India phases out ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon
22 January 2020
India has successfully achieved the complete phase out of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturers and one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), claims the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
HCFC-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.
India has now emerged as one among the few countries globally and a pioneer in some cases in the use of technologies, which are non-Ozone Depleting and have a low Global Warming Potential (GWP).
India had proactively and successfully taken the challenge of complete phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises by 1 January 2020.
On 31 December 2019, as part of the move towards environment friendly technologies, the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) also brought out a Gazette notification prohibiting the issuance of import licence for HCFC-141b from 1 January 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
HCFC-141b is not produced in the country and all the domestic requirements are met through imports. With this notification, prohibiting the import of HCFC-141 b, the country has completely phased out the important ozone depleting chemical. Simultaneously, the use of HCFC-141 b by foam manufacturing industry has also been closed as on 1 January 2020 under the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2014.
Nearly, 50 per cent of the consumption of ozone depleting chemicals in the country was attributable to HCFC-141 b in the foam sector. The ministry adopted a structured approach to engage with foam manufacturing enterprises for providing technical and financial assistance in order to transition to non-ODS and low GWP technologies under HCFC Phase out Management Plan (HPMP).
Around 175 foam manufacturing enterprises have been covered under HPMP out of which, 163 enterprises are covered under stage II of HPMP. The complete phase out of HCFC 141 b from the country in foam sector is among the first at this scale in Article 5 parties (developing countries) under the Montreal Protocol. The implementation of HPMP through regulatory and policy actions, implementation of technology conversion projects has removed around 7,800 tonnes of HCFC 141-b from the baseline level of 2009 and 2010 of the country.
The phase out of HCFC-141b from the country has twin environmental benefits, viz, assisting the healing of the stratospheric ozone layer,and towards climate change mitigation due to transitioning of foam manufacturing enterprises at this scale under HPMP to low global warming potential alternative technologies.
The polyurethane foam sector has links with important economic sectors related to buildings, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure, automobiles, commercial refrigeration, domestic appliances such as refrigerators, water geysers, thermo ware, office and domestic furniture applications, specific high value niche applications etc. In India, the foam manufacturing sector is mix of large, medium and small enterprises having varying capacities, with preponderance of MSMEs. Many of the MSMEs operate largely in the informal sector.
To ensure minimal dislocation in the sector and for enhancing the capacities of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in converting to low-GWP non-ODS technologies, training and awareness programmes on non-ODS and low GWP alternatives to HCFCs, including adoption of such alternatives, have been organised in close collaboration with Industry and MSMEs will also be facilitated for adequate tie-ups with system houses, laboratories for getting their material tested, etc, in addition to organising study tours, field visits, etc.
MoEF&CC had entered into a MoA with the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology, Department of Chemicals &Petrochemicals to facilitate and hand-holding foam manufacturing enterprises. Transitioning to non-HCFC and low GWP alternatives. As part of assistance made available to the enterprises technology workshops, field trials, on-site demonstration and support, practical hands on training and product validation are being provided. Already enterprises assisted for stabilising alternative technologies have been able to move towards adoption of alternatives at commercial scale.