Exclusive: Environmentally friendly solutions


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The team at BIOEX reveals the details behind their movement towards environmentally friendly solutions 

How long have Bio-Ex been producing FFF? What drove the company’s decision to produce FFF? 

First, environmentally friendly solutions are in the essence of BIOEX name. The company was established in 1998 and its name means “bio-extinguishment”.

Fluorine-Free Foam technology is not new for BIOEX. For 20 years, BIOEX has been committed to offering a safe alternative to PFAS-containing foams to firefighters and to preserve population’s health. In 2002, BIOEX launched ECOPOL: the first Class A/B efficient fluorine-free foam (FFF) in the market. During this time, the firefighting foam market was not focused on fluorine-free foam technologies.

Some industries with high environmental concerns were convinced early on about ECOPOL fluorine-free foam performances and have chosen it for their fire safety. Other fire services were more reluctant about fluorine-free performances on large class B fires. Impressive fire tests were conducted to show the fluorine-free foam efficiency on class B hydrocarbon and polar solvent fires, as well as on class A fires.

For more than 20 years, ourcustomers have been confident in using BIOEX fluorine-free foams. Some of them still have BIOEX first foam batches in stock. Despite time, our foams have been analysed, tested, and acknowledged as performant. We have a good traceability of our foam’s evolution overtime. BIOEX is recognized as an expert and a leading company in fluorine-free foam solutions.

What are the differences between FFF and AFFF foams? 

A lot of “F” but these are different firefighting foam technologies based on hydrocarbon surfactants! Both are synthetic firefighting foams for class A and B fires.

  • AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) contain fluorosurfactants (PFAS substances) responsible of the aqueous film forming on the fuel surface. This film is very fluid and spreads quickly above the fuel surface. It blocks the oxygen supply and suppresses flammable vapours.
  • AR-AFFF (Alcohol-Resistant Aqueous Film Forming Foam) foams are based on fluorosurfactant technology and contain polymers. Polymers are not water soluble, they form a membrane between the fuel surface and the foam blanket which protects the foam blanket from destruction by polar solvents.
  • FFF (Fluorine-Free Foams) are totally PFAS-free. FFF forms a thick and stable foam blanket with lot of bubbles. Efficient FFF form foam blanket which spread rapidly above the fuel surface. This foam blanket suppresses oxygen supply, resulting in quick fire suppression and have a cooling effect. The drainage time is long and provide good resistance to reignition. FFF could also be AR-FFF (Alcohol-Resistant Fluorine-Free Foam) with the addition of polymer in the formulation. AR-FFF foam blanket will not be destroyed by polar solvents.

BIOEX offers both high performance traditional (AFFF) and fluorine-free (F3) firefighting foam solutions. They are efficient against class A and class B fires. The foam formulations are different depending on the fire risk.

What are the benefits of using FFF? Does FFF still perform at the same level as traditional foam? 

Fluorine-free foams are environmentally friendly firefighting solutions. They do not contain PFAS substances and have no impact on the environment and human health.

They can be applied in the same way of traditional foams and are mostly compatible with foam mixing and discharge equipment.

Fluorine-free foams have proven that they can be as efficient as traditional AFFF foams, as well as on large scale fires. LASTFIRE is currently doing huge research and tests with several fluorine-free foams on 300m² hydrocarbon fire. Results are positive. The study is highlighting the relation between foam equipment, foam concentrate and settings.

1-ISJ- Exclusive: Environmentally friendly solutions
BIOEX fluorine-free foam solutions for firefighters

BIOEX fluorine-free foams offer equivalent or better performances than traditional foams in terms of extinguishment or burnback resistance. They are certified under international standards (such as EN1568, NFPA, IMO, ICAO, LASTFIRE, UL, USDA Forest Service…). BIOEX continues to prove that its fluorine-free solutions can be efficient while enviro-minded.

What risks are reduced by using FFF? 

A global PFAS concernis rising. PFAS are extremely persistent and have high mobility. Recent studies are showing that PFAS are potentially harmful for the environment and for health. People are more and more sensitive to environment preservation and health concerns.

Worldwide, regulations are becoming increasingly restrictive regarding the use of PFAS-containing foams (AFFF and AR-AFFF). The fire industry could have an impact on soil preservation and groundwater quality, but also on future generation living conditions, which partly rest on a fragile balance.

The fire industry must be prepared to move away from PFAS and to turn to more environmentally friendly technologies, such as FFF.

BIOEX fluorine-free foams are biodegradable and environmentally friendly solutions. Some of our products have obtained GreenScreen certification. GreenScreen is the first independent ecolabel for PFAS-free firefighting foams. It certifies that the foam is totally free of PFAS and over 2000 chemicals of high concern for the environment and human health.


Are Bio-Ex continuing to research and innovate within the firefighting foam sector?

For over twenty years BIOEX has built strong expertise and has extensive experience in fluorine-free foam research and production. The company offers a wide range of fire foams for class A and class B fires; environmentally friendly solutions that comply with international certifications.

In a fire industry that is increasingly turning to fluorine-free foams, BIOEX is committed to providing green solutions. The company maintains its own laboratory, composed of PhD and chemical scientists. BIOEX continues to develop green and efficient fluorine-free foam formulations as the demands and necessity for this product increases. Foam performances are always verified at small-scale and large-scale burning test facilities, including all the testing that is done for certifications.

Our goal is to continuously bring new innovative products to the fire industry market. That is the BIOEX commitment – to offer high performance foams and environmentally friendly solutions. 

How Bio-Ex helps fire professionals in the transition to FFF? 

Several questions are emerging when discussing the subject of transition to FFF: What are the steps? How to proceed? Is it compatible with current foam equipment? How to dispose of AFFF foam?…

Moving to FFF is certainly not a “drop-in” replacement for AFFF foam. BIOEX helps our customers to answers their questions and support them through the transition to FFF.

Some phases are key. Fire services must check fluorine-free foam properties and ensure that they meet the latest standard requirements and performances expected. Then, it is necessary to check the compatibility of the FFF with their foam equipment, especially proportioning and discharge devices. BIOEX also recommends cleaning the tank before refilling with FFF. One of the main challenges in this process is to avoid spills and contamination of the equipment outside the foam concentrate tank. The old foam and any rinsing water must be disposed of properly. Firefighters can test the whole installation to check that it is working properly, then train with the new foam.

BIOEX adapts its transition protocols to each customer case, installation, and local regulation. BIOEX has supported the successful transitions to FFF of several airports, refineries, and chemical plants throughout the world.

How BIOEX company is structured? 

BIOEX is part of the LEADER Group, a global fire and rescue equipment manufacturer. A dedicated team of foam experts is focused on customer requests worldwide. The company is very reactive in an industry which evolves quickly. We can offer custom-made products that meet specific requirements or standards. Our capacities were recently increased to answer the growing demand. We recently moved into brand-new facilities with extended capacities. Our foam concentrates are produced and dispatched rapidly all over the world. Since its establishment, BIOEX have built strong relationships with a wide network of dealers and rely on subsidiaries located in the USA, Germany, and China.

3-ISJ- Exclusive: Environmentally friendly solutions
BIOEX offer efficient Class A/B fluorine-free foams.

Our former location was too small and limited. The expansion was essential to meet increasing customer demand across the world. In the beginning of 2020, BIOEX moved in a brand-new facility built to the latest standards, located near Lyon, France and closer to major highways and airports to better improve our supply chain availability. We extended our production, laboratory, storage, and logistics capacities. Our team is equipped with high-tech analysis laboratory, meeting rooms, and spacious and modular offices. These new infrastructures have been designed to evolve with the development of BIOEX in the future. We also installed two separate production lines for fluorinated and non-fluorinated foam concentrates.

In accordance with our commitment to provide solutions that respect the environment and for our customers, we must ensure that our ecological foam concentrates are free of all traces of fluorinated derivatives. For this reason, we have opted for the construction of two separate production lines to avoid any pollution of the line with fluorine compounds. BIOEX customers can feel confident and rely on a company that has been a global pioneer in the development and manufacturing of fluorine-free foams.

5-ISJ- Exclusive: Environmentally friendly solutions
Environmentally-friendly and efficient firefighting foam solutions used in low, medium and high expansion
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