18.104.22.168 Insulating foams and SF6 in sound-insulating glazing
Within the European Union, Denmark and Austria have introduced legislation to ban the use of HFC for the production of several foam types (Cheminfo, 2004). Since 2006 the EU Regulation 842/2006 on certain Fluorinated Gases limits emissions and certain uses of fluorinated gases (European Commission, 2006), banning the use of HFCs in One-Component Foam from 2008, except where required to meet national safety standards. Japan has established a target to limit HFC, PFC and SF6 emissions. Measures to meet this target include voluntary action plans by industries, improved containment during the production process, less blowing agent per product, improved productivity per product and the use of non-fluorocarbon low GWP alternatives. Australia has developed an act for industries covered by the Montreal Protocol and extended voluntary arrangements for non-Montreal Protocol industries. Measures include supply controls though the licensing of importers, exporters and manufacturers of HFCs.
Although there are no international proposals to phase out the use of HFCs in foams, the high costs of HFCs have naturally contributed to the minimization of their use in formulations (often by use with co-blowing agents) and by early replacement by alternative technologies based primarily on CO2, water or hydrocarbons (e.g. pentane). There is more regulatory uncertainty at regional level and in Japan some pressure exists to stop HFC-use in the foam sector. In Europe, the recently published F-Gas regulation (European Commission, 2006) only impacts the use of HFCs in one component foam (OCF) which is used primarily for gap filling in the construction sector. However, there is a requirement to put in place provisions for recovery of blowing agent at end-of-life where such provisions are technically feasible and do not entail disproportionate cost.