Thetford, UK - British refrigerator maker Precision has just launched what it says is the first commercial catering refrigeration which uses polyurethane foam insulation based on vegetable oils rather than on petrochemicals.
The new foam, called Envirofoam, is based on renewable resources, and also requires less energy to produce than conventional PU foams, the company's website says.Meanwhile, "The new foam's insulating properties and strength are every bit as good as a conventional foam," Precision added.
"Envirofoam is a very exciting development. We're thrilled to be the first refrigeration manufacturer to be given the opportunity to realise its potential in the catering market," said Jeremy Hall, managing director of Thetford-based Precision, on the website.
Hall added that his customers "are increasingly concerned about the impact their business has on the environment," and said that the new foam "allows us to deliver genuinely 'greener' refrigeration, with no extra cost implications."
Currently commercial refrigeration uses foams based solely on petrochemicals. In contrast, the Envirofoam range contains high levels of natural, vegetable-based products, including a polymer derived from rapeseed oil, developed by Kings Lynn-based IFS Chemicals.
"We estimate that the energy used to produce the foam's new vegetable-based polyols is about one-tenth of that used to manufacture conventional polyols," said Barrie Colvin of IFS, in the Precision announcement.
The IFS boss added that the rigid foam polyols have a total energy demand, "estimated at 80 percent lower than the conventional materials."
All of Precision's refrigeration products will in future use Envirofoam R2007, the company said.
The company points out that the foam's polyol component contains a high level - more than 70 percent - of vegetable-derived material, adding that its blowing agent falls within the "less than 5" category for global warming. epw"