Product Review

Ozone-Safe Urethane Foam

Foam-Tech, Inc. of North Thetford, VT, this past April became the first company to offer a urethane spray or injection foam with zero ozone-depletion potential. Super Green™ is produced with hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) 134a, which contains no chlorine and thus does not damage the Earth’s protective ozone layer. In 1991, concern about the environment led Foam-Tech’s president, Henri Fennell, to switch from CFC-11 to HCFC-22 as the foaming agent in the insulation. HCFC-22 has only 1⁄20 the ozone depletion potential of CFC-11, but even HCFCs are slated for phase-out (see EBN, Vol. 2, No. 1).

The switch from CFC-11 to HCFC-22 two years ago was a real headache, according to Fennell, but HFC-134a proved to be a simple drop-in replacement for HCFC-22, even though the new chemical had not been widely identified as a potential foaming agent for urethane. Fennell and his foam supplier, Preferred Foam Products of Branford, CT, began experimenting with HFC-134a last year as a potential substitute for HCFC-22. Interestingly, the switch was so easy because of changes they had implemented for environmental reasons. To cut down on waste, they had switched to reusable pressurized containers for shipping the HCFC-22 foaming agent. It turns out that those pressurized containers can also be used for the low-boiling-point HFC-134a. The new foaming agent does increase the price of the foam to some extent—about 10% according to Fennell—but he expects to see the price of HFC-134a (currently about $5 per pound) go down, making Super Green comparable in price to HCFC-22 urethanes.

Published July 1, 1993

(1993, July 1). Ozone-Safe Urethane Foam. Retrieved from