Honeywell announced that it will invest $33 million in its Baton Rouge, La., manufacturing facility – one of the leading suppliers of refrigerants in the U.S. – to produce a low-global-warming material used in insulation and aerosols. This investment will provide the Baton Rouge facility with the ability to produce Honeywell’s new low-global-warming-potential (GWP) blowing agent and propellant (technical name: HFO-1234ze) on a commercial scale. Production of HFO-1234ze at the facility is scheduled to begin in late 2013.
“Customers are looking for solutions from Honeywell that are energy efficient, safe, economical and better for the environment than existing materials. The investment we are making in Baton Rouge will allow us to meet the significant global customer demand for HFO-1234ze, which has all of these attributes,” says Terrence Hahn, vice president and general manger of Honeywell Fluorine Products.
Honeywell’s Baton Rouge facility was built in 1945 and continues to serve as one of Honeywell’s main manufacturing sites for its Specialty Materials business. Products made at the Baton Rouge facility are shipped to customers around the world. HFO-1234ze has been accepted for use and sale in foam and aerosols by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is also currently used in Europe and Japan, with the majority of demand coming from Europe.
HFO-1234ze is non-flammable, non-ozone depleting and has a global warming potential (GWP) of 6. It can be used in a variety of applications and can replace HFC-134a (which has GWP of 1,430) and HFC-152a (which has a GWP of 124) in aerosol applications and thermal insulating foams, including extruded polystyrene board. It is also being considered to replace HFC-134a for large stationary refrigeration applications. Earlier this year, HFO-1234ze was recognized by the Paris Aerosol Forum as the best new technical product innovation. The prize was awarded by an independent jury of aerosol experts representing brand owners, packaging manufacturers and the media.
According to the European Aerosol Federation, 5.1 billion aerosol containers were produced in Europe in 2009. According to the Consumer Specialty Products Association, more than 4 billion aerosol containers were produced in the U.S. last year. Honeywell has pioneered the development of hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), which are a family of unique products that offer similar performance properties to today’s most widely used refrigerants, blowing agents and aerosol propellants, but with the added benefit of having a lower impact on global warming. Another product in Honeywell’s hydrofluoroolefin portfolio, HFO-1234yf, is being adopted globally by automobile manufacturers as a replacement for the current hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant used in automobile air conditioning, HFC-134a.