SHANGHAI, CHINA — China is taking the elimination of chlorofluorocarbons seriously.
Projects to eliminate their use in China have absorbed as much as a third of the total budget available from the Global Multilateral Fund (MLF) established under the Montreal Protocol, estimated Maoqi Zhang, who is responsible for channeling the funds to the country's administrative bodies involved.
China has one of the best programs, with 40 percent elimination of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances being expected by 2000, the World Bank specialist said at the April 1-3 PU China '98 show in Shanghai.
``The size of the program is shown by the MLF allocations.''
Through 1997, a total of 232 CFC-elimination projects had been approved in China, accounting for a budget of $240 million. Halon replacement has been the biggest sector, in view of the more-damaging effects of these materials, but projects in the polyurethanes sector — both flexible and rigid foams — have accounted for almost half of the sum involved, according to Zhang and two of the country's leading specialists: Li Yongkong, in the project management department of China's National Environmental Protection Agency; and Wen He Ping, technical director of the Tianjin Polyurethane Plastics factory.
The situation in 1998 is similar, with about $60 million available for PU-related projects, again representing about a third of the total funding, the specialists said. About 25 projects are expected, but several of these will be umbrella projects covering many enterprises, totaling more than 100 in all, Wen estimated.
Rigid foam processors have received the bulk of the assistance so far, about $102 million having been invested in more than 20 projects in the refrigeration sector alone: $71 million in household refrigerator production units, and $31 million for plants making commercial equipment. More than 40 other projects, both rigid and flexible foams, also have been supported, Wen said.
Overall, the projects have resulted in a shift to using almost equal proportions of pentane and hydrochlorofluorocarbon-141b as blowing agents for the rigid foams.
But in the refrigeration sector ``very few use HCFC-141b,'' Wen said. He attributed this to the fact that more support was given for switching to hydrocarbons under the MLF guidelines.
So far about a quarter of the country's use of ozone-depleting substances has been eliminated, amounting to some 23,000. Fifty percent replacement is expected by 2005, and ``by 2010 we hope to be 100 percent,'' Wen said. The reductions relate to the average level of consumption of ozone-depleting substances in 1995, 1996 and 1997, he explained.