Decatur, Alabama -- GE Appliances & Lighting claims to be the first full-line appliance manufacturer in the US to adopt cyclopentane as foam-blowing agent, in an effort to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the insulating process in the manufacturing of its top-freezer refrigerators in Decatur, Alabama.
Using cyclopentane -- an agent used to foam and propel insulation into the doors and cases of refrigerators -- will reduce the facility's GHG emissions from the foam-blowing process by 99 percent compared to the foam-blowing agent it replaces, says GE.
"GE Appliances & Lighting is looking at every aspect of environmental stewardship for our appliances -- from manufacturing processes to more responsible product end-of-life management," said Paul Surowiec, general manager, refrigeration, GE Appliances & Lighting, in a company statement. "We also offer hundreds of ENERGY STAR-qualified models to ensure our appliances deliver efficiency and cost savings to consumers throughout the appliance's life."
By moving to cyclopentane for GE's 16-, 17- and 18-cubic-foot top-freezer refrigerators this April, GE's Decatur plant will reduce GHG emissions from the foam-insulating process by more than 400 kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent annually.
This reduction from replacing the previous foam-insulating agent HFC-134a (hydroflourocarbon-134a) with cyclopentane is so significant that GE says it will reduce the GHG emissions of the entire Decatur manufacturing facility by more than 80 percent.
Also, compared to the HFC-134a it replaces, initial tests indicate cyclopentane increases the efficiency of the insulating foam, yielding energy efficiency improvements and cost savings for consumers.
"GE's commitment to develop and deploy solutions for today's environmental challenges is a top priority," Surowiec said. "GE's transition to cyclopentane as a foam-blowing agent for top-freezer refrigerators is another great step forward in the spirit of our company's ecomaginationSM initiative."