Appliances / Mechanical / Materials

Energy Efficiency, Sustainability Advances in Polyurethane Foam Reported

“The standards for energy efficiency are constantly rising, and at the same time the polyurethane foam market faces ever increasing pressure to address climate change by focusing on substances with lower global warming potential,” said Joseph Costa of Arkema Inc., at the Polyurethanes 2010 Technical Conference. “Blowing agents are a vital component of rigid polyurethane foams, providing the outstanding thermal performance needed to improve energy efficiency.”

Costa’s presentation focused on Arkema’s progress in developing a new low global warming potential (GWP) blowing agent for use in rigid polyurethane (PU) insulation foams.

DuPont also reported on further development of its low-GWP foam expansion agent, while Bayer MaterialScience presented results of a comparison study of gaseous and liquid low-GWP blowing agents.

Honeywell described its preliminary plan for a high energy efficiency household refrigerator that also uses ultra low-GWP materials, and Huntsman presented a long-term study of the energy consumption performance of appliance cabinets.

During the second Renewable Content Polyols session, Composite Technical Services LLC described a group of polyols derived from naturally occurring moieties with an alkyl-phenolic structure, making them the only commercially available natural-content polyols with an aromatic or aromatic-amine structure and a bio-based content of more than 73%.

At a sustainability session, Caleb Management Services addressed legacy issues related to ozone depleting substances (ODS) in PU foams. The session also included a review of the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed revisions to the Green Guides, as well as a comprehensive look at projects in the U.S. using carbon credit programs to address the problem of CFC refrigerant and blowing agent from retired refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and appliances.

“Clearly, polyurethane foam remains a vital material for insulation, and the polyurethane industry continues to improve both the environmental and technical performance of this product,” said the American Chemistry Council’s Steve Russell, vice president, Plastics Division.

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