Natural refrigerants recognised as long-term technology alternatives by industry stakeholders

By Simon Burkel, May 22, 2013, 13:20 2 minute reading

At the 3rd Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow and Industry Roundtable organised by UNEP in China, policy makers and key industry stakeholders worldwide gathered to discuss the long- term technology alternative choices in the HVAC&R sector. Natural refrigerants were recognised as important alternatives to HFCs by delegates from Australia, Germany, the U.S. and China.

At the 3rd Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow and Industry Roundtable held by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) OzonAction Programme in Shanghai, China, this April, policy makers and key industry stakeholders worldwide gathered to discuss the alternative long term technology choices in the HVAC&R sector. Roundtable conference delegates from Australia, Germany and the U.S. governments shared their experiences in adopting new refrigerants.  All of them confirm that natural refrigerants will play an increasingly important role, as HFCs are gradually phased out.
Australia: Carbon price on HFCs is accelerating the transition to natural refrigerants  
Megan Jones from the Australian Government introduced Australia’s equivalent carbon price on HFCs. In Australia’s Clean Energy Future Plan, an equivalent carbon price has been applied to synthetic greenhouse gases listed under the Kyoto Protocol as of 1 July 2012. According to Jones, the action is accelerating the move to lower global warming potential alternatives. In Australia, hydrocarbons are used more and more in domestic refrigeration, CO2 is taking off in supermarket refrigeration, and there is an increase in the use of ammonia systems. The numbers of manufacturers considering changing product range to use refrigerants such as CO2 and hydrocarbons is growing in Australia.
Europe: Major industry players and end-users increasingly committed to natural refrigerants
Bernhard Siegele from GIZ-Proklima introduced the F-Gas Regulation revision proposals, and Preferred alternative options in the EU. Siegele commented that major industry and end-users in Europe are increasingly committed to natural refrigerants because of their excellent thermodynamic and transport properties, high system efficiencies and reduction of electricity-related emissions. 
U.S.: Time to take advantage of International opportunities to address HFCs worldwide
Cindy Newberg from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the US approach to reviewing refrigerant alternatives and the EPA’s programs aimed at reducing refrigerant emissions. Newberg explained the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, which provides opportunities to learn about new refrigerants and foam-blowing agents like hydrocarbons. She also said that the time has come to address HFCs on a worldwide level. The U.S., Mexico and Canada have proposed addressing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.
China: Standards related to flammable refrigerants require updates as soon as possible
Professor Zhao Yang from the Thermal Energy Research Institute of Tianjin University introduced China’s technical and legislative developments regarding flammable alternative refrigerants. Professor Zhao explained that the use of flammable refrigerants is currently forbidden in comfort air conditioning or heat pump applications by the current China National Standards (except the newly updated GB4706.32-2012). Phasing out HCFCs in China therefore requires that flammability issues be addressed. Professor Zhao believes thats China should update safety and other standards to take into account the increasing use of flammable refrigerants as soon as possible. He regards R290 as the most suitable alternative in domestic air conditioners and heat pumps in China.


By Simon Burkel

May 22, 2013, 13:20

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