DOW Announces Game Changer for Foam Board Fire Safety

By Todd Fratzel on Insulation

Dow Announces Development of a new Polymeric Flame Retardant Technology for Polystyrene Foam Building Insulation Products

Today I received a very interesting and exciting press release from the folks at DOW. They are developing a fire retardant for XPS and EPS Foam Insulation Products. This is likely to have a huge impact on the building industry including projects like DIY basement insulation projects.

Below is their press release for detailed information.

MIDLAND, MICHIGAN — March 29, 2011 — Dow Global Technologies LLC (DGTL), a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), today announced the invention and development of a new, high molecular weight brominated Polymeric Flame Retardant (Polymeric FR). The Polymeric FR is expected to be the ‘next generation industry standard’ flame retardant for use in both extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation applications globally. The development of the new Polymeric FR is the result of Dow’s continuing search for more sustainable products and in this case for a flame retardant that can replace hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD).

Phased Commercialization Plans by Licensees

Today, DGTL also announced the first license agreement with Chemtura Corporation (NYSE: CHMT).  This first license agreement makes it possible for Great Lakes Solutions, a Chemtura business, to produce and sell the newly developed Polymeric FR for use in XPS and EPS foam. DGTL is currently engaged in advanced licensing discussions with several other interested companies and expects to finalize these agreements by the end of the year. DGTL expects this will enable global supply security, foster market competition and help facilitate a smooth industry conversion to the new technology as EPS and XPS manufacturers adopt Polymeric FR, thereby becoming the new global standard.

To enable formulation optimizations and market qualifications, it is expected that Polymeric FR licensees will have interim quantities available throughout 2011. This will be followed, likely in 2012, by large plant construction by the licensees, making significantly larger commercial volumes available by 2013-2015 that are in line with the current HBCD market demand. This should allow the global polystyrene foam insulation industry to make a smooth transition, as national regulations are implemented.

The development of Dow’s Polymeric FR technology comes against the backdrop of an ongoing search for more sustainable products and pending regulatory restrictions on HBCD initiated by the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical (REACH) substances program and several other national regulations

Breakthrough Sustainable Chemistry

The Polymeric FR is a stable, high molecular weight, Non-PBT (Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic) substance that has been subjected to an extensive and robust Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) testing regimen and evaluation, confirming a more sustainable profile. Furthermore, it provides a fire safety solution for EPS and XPS foams to enable these thermal insulation materials to continue to meet the increasing demands of global energy efficiency regulations.

Dow’s Polymeric FR technology is the result of several years of research and development efforts, including significant investments led by The Dow Chemical Company that leverage the company’s polymer, chemistry, and process science and applications know-how and EH&S expertise. Dow has worked with potential licensees to validate the technology and enable them to start scaling up a commercially viable production process.

Further updates and statements will be shared by DGTL and DGTL licensees in the future.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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7 Comments

  1. steve says:

    Any idea when and where this will first be available? And how much more it will cost?

  2. steve says:

    Thanks in advance

  3. steve says:

    Todd I was just wondering if you ever heard anymore on this product as far as when and where it will first be available and how much more it will cost?

    • Todd says:

      I’m told the licensing has only just recently been awarded to a manufacturer. It seems as though later this year would be the soonest you’ll see it.

  4. timmy g says:

    Any new info about availability, cant fing anything on it, thanks

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