Increased demand for foam blowing agents across various industries such as refrigeration, automotive, construction, and manufacturing is expected to push
the growth of the global foam blowing agents market at a CAGR of 4.4% during the period from 2013 to 2020. Traditionally, hydrocarbons (HC),
hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFC) along with products such as hydrazine, azodicarbonamide, and CO2 have been used as key foam
blowing agents. After the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol came into force to reduce the production and consumption of HC, HFC, and HCFC due to their
negative impact on earth’s ozone layer, industry players have been looking out for alternative eco-friendly foam blowing agents.
Browse the full Global Foam Blowing Agents Market Report
The environmental impact of substitute foam blowing agents is judged by their ozone depletion potential (ODP), and global warming potential (GWP). The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluates and lists the various substitute foam blowing agents under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP)
program. Taking cue from the EPA’s list of substitute foam blowing agents, manufacturers are now focusing on developing foam blowing agents with low GWP.
Key Industry Players Developing Foam Blowing Agents with Lower GWP
Contributing to the cause of reducing ozone depletion and global warming, Honeywell International has developed Solstice Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA), which
is the latest foam blowing agent technology. The nonflammable and cost-effective blowing agent has a GWP of 1, which is way lower than that of the other
commonly used HFCs such as cyclopentane, HFC-245fa, HFC-365mfc, and methyl formate. The product is a fourth-generation foam blowing agent developed by the
company and has been included in the SNAP list as a suitable alternative in all foam applications.
France’s leading chemicals manufacturer, Arkema, has developed the liquid blowing agent Forane 1233zd with a GWP of 7, which outperforms HFCs in terms of
energy efficiency and vapor pressure. Similarly, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts has introduced Formacel 1100 as a next-generation foam expansion
agent. Formacel 1100 has a GWP of 2 and a zero ODP.
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Developing Nations Adopting Low-GWP Alternatives
Foam blowing agents are majorly used in the building and construction industry. It was estimated by the U.S. EPA that the overall HFC consumption in the
construction foams sector was around 38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010. Developed countries held a majority share in the total
HFC consumption in 2010.
As industry players develop low-GWP alternatives, it is expected that HFCs and HCFCs will be gradually phased out of the market. In developing economies,
efforts have been taken to increase the adoption of low-GWP alternatives. In Brazil, methylal is being used for the production of spray, panels, block, and
pipe-in-pipe foam. Usage of super-critical CO2 in manufacturing of spray foam is being encouraged in Colombia. With growing awareness about the adverse
impacts of global warming and industry players coming up with eco-friendly alternatives, the carbon footprint of the foam blowing agents market is expected
to decrease in the near future.