Blowing agent determines PU properties, but can impact environment

25 September 2012 02:43  [Source: ICIS news]

ATLANTA, Georgia (ICIS)--The choice of the blowing agent (BA) is a key element in the formulation design of polyurethane (PU) foams as it plays a major role in determining insulation properties and can affect the environment, Dow Chemical said on Monday.

Combined with the need to match increasingly stringent energy legislations, the cold appliance sector is required to reduce greenhouse emissions, Dow said at the 2012 Polyurethanes Technical Conference in Atlanta.

The phase out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has resulted in a broad diversification of rigid PU foam technologies for appliance insulation, it said.

Blowing agents available in the global market today are represented by hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC’s), Zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) substances such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and zero ODP and low Global Warming Potential (GWP) solutions like water, formic acid, and hydrocarbons, the company said.

HCFC’s such as HCFC-141b and R-22, though phased out in much of the globe through the Montreal Protocol due to ODP, are still utilized in some countries.

During the past years, improving energy efficiency has been the main driving force of the cold appliance industry since the demand for energy has grown significantly in each region and it’s expected to continue growing, according to Dow.

Globally, 180 million domestic refrigerators and freezer were produced in 2010; 120 million in Asia including India; 27 million in Europe, Middle East and Africa; 20 million in Latin America including Mexico, 13 million in the USA and Canada, Dow said.

The conference runs through Wednesday.

By: Ron Coifman
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