Dow Italia (The Dow Chemical Company group), Afros and Crios (Cannon Group), and Federchimica are partners in the ENERG-ICE Project funded by LIFE, the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects. The ENERG-ICE Project focused on a technology to reduce the environmental impact of energy using products, such as cold appliances, by taking action at the design stage, where the pollution caused during the product’s life cycle can be best prevented. The project should showcase an innovative polyurethane foaming technology for manufacturing the insulation filling of cold appliances (refrigerators and freezers) using cyclopentane as a blowing agent.
The household sector is one of the largest users of electrical energy in the European Union, consuming almost a third of total electrical energy, with cold appliances accounting for 25% of the total household energy consumption.
The ENERG-ICE Project focused on providing a technology to reduce the environmental impact of energy-using products starting at the design stage, where the pollution caused during the product’s lifecycle can be best prevented. The project showcased an innovative polyurethane foaming technology (Dow’s PASCAL™ technology) for manufacturing the insulation filling material of cold appliances (e.g. refrigerators and freezers), allowing to reduce the carbon footprint by using blowing agents with ZERO Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and low –Global Warming Potential (GWP) such as Cyclo-pentane. After a preparatory study of the chemical foam process, ENERG-ICE technology was demonstrated and implemented first in a pilot stage then in the marketplace at industrial level. The ultimate goal was to demonstrate how the use of a new technology based on hydrocarbons blowing agents can improve cold appliances’ manufacturing in terms of cost-efficiency, environmental sustainability and energy savings. As a result, the new polyurethane foaming technology sets new, higher standards for hydrocarbon blown foams with improved insulation properties superior to those employed today and giving current A+/A++ labelling, with a positive impact on the European and worldwide market.
As revealed in the ENERG-ICE project, compared to traditional injection polyurethane technology, PASCAL™ technology allows the appliance industry to achieve significant energy savings and emissions reduction, as well as increased productivity targets such as:
- Boosting energy efficiency of appliances up to 10%, in particular:
- 8% polyurethane energy efficiency improvement with Cyclo-pentane blowing agent
- 11% polyurethane energy efficiency improvement with a new blowing agent having low GWP
- Decreasing fill time by 20-30 seconds
- Reaching 50% faster demold times or faster cycle time/productivity
- Saving 8 kg of CO2 emissions per year per appliance
- Market potential to save 1.2 million tons of CO2 emissions each year (the equivalent of taking 213,000 cars off the road)
- ENERG-ICE was chosen and then awarded as one of the six BEST OF THE BEST project awarded by LIFE Environmental program in 2014.