Speaker interview: Ernest Wysong, Global Technology Leader Opteon (TM) Spray Foam & Panel Applications, The Chemours Company 

Chemours Company headshot In our latest speaker interview, we had the opportunity to catch up with Ernest Wysong, Global Technology Leader Opteon (TM) Spray Foam & Panel Applications at The Chemours Company, ahead of his conference session on fourth-generation blowing agents at Foam Expo in March.

Dr. Ernest B.Wysong is the Global Technology Leader for Opteon Spray Foam and Panel Applications for Chemours, formerly DuPont Performance Chemicals, and is located in Wilmington, Delaware.  He has 27 years of experience in catalysis, polymer synthesis, surface science, and polyurethane foam technology.  Currently he plays a key role in helping the industry transition to low global warming blowing agents by evaluating next generation candidates and optimizing formulations to maximize performance. Dr. Wysong holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Central Florida and a Ph.D. in Organometallic Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. Ernest is the author of numerous papers and patents on the subject of polymer science including foam applications.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your position at The Chemours Company. What is the primary focus of your role? 

My role encompasses a broad range of responsibilities specific to the development and commercial launch of Chemours’ new hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blowing agents, Opteon 1100 and Opteon 1150. These include everything from basic scientific studies related to understanding the chemical and physical properties of the molecule to detailed customer application research that demonstrates the value and performance in critical insulation end-uses. The focus areas include basic data generation, product stewardship, end-use performance, and technical service support to optimize performance of the new blowing agent.

What do you see as the best and the worst parts of your role?

Chemours pull quote 1 I get very excited about the complexity and multiple scientific disciplines that polyurethane foam research entails. Enabling the transition of new HFO blowing agents requires knowledge and skills in diverse areas including chemistry, physics, engineering, analytical science, mathematics, and practical application expertize. It is great to work with the various foam formulators to help the industry understand the changing technologies and develop a transition plan to low Global Warming Potential (GWP) blowing agents. The challenge involves maintaining an open mind and identifying which of these disciplines are at play and in what fashion. 

What, in your opinion, is the most interesting aspect of blowing agent development in recent years? 

In response to global sustainability needs, unsaturated fluorine containing molecules (HFOs and HCFOs) have been developed as low GWP, non-flammable substitutes with excellent thermal performance to replace high GWP HFCs for use in high-performance polyurethane foam insulation applications. These HFOs and HCFOs are currently available and represent the closest match in performance and handling characteristics to the incumbent HFCs. In many cases, the HFO formulations will not only meet changing regulatory requirements with significantly reduced greenhouse gases, but also improved yields.

Chemours pull quote 2 Why are HFO foaming agents gaining so much popularity within the industry? 

Overall the foam insulation industry is moving forward with product introductions that continue to improve sustainability and energy efficiency requirements that customers and regulations demand. HFO foaming agents represent one of the most effective means of enabling this improvement in a commercially viable fashion.

Can you tell us about how the changing regulatory environment is having an impact on blowing agents? 

Some of the incumbent fluorocarbon blowing agents are being directly impacted by regulatory phase-outs on both national, state and local levels. Although recent litigation efforts have produced some uncertainty about specific timelines for segment phaseouts in the US, the trends remain and the global direction and implications continue to advance for transitions to more sustainable options including HFOs.

What are you most looking forward to seeing at Foam Expo North America 2019?

I am looking forward to meeting and networking with researchers, decision makers, and policymakers from across the foam industry to help facilitate a successful transition to next-generation blowing agents.

Dr. Ernest Wysong will be speaking in the 'Updates on Fourth-Generation Blowing Agents - From Regulation to Implementation' conference session on March 26 2019, Track 2