BASF announced today that its new formulation of Elastocool® rigid foams utilizing Honeywell’s Solstice® Liquid Blowing Agent (LBA) is now being used by Whirlpool Corp. in a line of its consumer refrigerators – resulting in the first commercial polyurethane insulation system on the market that uses a low global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) foam blowing agent.
Due in part to BASF’s polyurethane formulation expertise, this marks the first time that such a system was used to replace a traditional hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) based foam blowing agent in residential appliances. Solstice LBA has an ultra-low-GWP of 1, compared to HFCs, which have GWPs between 700 and 1000.
Using Elastocool foam and Solstice LBA as an insulation system provides several important advantages:
Improved shelf life stability of materials, leading to increased plant operational flexibility for Whirlpool;
A 2-3 percent overall increase in energy efficiency of the appliance due to better insulating properties;
Improved foam distribution during production, which provides more consistent and uniform energy efficiency across the appliance; and
Reduced de-mold time during production, which can lead to reduced cycle time and improved plant throughput.
“As a key development partner to Whirlpool, we’re excited to help bring this premiere commercial polyurethane insulation system to market,” said Jozef Venner, Business Director, Performance Materials Consumer Group, BASF. “Moving forward, we’re working on additional improved formulations to continue to be on the forefront of energy-efficient systems that provide best-in-class thermal performance for our customers.”
BASF’s Elastocool rigid foams feature a fine, closed cell structure and special designed chemistry that result in outstanding mechanical and physical properties. The properties are often needed for thermal insulation applications with extremely demanding energy efficiency requirements.
The thermal insulation properties of Elastocool rigid foams, combined with their sealing function, provide an excellent prospect for the future as energy costs continue to rise, energy efficiency requirements become more strict and consumers become more educated and conscientious about energy issues.