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Transitioning from HFC to HFO blowing agents

Following the EU F-Gas Regulation in 2014 (Department for Environment, 2023) which aimed to contain, prevent and reduce emissions of F Gases and the Paris Agreement in 2015 (SKG Planet, 2023) which main objective is to fight against climate change to limit the increase in world temperature to 2 °C, from the pre-industrial era, before the 2100, Angastiniotes Bros Steel Ltd has successfully upgraded its polyol system from HFC to HFO blowing agent

Figure 1 ODP vs GWP(Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Section, 2023)

You've come across the acronyms "HFC" and "HFO" when working with spray foam roof adhesive and insulation, but do you know what they stand for? Though the two acronyms only share a slight, one-letter difference, they represent two very different environmental outcomes.

HFCs contribute to global warming, and new regulations aim to limit their negative impact by replacing them with HFOs.

HFC stands for hydrofluorocarbon, a manufactured combination of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon atoms. HFCs are found in blowing agents used in spray foam roof adhesive and insulation. Without HFCs, roofing insulation wouldn't "foam up," expand and deliver the tremendous thermal resistance (R-value) a building need. HFCs are also found in refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

There's a big problem with HFCs, though. HFC emissions cause increased warming in the stratosphere, reports NASA, speeding up the chemical reactions that destroy ozone molecules and decreasing ozone levels.

In other words, HFCs trap heat in our atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Thus, they have high global warming potential (GWP) and are ultimately bad for the environment. How bad?

"Though HFCs currently represent around 1% of total greenhouse gas," explains the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, "their impact on global warming can be hundreds to thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide per unit of mass."

HFO stands for hydrofluoroolefin. The chemical is also made of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. However, unlike HFCs, HFOs have zero ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) and low GWP, making them a more environmentally-friendly option than HFCs. HFOs don't trap heat in our atmosphere and don't contribute to global warming.

Figure 2 Transition of the blowing agents (Mitsubishi Electric, 2023)


Department for Environment. (2023, 02 18). Retrieved from

Elevate. (2023, 02 18). Retrieved from!)&text=HFO%20stands%20for%20hydrofluoroolefin.,environmentally%2Dfriendly%20option%20than%20HFCs.

Mitsubishi Electric. (2023, 02 18). Retrieved from

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Section. (2023, 02 18). Retrieved from

SKG Planet. (2023, 02 18). Retrieved from

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