Low-carbon alternatives for blowing agents in foam sector

26 Nov 2012

UNDP has been at the forefront of technology demonstration projects to replace ozone-depleting substances since 1992 and has been implementing demonstration projects in all regions and all sectors. UNDP is assessing relatively new technological developments that have not or scarcely been used in developing countries.

One of the challenges the foam producers are facing is how to convert the production technology to the one which would use the blowing agents with zero ozone depleting potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP). This conversion would not only ensure that the countries are fulfilling their obligations under the Montreal Protocol but also lead to considerable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions thus mitigating the climate change.

At the request of national counterparts and with financial support from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MLF), UNDP has been implementing pilot projects in Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico and Turkey to assess the viability of different climate-friendlier alternatives to blowing agents used in the polyurethane (PU) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) production. As a result of these demonstration projects developing countries will be able to access the range of state-of-the-art and environmentally-friendly technologies tested under local conditions. For the PU foam and XPS sectors, assessments are being conducted for super-critical CO2, methylal, optimized hydrocarbon technologies, CO2 with methyl formate co-blowing and HFO-1234ze.

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