Using the Online Halon Trader


What is the Online Halon Trader (OHT)?

The On-line Halon Trader is a "business to business" web portal developed by the UNEP DTIE OzonAction Programme under the Multilateral Fund, whose ultimate purpose to is contribute to the protection of the stratospheric ozone layer by promoting halon banking and responsible halon management.

This web site site is designed for companies/organisations that use halons in "critical" applications, including owners, managers and/or operators of fire protection systems, fire control services and other organizations related to fire protection.

The OHT provides a virtual marketplace where persons can match demand with supply. Through this free service, companies that need halon for critical applications ("halon seekers") are able to post listings of specific demand in a virtual "marketplace". Companies or halon banks that can meet this demand with recovered, reclaimed or recycled halon ("halon providers") can respond or post their own listings about halons available for exchange.

UNEP provides the platform for this exchange and does not in any manner become party to the transaction between those who seek halons and those who provide halons.

Why is UNEP involved?

At their 4th meeting in Copenhagen from 23-25 November 1992, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol urged all countries to encourage recovery, recycling and reclamation of halons in order to meet the needs of all Parties, particularly developing countries. They also called upon Parties importing recovered or recycled halons to apply, when deciding on the use of those substances, the essential-use criteria set out in the 1991 report of the UNEP Halon Technical Options Committee. The purpose of these criteria is to minimise the use of halons in non-essential applications.

At the same meeting, the Parties requested the UNEP's Industry and Environment Programme Activity Centre (now the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics) to function as a clearinghouse for information relevant to international halon bank management. UNEP was requested to liaise with and coordinate its activities with the Implementing Agencies to encourage Parties to provide pertinent information to the clearinghouse.

The Online Halon Trader is a service provided by UNEP's information clearinghouse. It is designed to support national halon banking by facilitating the exchange of halons for critical uses.

What are halons?

Halons are man-made chemicals - halogenated hydrocarbons - that are used worldwide to extinguish fires and supress explosions. Halons are extremely effective fire fighting agents that are colorless, odorless gases that are electrically nonconductive, leave no residue and are low in toxicity. Unfortunately, they also have high ozone depletion potential (ODP) which makes them very effective at depleting stratospheric ozone. Historically, halons may be responsible for as much as 25% of the depletion of the ozone layer.

The stratospheric ozone layer protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. A loss of stratospheric ozone results in an increased amount of UV reaching the surface of the earth. Increased UV causes an increase in skin cancers to humans and causes harm to animals and plants on land and in the oceans.

Production and consumption of halons are controlled globally under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Countries and companies are taking the necessary steps to reduce and eliminate halon use to reduce dependency on these controlled chemicals.

What are the steps to eliminate dependency on halons?

The elimination of halon dependency is a logical, step by step procedure. A program developed jointly with the fire protection community should include the following elements and be implemented in the following order:

  1. Meet with members of the fire protection community and assess the uses of halons in your country and estimate the level of installed capacity
  2. Build awareness of the problem of ozone depletion and the need to eliminate imports of newly produced halons
  3. Commit to phase out use of halons for all but essential uses
  4. Reduce unnecessary emissions and uses of halons
  5. Educate users and fire equipment companies to allow for a safe transition to alternative fire protection methods
  6. Develop a halon bank management programme - eliminate the need for newly manufactured halons
  7. End imports of newly manufactured halons

Why is a halon management plan important?

In the near future, non-availability of halons could make it difficult to recharge currently installed fire protection systems. The lack of availability could leave important facilities unprotected from the threat of fire until a new fire protection system of another type can be installed. As recycled halons are now becoming the only source of supply the cost of halons is rising.

Halons are the most potent of all of the ozone depleting substances (ODS). A halon management plan is a responsible way to help avoid unnecessary venting of halons to the atmosphere and minimize halon uses to critical applications.

What is a halon bank?

Halon banking is an important element in most national halon management strategies. Many companies and organisations also employ some form of halon bankingl.

A halon bank is the total quantity of halon existing at a given moment in a facility, organization, country, or region. It includes halon contained in fixed fire protection systems, portable fire extinguishers, mobile fire extinguishers and that kept in storage (i.e. containers).

Halon bank management is a method of managing a supply of banked halon. Bank management consists of keeping track of halon quantities at each stage: initial filling, installation, "recycling", and storage. A major goal of a halon bank is to avoid demand for new (virgin) halons by re-deploying halons from decommissioned systems or non-essential applications to essential uses. Halon banks are usually managed by a clearinghouse, i.e. an office that facilitates contact between halon owners and halon buyers.

How can I find banked, recycled or decommissioned halons if I need them?

If you need to obtain banked halon, you should use the Online Halon Trader as follows:

  1. View the listings already posted to see if anyone has halons which match your needs. If there is an interesting offer, then follow the instructions to contact the person making the offer to see if it matches your requirements.
  2. Post your request in the virtual marketplace for others to see.

You should also contact one or more of the National Halon Banks in or near your region. UNEP maintains a list of these public and private-sector organisations whose business is to match supply and demand.

How can I offer banked, recycled or decommissioned halons if I have them?

If you wish to trade, sell, or exchange your banked halons, you should use the Online Halon Trader as follows:

We recommend that you post your offer on the Online Halon Trader to get maximum visibility as it is free and simple.

  1. View the listings already posted to see if anyone needs halons which match your supply. If there is an interesting offer, then follow the instructions to contact the person and make them an offer.
  2. Post your supply in the virtual marketplace for others to see.

You should also contact some or all of the National Halon Banks, whose business is to match supply and demand. It may be worth trying to contact all national halon banks, not just those in your immediate region: UNEP is aware of purchases between buyers and sellers that are on opposites side of the globe. UNEP maintains a list of these public and private-sector organisations.

Inform them that your company has surplus/banked/recycled halons that it is willing to sell/trade/exchange. You can send the halon bank mangers a short email or fax stating at a minimum the following details:

  • [Company name] has the following halons available for (trade/sale/exchange...)
  • [XXX] MT halon-1301 and [XXX] MT halon-1211(be sure to specify MT or otherwise)
  • As much description of the substances as possible (e.g. purity/specification of the halons, type of containers)
  • Location of the halons
  • Terms or conditions of trade, sale or exchange.

The more specifics provided to the halon bank managers, the better. The halon banks will determine whether any of their member companies/organizations need the halons, and inform you accordingly.

Using the Online Halon Trader

What is a halon seeker?
For the purpose of this web site, a seeker is someone who wants to obtain or acquire recycled or reclaimed halons through purchases, trade or exchange.

What is a halon provider?
For the purpose of this web site, a provider is someone who wants to provide or offer recycled or reclaimed Halons through sales, trade or exchange.

What types of halons are listed on this site?
As per the Terms of Service that each person agrees before becoming a member of the Online Halon Trader, the halons listed through this web module are supposed to be recovered, recycled, reclaimed or banked, and not newly-produced ("virgin") halons being sold for the first time. UNEP cannot idenpendently verify this therefore halon seekers should verify with the halon provider that the halons are indeed what they claim to be.

How do I view the listings? 

From the Home Page, click View Listings

There are two ways: as a regular user and as a registered user (for an explanation of the differences, see below). It is not required to open an account with OHT to view any listing, but it is if you wish to make contact with them.

What are the differences between a regular user and a registered user?

Type of user
Regular user
  • View basic information of any listing (halon type, quantity, country, etc) but not see the contact details of the person.
Registered user
  • View the full details of other OHT members enabling you to contact them
  • Update your own contact information
  • Update your own listings
  • Report a halon transaction
  • Receive an email notification when new members are added (optional)

What if I forget my password?

If member password is forgotten or misplaced, members can send their email id to the webmaster through the 'Forgot Password' link. A new password will be sent to the member provided the email id posted matches with the one entered in the registration form.

Halon seeker members are not allowed to report a purchase for a halon type for more than the quantity reported in their initial posting for that halon type. Similarly, quantities of halons in sale transactions shall not exceed the quantity held (offered) by the member for that halon type. Members can modify / update the quantity offered or required by them by clicking on 'Update Account Information'.

While reporting a purchase or sale transaction, please indicate whether the second transacting party is also an OHT member and provide the organization's email and name in the text boxes provided on the transaction reporting form.

On the other hand, if users wish to post an offer or requirement for halons or post transactions, it is necessary to first open an account with OHT and become a registered Member of the OHT database.

Before opening an account with OHT, users should read the terms of Services and click 'Accept' to proceed.

How can I open an account? 

Opening an account with OHT is simple and free. Users can open an account with the OHT after accepting the Terms of Service. While opening a new account (registering), users have to fill in their contact information and organizational details as listed in the registration form.

Except telephone, fax, web address and shipment details, ALL other fields are required and cannot be omitted. In particular, your email address is extremely crucial and cannot be kept blank.

How does the OHT manage member accounts and compute halon status on searching?

The OHT holds the member information in two databases. The first database captures the organizational details of the members. Members are allowed to update or modify information in this database through the 'Update Account Information' in the Member Access. Please note that while updating initial halon offer or requirement through Update Account Information, do not post the incremental amounts. Please post absolute quantities that you wish to offer for sale or require to purchase for a particular halon type.

The second database stores the initial requirement or offer of halons as posted by the members while opening their account, subsequent updates in this initial offer and any reports of purchase and sale of halons.

How to Search the OHT Database?

Guests and members are allowed to search these databases based on four criteria, viz. halon seekers or providers, member country, halon type and quantity (in metric tons) of halons. The search function then, selects and displays member account details that satisfy the search criteria and computes the latest offer or requirement of halons for the desired criteria. Please note here, that guests are not allowed to view the contact details of OHT members. It is necessary to open an account with OHT to avail of the full features of the OHT.

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