News Analysis

Reduced Pentane Emissions from EPS Production

While expanded polystyrene (EPS) is the only type of rigid foam insulation that is currently made with neither CFCs nor HCFCs, it has one environmental drawback: pentane emissions during manufacturing. EPS is produced by expanding styrene beads using pentane gas, a hydrocarbon that contributes to localized smog production. (Pentane does not contribute to ozone depletion, and it is not a greenhouse gas.) Western Insulfoam has cut pentane emissions by more than 95 percent in its Chino, CA, plant. The reduced pentane emissions were required to meet the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s strict limits on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions (Rule 1175).

A number of strategies were used to reduce the Chino plant emissions. First, instead of standard EPS stock, the plant uses a low-pentane EPS manufactured by BASF. BASF’s “Styropor BFL” contains only 3

Published January 1, 1993

(1993, January 1). Reduced Pentane Emissions from EPS Production. Retrieved from