Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) is a manmade compound used as refrigerants, aerosols, and in foam manufacture. They are chemically similar to chlorofluorocarbons and exhibit similar properties, having low boiling points which make them ideal in the foam blowing and refrigeration industry. Unlike CFCs, HCFCs are volatile and have a lower global warming potential. They are classified as VOCs and rise up to stratosphere damaging the ozone layer, though are less potent than CFC’s. HCFC’s have replaced CFC’s in many applications and are in the process of being phased out themselves. They are used in commercial refrigeration, foam blowing and residential air conditioning, and are gradually being replaced by hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs).

Under the Montreal Protocol complete phase out of HCFCs is slated for 2020 in developed countries and 2030 in emerging economies. Developed countries have already adopted or are in the process of adopting natural or less harmful artificial alternatives on a large scale, resulting in the phasing out of HCFC market in North America and Europe.

HCFC Market Taxonomy

On basis of type of HCFC

  • HCFC 22
  • HCFC 141b
  • HCFC 142b
  • HCFC 123
  • HCFC 124
  • HCFC 225ca
  • HCFC 225cb
  • HCFC 21
  • Others

On basis of Application

  • Refrigeration
    • Domestic
    • Commercial
    • Transport
  • Large Scale Refrigerators
    • Supermarkets
    • Industrial
  • Chillers
    • Displacement
    • Centrifugal
  • Air Conditioning
    • Portable
    • Single Split
    • Multi Split
    • Mobile
  • Foam Blowing
  • Aerosol Propellants

On basis of foam

  • Polyurethane Foam (PU)
    • Appliances
    • Apparel Automotive
    • Building & Construction
    • Electronics
    • Flooring
    • Furnishing
    • Marine
    • Medical
    • Packaging
  • Polystyrene Foam (PS)
    • Building & Construction
    • Food Packaging
    • Transportation
    • Other Application
  • Phenolic Foam
    • Building & Construction
    • Insulation
    • Other Applications
  • Others
    • Automotive
    • Building & Construction
    • Packaging
    • Other Applications

HCFC-22 was the most commonly used refrigerant, though it is being phased out in favor of HFC-134b. Similarly, in the foam industry, HCFC 141b and HCFC 142b are being replaced by HFC-245fa. HCFC 123 are used in centrifugal chillers and fire extinguishers, HCFC 124 in air conditioning equipment. HCFC 225ca and HCFC 225cb are used as aerosol solvents.

The largest end user is refrigeration, though due to their adverse environmental effects, the market is rapidly shifting to HFC refrigerated systems, especially in the U.S. The stationary air-conditioning includes commercial and residential spaces, while mobile air-conditioning is employed in automotive and aviation industry. The rise in disposable incomes in developing markets has led to growth in automotive market which in turn has driven the air-conditioning market.

Foam blowing market is also undergoing a shift to HFO, though large scale use is expected to take many years due to lack of large-scale manufacturing infrastructure.

HCFC Market Outlook

  • The foam, refrigeration and air-conditioning market has a scope for market growth in Asia Pacific and African markets due to high demand from end use industries. Blowing agents are required in construction, packaging and manufacture of appliances. Yet the environmental concerns of ozone layer depletion and global warming has led to restriction of HCFC as refrigerant and blowing agent. Hence, Asian and African markets face a challenge of meeting market needs and reducing climate change at the same time. A shift from fluorocarbons to alternatives is expected during the forecast period.
  • European Union has adopted measures, which go way beyond the requirements of the Montreal Protocol, and has actively promoted R&D for alternatives. HCFC use in many industrial sectors has been completely phased out. Similarly, in North America, the refrigeration market has seen a shift in CO2 based refrigeration systems resulting in a withering market for HCFCs.
  • Latin American countries have also reduced HCFC and other ozone depleting substances by 60% according to UN Industrial Development Organization, despite burgeoning growth in refrigeration markets of Brazil and Chile. The region aims at a phase-out by 2030 meeting the Montreal Protocol requirements.

Major players in the Hydro Chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) market include Honeywell International Inc, Exxon Mobil Corporation, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Harp International Ltd, Daikin Industries, Ltd., Arkema S.A., Sinochem Group, Solvay S.A., and ZEON Corporation. Furthermore, major players in the refrigeration market are The Danfoss Group, Emerson Electric Co., GEA Group AG, Johnson Controls Inc. and United Technologies Corporation.

Key Development

Several key players in the market are focused on developing growth strategies such as mergers acquisition and new product launches in order to expand their global presence.

  • For instance, in November 2017, SRF Limited, a chemical manufacturer based in India, acquired hydrofluorocarbon refrigerant 125 from Mexichem, which is involved in a several industries including chemicals, data communications, building and infrastructure, irrigation and others. This acquisition strengthen the company’s position in refrigerant market.
  • In August 2017, Hudson Technologies, Inc., provider of solutions for commercial and industrial chiller plants and refrigeration systems, acquired Airgas Refrigerants, Inc., a supplier of industrial gases. The acquisition will provide greater HFC distribution and enhances their customer base.
  • In April 2017, Berg Chilling Systems, provider of industrial chilling, pumping and freezing equipment acquired Industrial Refrigerated Systems Ltd., to offer a comprehensive range of industrial refrigeration services that includes HFC-based and ammonia based solutions.
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