Solvents

HFCs are used as solvents due to their specific properties that are: non- flammability, thermal and chemical stability, excellent dielectric properties, high material compatibility, low surface tension and viscosity, high liquid density, and very low toxicity.

They are mainly used for degreasing of metal prior to precision coating and in the optics and electronics sector. Equipment can have charges of 50 to 1,200 litres. Used solvent is heated to remove impurities (distillation) and the recovered solvent is reused. The residue is sent for incineration. Normally it consists of 75% oil/impurities and 25% of solvent [Preparatory study for a review of Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases Final Report September 2011].

HFCs are used where high cleaning performance is required. Member States reporting HFC solvent use all report HFC-43-10mee is used and some include small amounts of HFC-134a.

Recently HFOs are emerging in the market as possible replacements for HFCs, with middle to high GWP. A recent development is the production of HCFC-1233zd (CF3-CH=CH-Cl, trans isomer). This substance has boiling point 19°C and useful solvency property.[UNEP Chemicals Technical Options Committee (CTOC) 2014 Assessment Report]