Manila -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines says it will start phasing out import and use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in foam sprays, fire extinguishers, solvents, industrial and residential air conditioning units starting January next year.
Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Ramon Paje issued a statement 8 Oct to highlight the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signed 16 Sept 1987.
Paje explained that the gradual HCFC phase-out would start early next year, with the country freezing import of HCFCs at the 2010 base level of 162 ozone depleting potential (ODP) tonnes. The level would then be reduced by 10 per cent starting 2015; 35% in 2020; 67.5% in 2025; 97.5% in 2030; and altogether banned in 2040.
The environment chief stressed that as well as its intention to stay on-track with the scheduled phase-out, "the government also ensures that affected sectors, namely foam manufacturing, air conditioning, refrigeration, fire extinguishing and servicing, will have a smooth transition to alternative substances and technologies."
One alternative being promoted is hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which can be used for foam blowing, refrigeration, fire extinguishers and solvents. Other compounds that can be used are hydrocarbons (HCs) and supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2) for foam blowing; HFC blends and natural refrigerants such as ammonia and HCs as cooling agents; dry chemicals and water for certain fire extinguishing applications; and methylene chloride as solvent.
Paje added that the DENR has submitted the draft HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) to the Multilateral Fund approval at its meeting in December.
One project that has been implemented by the DENR and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) since 2010 is the "HCFC-141b Phaseout in the Foam Sector Project". The project promotes the use of non-ODS alternative such as SCCO2 in the application of foam on roofs of industrial and commercial buildings for insulation, reduction of power consumption, and elimination of leaks.