Space heating and cooling contribute a large fraction of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from residential and commercial buildings. Heating and cooling duties can be drastically reduced with closed-cell foam insulation. The reduced heating and cooling duties can be met efficiently and with reduced or virtually no GHG emissions through heat pumps with electrically driven mechanical compressors. Rigid polyurethane and extruded polystyrene thermal insulation foam are used widely in residential and commercial building construction. They both need blowing agents to create the foam cell structure and to resist the transfer of heat through the foam cells. Heat pumps are finding increasing acceptance for heating and cooling of both residential and commercial buildings, especially in regions with milder winter climates. Heat pumps commonly use positive-displacement compressors (e.g., scroll or screw) for lower and centrifugal compressors for higher heating and cooling capacities. Heat pumps using novel high-speed centrifugal compressors for lower heating and cooling capacities are also emerging as a promising option. Heat pumps need suitable refrigerants that enable efficient heating in cold winter temperatures and efficient cooling in hot summer temperatures. A new class of fluids with low Global Warming Potentials, based on Hydro-Fluoro-Olefins (HFOs), will be assessed for use as polymeric foam blowing agents and as heat pump refrigerants. They are designed to meet safety and sustainability constraints, while minimizing total cost.


Konstantinos (Kostas) Kontomaris, Ph.D. – Technical Fellow, Thermal and Specialized Solutions, The ChemoursTM Company: Dr. Kontomaris received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991. He spent fifteen years in various Process and Product Research and Development roles with DuPont Central Research and DuPont Engineering. Over the past fifteen years with DuPont and Chemours, he has been leading the invention and development of next generation refrigerants for air conditioning and refrigeration, working fluids for low temperature heat utilization, and blowing agents for polymeric foam. He has invented several low global warming products that are now contributing to the transition to a sustainable global energy system. He has contributed over two hundred publications, including over fifty patents, on cooling, heating, power generation, polymeric foam expansion, turbulent heat transfer, and chemical reaction engineering.