Applications of the fourth generation of blowing agent in home appliance insulation technology

2022-04-10 23:55

Review the history of changes in the home appliance industry blowing agent, HCFC-141b has been like CFC-11, into the fast track of elimination; cyclopentane is still the mainstream blowing agent, but due to the poor insulation effect, the dosage is gradually reduced; HFC-245fa because of the Chinese characteristics of the multi-blended foam once attracted great attention, however, the inherently poor environmental characteristics make HFC-245fa is likely to be a transitional role. 245fa is likely to be a transitional role. Polyurethane foam industry staged replacement drama has continued, the fourth generation of foaming agent is now expected to carry the flag.

HCFC-141b, in the past in the refrigerator and freezer industry insulation material has been playing an important role, with the improvement of environmental requirements and the implementation of various related policies, in recent years has gradually faded out of sight. According to the phase-out schedule of HCFCs under the Montreal Protocol, by 2020, the polyurethane foam sector will control the consumption of HCFC-141b to no more than 65 per cent of the baseline level, i.e., at least 8,500 tonnes of HCFC-141b will be phased out.

For the third generation blowing agent HFC-245fa multi-blend foaming technology can improve the energy efficiency level of refrigerators, and the foaming cost is more economical than the traditional cyclopentane foaming, so it has been widely accepted by refrigerator enterprises in the past few years, and the market demand continues to grow.

However, the use of HFC-245fa was banned in Europe in 2015, and will be banned in the U.S. by 2016. in China, HFC-245fa is used in blended foaming with cyclopentane, but in limited amounts. In addition, HFC-245fa is very expensive and not environmentally friendly in China, which makes Chinese home appliance enterprises, especially those exporting refrigerators and freezers to Europe and America, willing to follow the trend and stop using HFC-245fa, and the use of HFC-245fa in China will become less and less.

At present, the fourth generation of blowing agent is favored following the United States, Haier, Hisense has announced the adoption of some refrigerators, trans-1-chloro-333-trifluoropropene (HCFO-1233zd (E)) in the refrigerator field of application recognized by the industry. Overall, the home appliance industry can use the foaming system, cyclopentane price is low, but the adiabatic performance is not good enough; HFC-245fa adiabatic performance is excellent, but not enough environmental protection. With excellent performance, the fourth generation foaming agent is regarded as the ideal choice for future polyurethane insulation applications.

HCFO-1233zd(E), as one of the representatives of the fourth generation blowing agent, has a GWP value of 1. HCFO-1233zd(E) blowing agent improves energy efficiency by 8%~12% compared with traditional cyclopentane. Compared with other refrigerator energy efficiency improvement technologies, such as the use of vacuum insulation panels or high-efficiency compressors, HCFO-1233zd(E) has better economics, i.e., the lowest cost per unit of energy efficiency improvement.

The advantages of HCFO-1233zd(E) in improving energy efficiency and economy have been proven in the production of large home appliance enterprises in China, and Haier, Midea and Hisense have already used HCFO-1233zd(E) blowing agent in bulk in their domestic production. To date, HCFO-1233zd(E) has been used commercially by as many as 13 home appliance companies (including Whirlpool in the U.S. and Haier, Midea and Hisense in China) and nearly 10 polyurethane spraying and sheet manufacturing companies worldwide. Many other domestic and foreign home appliance companies and related industry customers are also actively experimenting with HCFO-1233zd(E), and more customers are expected to start using it soon.

In fact, compared with the widespread use of cyclopentane and HFC-245fa in the refrigerator industry, the current application of the fourth generation of blowing agents in the home appliance industry is only a few big brands, the scope is not extensive. The reason for this is that the market positioning of each enterprise is different, due to the high price of the fourth generation of blowing agent, not all home appliance companies will choose the fourth generation of blowing agent. Even if they use, for cost reasons, they will choose mixed foaming technology, and the fourth generation of blowing agent only as one of the components, the amount will be expanded with HCFO-1233zd (E) in the future market production scale, and the amount gradually increased.