ATMOsphere Asia 2015 highlights Japan’s leading role in promoting natural refrigerants

By Klara Skačanová, Feb 09, 2015, 17:36 4 minute reading

ATMOsphere Asia 2015 – “Natural Refrigerants – Solutions for Asia” started off with an encouraging policy update from Japan. Focusing on both domestic and international dimensions, an overview was provided on national incentives and measures designed to promote natural refrigerants. Speakers noted rapid developments with regards to the Japanese government’s response to reducing f-gas emissions, which includes providing €46.5 million to incentivise natural refri

Revised f-gas laws to take effect in coming months

Masafumi Oki Director, Fluoride Gases Management Office, at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), discussed upcoming measures aimed to address rapidly increasing f-gas emissions in Japan. The revised F-gas law, which will take effect in April 2015, sets different global warming potential (GWP) targets for sectors with the highest levels of emissions.

To promote alternatives using natural refrigerants in these sectors, the Ministry is currently working on a labelling scheme. The scheme, which will be finalised this autumn, will enable end users to better understand the environmental impact of refrigerants.

24% budget increase in 2015 for natural refrigerant incentives

In order to close the cost gap between conventional technology and energy efficient natural refrigerant equipment, Motoyuki Kumakura Director, Fluoride Gases Management Office from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) stressed continued support to encourage end users to invest in natural refrigerant technology in the form of financial grants. An increased budget of 6.2 billion JPY (€46.5 million), compared to 5 billion JPY (€36 million) in 2014, has been requested for the subsidy scheme in 2015, which will now include support for the food manufacturing sector. Once the budget is approved, subsidy applications will be accepted in April 2015.

METI also has a subsidy scheme aimed at accelerating the introduction of natural refrigerants in Japan. With an allocated budget of 280 million JPY (€2.1 million) for 2015 the scheme is designed to support R&D activities for the development of high-efficient, HFC-free air conditioning systems, freezing and refrigeration equipment.

Other activities aimed at the natural refrigerant market include a MOE project to further improve the energy efficiency of natural refrigerant showcases through the installation of doors and covers. Interested end users can apply to participate in the project by 9 March, or in a second round that will be organised 1 April – 11 May 2015. Also, MOE aims to increase awareness of the benefits of natural refrigerants among the general public and industry through website, brochures and a short movie.

Tokyo government provides direction for national f-gas policy

Satoshi Narisawa, Director, Environmental Protection Section, Environmental Improvement Division - Bureau of Environment, at, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), explained that activities aimed at addressing f-gas emissions had already been initiated by TMG at a regional level in 2001. Perhaps it is no surprise then that Tokyo has the largest market for natural refrigerants in Japan.

Narisawa’s presentation discussed TMG’s subsidy programme for energy efficient showcases using natural refrigerants. Through this programme, which was initiated in 2014, small and medium sized businesses receive subsidies that cover one-third of the equipment cost. Applications will be accepted until the end of February 2015 and the annual budget is 200 million JPY (€1.48 million). In addition to this, TMG is supporting the government’s labelling scheme (through the subsidy).

Overall it is expected that these activities will better promote alternative natural technologies, and accelerate their uptake.

Japan taking action internationally to promote low-GWP technology

Kazuhiro Takahashi, Director, Global Environment Division at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) emphasised the Japanese Government’s efforts to help developing countries phase out of ozone depleting substances through bilateral cooperation, especially in Southeast Asia.

While international discussions on the proposed HFC amendment have showed some progress in the last two years, Takahashi pointed out that these are expected to intensify in the coming months, starting with the extraordinary Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and the HFC management workshop in April.

For Takahashi, it is essential to provide the right signals to industry and the market in order to develop and commercialise the alternatives.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 – an opportunity to show off Japan’s natural refrigerant technology

In view of the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, Japan aims to promote eco-friendly, sustainable technology and establish Tokyo as an environmental city, said Tsugumasa Horita Senior Policy Coordinator of the Policy Planning Division at the Ministry of Environment (MOE). The National Government is working in close cooperation with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to ensure that Japan will showcase its leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable, cutting-edge technology. A large number of facilities need to be renovated or newly constructed in line with sustainability and low-carbon targets, providing opportunities for natural refrigerant air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.


By Klara Skačanová

Feb 09, 2015, 17:36

Related stories

Sign up to our Newsletter

Fill in the details below