drive toward greater sustainability is being addressed in countless ways. Roush Fenway Racing, operator of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion, has fully embraced the NASCAR® initiative to reduce waste, carbon emissions and power consumption. But there is one area in particular that offers no compromises in performance – and that is driver safety.

For years, NASCAR racers have employed various types of chemical “clean agents” for fire suppression in their cars. Traditional halon and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) clean agents have high global warming potentials and pose significant long-term sustainability issues. So when 3M introduced a next-generation halon replacement with excellent safety, performance and sustainability characteristics, Roush Fenway Racing expressed keen interest.

This material, 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, is based on a proprietary 3M chemistry that addresses many of the shortcomings of conventional clean agents. It has become widely used around the world to protect critical assets where water or dry chemical agents could damage sensitive equipment. Novec 1230 fluid is not only a highly effective fire extinguishant, but also has a very short (5-day) atmospheric lifetime and a global warming potential of 1 – about the same as naturally-occurring carbon dioxide. Moreover, it offers the widest margin of human safety of any chemical clean agent, CO2 or inert gas mixture.

Roush Fenway’s goal was to incorporate Novec 1230 fluid into a new fire suppression system for the No. 16 3M car, driven by Greg Biffle, in time for the STP 400 Spring Cup Race in Kansas City on April 22 – which happens to coincide with Earth Day 2012.

Long-time performance racing and marine fire suppression equipment manufacturer Metalcraft, Inc. worked with Roush Fenway’s engineering team to develop a dedicated fire suppression system, sold under their Fire-Trak™ brand, for both the driver cockpit and the fuel cell in the trunk.

Jim Ryder, Roush Fenway’s Engineering Design Manager, considers the greatest advantage of the new system to be its reliability. “We don’t worry that the agent isn’t going to work as well because it’s considered ‘green;’ in fact, we’re all very confident about its performance.”

Jim Ryder, Roush Fenway’s Engineering Design Manager, considers the greatest advantage of the new system to be its reliability. “We don’t worry that the agent isn’t going to work as well because it’s considered ‘green;’ in fact, we’re all very confident about its performance.” Even though the new system will never be seen by most race fans, Joe Ziemba, 3M Marketing Manager, looks forward to watching the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion take its first lap on Earth Day. “To me, this is symbolic of a whole new way of thinking about technology and sustainability,” he says. “It demonstrates that we can be good stewards of the environment, while still maintaining a high standard of living, keeping people safe and having fun at the races. From where I stand, that sounds a lot like progress.”

For more information visit www.3M.com/novecracing.

NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. The Roush Fenway Racing trademarks and Greg Biffle’s name and/or likeness used by authority of Roush Fenway Racing, LLC. Fire-Trak is a trademark of Metalcraft, Inc. 3M and Novec are trademarks of 3M. Used under license by 3M subsidiaries and affiliates.

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