The Chemours Co. received the Sustainability Leadership Award from the American Chemistry Council for the development of Opteon, its sustainable family of refrigerant chemical products.
Chemours developed Opteon to help its customers meet increasing market demands for high-performance, more environmentally sustainable refrigerants and blends, fueled by increasingly stringent global-warming regulations around the world, as well as changing consumer preferences. Opteon refrigerants have zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and very low global-warming potential (GWP), according to the company.
“Our development of Opteon is a perfect example of how the power of chemistry can help solve some of the world’s largest challenges,” said Mark Vergnano, Chemours president and CEO. “Working with our value-chain partners, we remain committed to providing the world with high-performing, low-GWP refrigerant products that are better for the environment. And with the start-up of our new $300 million production facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, we have tripled our company’s capacity for Opteon, which allows us to meet growing customer demand while investing and creating new manufacturing jobs here in the United States.”
Demand for more sustainable refrigerants has accelerated in recent years as the United States, Japan and a number of European countries have rolled out stricter environmental standards, starting first with mobile air conditioning and then expanding into commercial refrigeration and residential and commercial air conditioning.
In mobile air conditioning, Chemours expects more than 145 million vehicles on the road to be using Opteon YF (HFO-1234yf) by the end of 2020. Compared to previous-generation hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, Opteon YF reduces GWP environmental impact by more than 99%, according to the company. Opteon YF is based on hydrofluoro olefin (HFO) chemistry and has a GWP of less than 1. By comparison, the most common refrigerant, HFC-134a, has a GWP of 1,300.
For commercial refrigeration applications in Europe, Opteon XP40 has been one of the leading retrofit gases for R404A/R507, particularly in the supermarket refrigeration sector. Opteon XP40 has played a critical role since 2015 in allowing the market to comply with the F-gas regulations.
In addition, several global companies recently have selected Opteon products for residential and commercial air conditioning applications, the company noted.
In 2018, Chemours published its first Corporate Responsibility Commitments report, which centers on 10 ambitious goals the company will focus on achieving by 2030. These goals are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and include developing and marketing products like Opteon, which contribute to broader sustainability efforts.
“Consumers are demanding cleaner, greener and more energy-efficient products, and we’re positioning our customers farther up the value chain to meet that demand with products like Opteon,” said Paul Kirsch, president of fluoroproducts at Chemours. “This is about doing well by doing good; we are dedicated to becoming a different kind of chemistry company for a world that demands more.”