Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) is a manmade compound used as refrigerants, aerosols, and in foam manufacture. They are chemically similar to chlorofluorocarbons and exhibit similar properties, having low boiling points which make them ideal in the foam blowing and refrigeration industry. Unlike CFCs, HCFCs are volatile and have a lower global warming potential. They are classified as VOCs and rise up to stratosphere damaging the ozone layer, though are less potent than CFC’s. HCFC’s have replaced CFC’s in many applications and are in the process of being phased out themselves. They are used in commercial refrigeration, foam blowing and residential air conditioning, and are gradually being replaced by hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs).
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Under the Montreal Protocol complete phase out of HCFCs is slated for 2020 in developed countries and 2030 in emerging economies. Developed countries have already adopted or are in the process of adopting natural or less harmful artificial alternatives on a large scale, resulting in the phasing out of HCFC market in North America and Europe.
HCFC Market Outlook
The foam, refrigeration and air-conditioning market has a scope for market growth in Asia Pacific and African markets due to high demand from end use industries. Blowing agents are required in construction, packaging and manufacture of appliances. Yet the environmental concerns of ozone layer depletion and global warming has led to restriction of HCFC as refrigerant and blowing agent. Hence, Asian and African markets face a challenge of meeting market needs and reducing climate change at the same time. A shift from fluorocarbons to alternatives is expected during the forecast period.
European Union has adopted measures, which go way beyond the requirements of the Montreal Protocol, and has actively promoted R&D for alternatives. HCFC use in many industrial sectors has been completely phased out. Similarly, in North America, the refrigeration market has seen a shift in CO2based refrigeration systems resulting in a withering market for HCFCs.
Latin American countries have also reduced HCFC and other ozone depleting substances by 60% according to UN Industrial Development Organization, despite burgeoning growth in refrigeration markets of Brazil and Chile. The region aims at a phase-out by 2030 meeting the Montreal Protocol requirements.
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Major players in the blowing agents market include Honeywell International Inc, Exxon Mobil Corporation, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Harp International Ltd, Daikin Industries, Ltd., Arkema S.A., Sinochem Group, Solvay S.A., and ZEON Corporation. Furthermore, major players in the refrigeration market are The Danfoss Group, Emerson Electric Co., GEA Group AG, Johnson Controls Inc. and United Technologies Corporation.