An India Study Tour to Exchange KnowledgeAug 22, 2017
Zhejiang Province, 14-18 August -- United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) China and India offices arranged an Indian study tour to China Zhejiang Province, with the aim of exchanging knowledge on technology for phasing out polyurethane foam (PU foam). A total of 14 delegates from the PU foam industry and the Indian government participated in the five-day study tour in three cities – Yuyao, Shaoxing and Haining. The tour was divided into three parts: a workshop, talks on hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) phasing out technology, and a plant visit. Through these three modes of knowledge exchange, the delegates hoped to gain a broader perspective on and understanding of PU foam technology.
India's HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP)
UNDP India has been working on their HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) for decades, aiming to phase out the use of HCFCs that can deplete the ozone layer. Under the HPMP Stage I, 15 large enterprises in the foam-manufacturing sector, which had been large consumers of HCFC-141b, adopted an alternative technology that allowed them to reduce their use of HCFCs. HPMP Stage II aims to expand and apply the conversion process to phase out HCFCs to more than 400 foam enterprises and a range of different foam products and technologies. However, the penetration of non-ozone substance (ODS) use in the market will be determined by commercial factors. As such, the study tour arranged by UNDP China sought to elicit discussion and learning on HCFC alternatives from different industries that can be applied to the foam industry.
Learning by talking
On August 14th, Indian delegates, Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) staff, and Chinese technical experts from the foam industry attended a workshop in the FECO building. As part of the workshop, five experts gave presentations on alternatives to HCFCs and discussed phasing out technology, touching on issues such as alternatives’ flammability and cost-effectiveness. Participants were thus able to compare and consider the pros and cons of the alternatives, an exercise useful to future decisions on using alternatives both in China and India.
Learning by asking
Throughout the next four days, August 15th-17th, the 14 Indian delegates conducted field visits to five enterprises in Zhejiang province, including to equipment and cyclopentane enterprises. By directly communicating with those enterprises’ experts and asking them questions, delegates were able to learn about those enterprises’ technology, challenges confronted, and solutions to those challenges. In this way, Indian delegates became well informed on the technologies to be introduced to India.
Learning by seeing
In addition to exchanging ideas and knowledge at the table, the Indian delegates also visited the five enterprises’ plants, where they saw assembly lines of water heaters and refrigerators and equipment using alternatives to HCFCs. Through such observation, the delegates developed a more comprehensive understanding of the technology used. Moreover, several delegates were able to spray foam and cut foam blocks to have a close look at the foam composition. This hands-on practice allowed delegates to see how water expanding foam is made and how effective its insulation is, thereby sharing with them the technology that has been applied in China.
“The study tour to China is meaningful and I have learnt a lot,” said one of the delegates. In the future, UNDP China hopes to continue to help organize similar study tours, promoting the development of the PU foam industry cooperation between China and India and mitigating depletion of the ozone.