Choice of activity data

Two types of activity data are needed in order to prepare the emissions estimates:

1. the amount of chemical used in foam manufacturing in a country and not subsequently exported, and

2. the amount of chemical contained in foam imported into the country. Data collection issues related to these two areas differ. Chemical used in foam manufacture

The amount of bulk chemicals used in the foam blowing industry should include both domestically produced and imported HFCs. Domestic chemical sales data to the foam industry should be available directly from chemical suppliers or foam manufacturers at the application level (Tier 1a) and may extend to a sub-application analysis (Tier 2a). As with other ODS substitute applications, imported chemical data may be available from customs officials or chemical distributors.

Historic consumption data is required to build an adequate picture of the development of blowing agent banks. However, this does not apply to open-celled foams which lose their blowing agents in the first year. For open-cell foam, all emissions will occur during manufacture, with the exception of the OCF sub-sector mentioned above. Thus, it is necessary to determine the share of chemical associated with the manufacture of open-celled foam. These data can be determined through an end-use survey, or approximated by reviewing similar end-use data gathered on CFCs and HCFCs.

Chemical contained in imported and exported foams

Inventory compilers in countries that export closed-cell foam should subtract these volumes from their calculations of annual banks and ultimately decommissioning losses, since the in-use emissions will occur in the importing country. Data on the chemical charge of exported closed-cell foam may be available from large manufacturers. However, customs data itself is unlikely to yield relevant information on blowing agent type unless special provisions have been set up by the reporting country.

Similarly, inventory compilers in countries that import products containing closed-cell foam, should include estimates of emissions from these imported products for completeness. Since the inventory compiler will have even less knowledge and control of products manufactured outside of the country than for those manufactured and subsequently exported, information on the blowing agents contained in closed-cell foam products imported is even more difficult to collect. Accordingly, inventory compilers in countries whose emissions occur only from imported closed-cell foam may need to use expert judgement in estimating this data (see Volume 1, Chapters 2 and 3).

In the past, inventory compilers were not able to use international HFC production and consumption data sets to develop estimates of chemical contained in imported closed-cell foam because these data sets did not include regional use and trade pattern databases. For example, the Alternative Fluorocarbons Environmental Acceptability Study (AFEAS) statistics-gathering process compiled global activity data up until 1997 for HFC-134a in the foam sector17 but regional breakdowns were unavailable.

To help resolve this problem, some databases now contain national mechanisms to assist inventory compilers by taking advantage of international HFC/PFC consumption and emission data sets to access globally or regionally derived activity data and bank estimates for blowing agents contained in closed cell foams within their own countries. These can be applied within Tier 2a assessments and will provide estimated consumption and bank data at the sub-application level, to which the default emission factors contained in Tables 7.6 and 7.7 (or updated versions thereof carried in the EFDB or elsewhere) can be applied.

16 No emission factors are provided for open-cell foams because all emissions occur during the first year.

17 HFC-134a is the most commonly used HFC. AFEAS data can found at http://www.afeas.org.

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