The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will witness another breakthrough in the global phase out of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the foam production sector.

Through a grant from the Multilateral Fund (MLF) and the government of Japan, through its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as implementing agency, the Philippine Ozone Desk (POD) of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR organized a demonstration in the application of the polyurethane foam using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (SCCO2).

This non-ozone depleting substance was applied today (Monday) on the roof of EMB-EIA Building of the DENR. Spraying of roofs with polyurethane foam is a practice widely used by the industrial and commercial sectors and lately, for residential buildings in the country. The application of insulating foam in roofs has shown reduced power consumption as well as other benefits such as protection of roofing materials and elimination of leaks.

According to DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, the foam manufacturing sector has shown the fastest growth associated with the construction of malls, warehouses, industrial facilities, commercial buildings and other similar facilities in the country.

“For the past 10 years or so, spray polyurethane foam has been applied using harmful chemicals such HCFC-141b that deplete the ozone layer. Now, we are finding better alternatives that the sector can use without destroying the environment,” Paje said.

Achilles, the Japanese company that developed the SCCO2 technology, provided 10 drums of chemicals that will be used for demonstration purposes. According to the POD, demonstration activities were already held in a facility in Pasay City.

In January 2011, the Philippines secured the approval of the Executive Committee of the Montreal Protocol for assistance in the implementation of the Foam Sector Plan. A total of US$2.26M was granted for the project. Some 35 companies were likewise identified as potential beneficiaries.

The Foam Sector Plan calls for the national phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). HCFCs are the last group scheduled for phase out in the country that is mainly used by the foam, commercial and domestic refrigeration and air-conditioning, solvent, fire extinguishing, and servicing sectors.

The first stage of the HCFC phase out program was to freeze HCFC consumption relative to the baseline by the year 2013 and a 10% reduction in HCFC imports by the year 2015 .Under the plan, non-HCFC technologies will be explored such as cyclopentane or CP technology, supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2), all-water technology, and supercritical CO2-assisted water blown technology.

The Philippines has been a party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer since its ratification on March 21, 1991. The country has phased out seven groups of ODS which includes chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs.