Hydrofluorocarbons Versus Hydrofluoroethers

Hydrofluorocarbons present may have emissions properties that are not ideal for the environment. Hydrofluoroethers on the other hand have properties that promote eco-friendliness. Keep reading below to learn more about hydrofluorocarbons versus hydrofluoroethers.


\What are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)?  

Hydrofluorocarbons are a group of artificial compounds, also classified as greenhouse gases, that is composed of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon atoms. Most are colorless, odorless, and nonreactive. This group of compounds is commonly used for cooling systems and other applications, including: 

  • Refrigeration  
  • Air conditioning 
  • Insulation building 
  • Aerosols propellant 

What is wrong with HFCs?  

Unfortunately, hydrofluorocarbons have a relatively negative reputation as being powerful contributors to global warming, with certain HFCs, such as trifluoromethane, having a significantly higher warming potential than carbon dioxide. Though HFCs replaced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a safer alternative to the environment, HFCs still have a very high warming potential and their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is increasing at a rapid rate, specifically at around 10% to 15% percent every year.  

What are hydrofluoroethers (HFEs)?  

Hydrofluoroethers are a group of organic solvents that were formulated as an alternative to environmentally harmful chemicals, such as HFCs and CFCs. HFEs have multiple applications as industrial chemicals, including: 

  • Refrigeration 
  • Degreasing solvent 
  • Cleaning agent 
  • Heat transfer fluid 

Are HFEs better than HFCs? 

In terms of eco-friendliness, yes! HFEs have a significantly lower warming potential than HFCs. Unlike HFCs. HFEs have almost zero contribution to ozone depletion. Though they are still classified as greenhouse gases, HFEs have very short lifetimes in the atmosphere, specifically around only two weeks, as opposed to HFCs’ 15 to 29-year atmospheric lifetime.  

Other than being eco-friendly, what are some other benefits of HFEs? 

Some of the best properties of HFEs as solvents include: 

  • Low toxicity 
  • Non-flammable 
  • Compatible with most metals and various materials 
  • Low surface tension  
  • Low viscosity  

Low surface tension and viscosity allow for HFEs to work very well as degreasing products, cleaning solutions, and vapor degreasers, namely because a low surface tension will enable a cleaning fluid to reach into snug spaces because it spreads out further than high surface tension solutions would. Though HFEs typically have low toxicity, it decomposes at high temperatures to give the decomposition products of hydrogen fluoride and fluorocarbons, which can be toxic to humans.  

Looking for products made of Hydrofluoroethers?

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How are HFEs better for the environment?

Hydrofluoroethers (HFEs) don’t cause ozone depletion, have an extremely low potential for global warming and do not have a long atmospheric lifetime. Other chemicals that perform the same function emit greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming. Read on to find out just how beneficial to the environment switching to HFEs can be!


HFEs Key Environmental Factors  

  1. Zero Ozone Depletion 
  2. Nonvolatile Organic Chemical 
  3. Short Atmospheric Lifetime 
  4. Low Global Warming 
  5. Low Solubility in Water 

HFEs are an environmentally smart substitute. Compared to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), HFEs have almost no effect on the environment. With zero ozone depletion, a short atmospheric lifetime, and low global warming potential, HFEs have a simplified product waste stream, reducing operational and regulatory concerns. 

Why are CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs so bad? 

84% of ozone depletion is caused by humans from sources such as CFCs and HCFCs. A decreased ozone concentration allows for harmful UV rays to reach the earth’s surface. Some side effects of a decrease in the concentration of ozone in the stratosphere are: 

  • Increase in cases of skin cancer 
  • Increase ground-level smog 
  • Damage to terrestrial and aquatic plant life 

Global warming can be attributed to the three chemicals trapping heat in the lower atmosphere causing the earth to warm.  

By replacing CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs with HFEs in industrial and commercial processes, fewer CFCs and HFCs are emitted into the atmosphere causing environmental harm.  

Affected Industries 

By substituting greenhouse gas-emitting chemicals from processes, companies can prevent contributing to the destruction of the environment. Industries that would benefit from switching to HFEs include: 

  • Refrigeration 
  • Aerospace 
  • Analytical Equipment 

As industries make the switch to a cleaner substance, there is less stress to staying within EPA emission regulations since there are little to no emissions when using HFEs as opposed to CFCs, HCFCs, or HFCs.  

Looking for products with HFEs?

Ecolink wants to help you maintain the quality of your products and services while substituting HFEs for other chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Contact us for any questions or concerns on how we can help you switch to more environmentally friendly chemicals. To learn more about sustainable chemicals strategy, click here.


How do Hydrofluoroethers work?

Hydrofluoroethers (HFEs) were created to replace several environmentally harmful chemicals that are used in a range of industries. With similar properties to the harmful chemicals, they offer almost all the same advantages in terms of uses but also allow for several environmentally friendly characteristics.  


Applications of Hydrofluoroethers 

Hydrofluoroethers are used in a variety of ways; a few distinctive uses are listed below. 

  • Cleaning Solvents  
  • Heat Transfer Fluids 
  • Blowing Agents 

How Hydrofluoroethers Work  

A breakdown of each application of HFEs is described below.  

Cleaning Solvents

Hydrofluoroethers are often used in conjunction with a rinse agent to create a co-solvent system that increases the cleaning power. HFEs provide a non-flammable, inert vapor blanket that is ideal for heavy oils, hot melts, greases, and flux residues. Since HFEs have low solubility in water, are compatible with a variety of surfaces, and are stable without additives, they create a cost-effective option for cleaning solvents. Their environmental characteristics also provide indirect savings in the form of no longer paying environmental regulation fees since there are minimal harmful emissions released.  

Heat Transfer Fluids

Hydrofluoroethers can be used as heat transfer fluids for organic semiconductors without changing their properties. By immersing a semiconductor into the fluid, the semiconductors can cool efficiently due to the good heat conductivity and dielectric properties. Since hydrofluoroethers are orthogonal to many other solvents used in this process, they are easily recyclable. Other qualities such as non-flammable, zero ozone depletion potential, and low global warming potential are simply additional perks of working with hydrofluoroethers as a heat transfer fluid for semiconductors. 

Blowing Agents

To substitute hydrochlorofluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons with hydrofluoroethers in blowing agents, there is a minimal difference in the effect of the agent. Thanks to the similarity in physical and thermochemical properties such as low thermal conductivity, low surface tension, and inflammability, hydrofluoroethers offer the same values to a blowing agent as opposing chemicals. 

Overall, HFEs provide a more environmentally friendly option while maintaining the same quality of products and services in several applications. 

Looking to make sustainable chemical changes?

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MEK and Preptone

Preptone Versus MEK

Methyl ethyl ketone, commonly known as MEK, is a traditional organic solvent utilized by various industrial companies in the production of certain rubbers, plastics, paraffin wax, textiles, and more. Though the product had a long reputation as a highly sought-after solvent, more companies are beginning to understand the risks associated with MEK use and attempting to replace it with greener alternatives, such as Preptone. To understand the benefits of using Preptone over MEK, the characteristics of each solvent should be explored and compared.   


Characteristics of MEK  

Historically, MEK has been a popular solvent for various industries due to its desirable characteristics, some of which include the following: 

  • Possesses a high boiling point 
  • Strong cleaning performance as a degreaser and coating remover 
  • Plastic welding ability 
  • Soluble in water 
  • Quick evaporation 

These qualities make MEK an effective chemical, but consistent use of MEK can negatively affect the safety of workers and the environment. The danger of using this solvent comes from its ability to possibly react with volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere and form photochemical smog, which consists of highly toxic constituents, such as ozone. 

This solvent is also known for its associated health risks, particularly towards workers using the product, some of which potentially include:   

  • Respiratory irritation 
  • Serious eye irritation 
  • Skin irritation 
  • High toxicity  

Luckily, greener alternatives exist that can help decrease the chances of these negative health risks associated with MEK. Preptone is one such product, that is a great substitute for companies who are used to using MEK and are looking for a safer, more eco-friendly product. 

Characteristics of Preptone  

Preptone employs a fast-evaporating solvent system, while also incorporating UltraPrep terpene solvent technology. 

The product consists of a blend of high-purity d-limonene—a highly effective cleaning agent—in an acetone base. The presence of d-limonene and acetone enables the product to combine the advantages of both powerful solvents. Terpene solvents are also known for having a more powerful performance than most ketone solvents, enabling Preptone to be the ideal replacement for traditional toxic solvents like TCE and MEK.   

Some of the desirable qualities of Preptone include:  

  • Strong non-polar solvency, perfect for the removal of stubborn soils 
  • Clean and quick evaporation 
  • Ideal for pre-paint preparation and cleaning 
  • Suitable for aerospace applications, with a vapor pressure much lower than the aerospace limit 
  • Low VOC 
  • No ozone-depleting compounds 
  • No halogenated compounds or HAPs 
  • Compatible with all metals and some plastics

Want to Try a Sample of Preptone? 

Looking to see if you are eligible to try a sample of Preptone for your industrial or business needs? Here at Ecolink, we pride ourselves on providing eco-friendly and worker-friendly products to various businesses and industries. 

Reach out to us here to learn if you’re eligible for a sample! 

MEK alternatives

MEK Substitutions and Alternatives

Methyl ethyl ketone, commonly known as MEK, is a flammable, colorless solvent used in various industries, including in household products. MEK is typically utilized in the manufacturing of synthetic rubbers, production of paraffin wax, varnishes, paint removers, and adhesives. Generally, MEK is considered to be an effective industrial solvent due to its high evaporation rate and high boiling point. 

Even though this solvent is effective, it’s not always safe. Read on to learn about the downsides of MEK and greener solvent alternatives. 

Are There Any Downsides to Using MEK?   

Though MEK is an effective solvent used in a variety of processes, it’s also known for its hazardous qualities, particularly how it affects workers who use the solvent. Some of these downsides include:  

  • High toxicity 
  • Respiratory irritant 
  • Serious eye and skin irritant 
  • Can potentially react with volatile organic carbon compounds in the air to form photochemical smog  

 More and more industrial companies are beginning to search for MEK substitutes due to these health and potential environmental hazards. These alternative solvents are highly desirable because they provide the assurance of a safer work environment and diminish chances of environmental harm.   

 Are There Any Effective MEK Substitutes?   

 There are several possible substitutes for MEK. Some of the most popular are: 

  • Preptone 
  • Acetone 
  • Dimethyl carbonate  

Both acetone and dimethyl carbonate are VOC exempt, fast-evaporating solvents that exhibit lower toxicity levels than MEK.   

What Is Preptone?  

Preptone is a highly effective fast-evaporating solvent formulated as a replacement for both MEK and TCE. Preptone consists of a blend of extremely high purity d-limonene and is acetone-based. The solvent also includes a proprietary inhibitor to avoid the oxidation of the terpenes, which enables the solvent to perform more effectively than ketone solvents, such as MEK.  

Some benefits of utilizing Preptone over MEK include:  

  • Higher performance 
  • No halogenated compounds or HAPs 
  • Quicker evaporation and dry time 
  • Low VOC 
  • Strong, nonpolar solvency, making it ideal for pre-paint cleaning 
  • Cost-efficient  
  • Can be utilized for similar purposes 

These characteristics enable Preptone to be the perfect eco-friendly replacement for MEK.   

Want to Try a Sample of Preptone and Other MEK Substitutes? 

Here at Ecolink, we provide samples to companies looking for environmentally friendly chemicals. You can view the product page here or contact the specialized staff here to learn how you can get your sample today!