Outdated safety standards that impose restrictive charge limits on hydrocarbons and a lack of trained contractors in some parts of the world still represent barriers to wider uptake of natural refrigerant technologies, Clare Perry, climate campaign leader at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), told an ATMOsphere Network event at EuroShop 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany yesterday.
“After CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs, many countries around the world want to finally get off the chemical treadmill. Natural refrigerants offer sustainable, energy-efficient and future-proof cooling solutions, but the playing field still isn’t level,” Perry said.
Calling on major end users and manufacturers of natural refrigerant-based solutions to play a greater role in the debate on international standards, the NGO representative warned that this is currently “completely dominated by the chemicals industry“.
Hosted at Italian multinational CAREL’s booth, the ATMOsphere Network event brought together retailers and HVAC&R industry professionals attending EuroShop, the world’s biggest retail show, taking place from 5-9 March 2017.
“Our message here at the show is ‘Natural Efficiency – available now’,” said Francesco Nalini, Group Managing Director, CAREL, outlining the group’s strategy for natural refrigerants in food retail applications.
“Our goal is to make commercial refrigeration dramatically more sustainable. This industry has a big environmental footprint,” Nalini said.
He described the company’s role as “to support all stakeholders in making the transition” towards a more sustainable commercial refrigeration sector – not just by promoting natural refrigerant-based solutions but also by improving overall system efficiency.
“We want to make commercial refrigeration dramatically more sustainable. That means working on refrigerants but also the efficiency of installations.”Francesco Nalini, Group Managing Director, CAREL
Kigali driving global HFC phase-down
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed in the Rwandan capital last October, sees developed countries take the lead on phasing down HFCs, starting with a 10% reduction in 2018 and delivering an 85% cut in 2036 (compared to the 2011-2013 baseline).
“The Kigali Amendment could help avoid around 80 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions by 2050 and avoid 0.4°C of global warming by 2100,” said the EIA’s Perry.
Making further HVAC&R system efficiency gains when phasing down HFCs could double this – potentially avoiding almost one degree of warming, she added.
Developing countries have a role to play in accelerating the adoption of natural refrigerant-based technologies too, particularly by leapfrogging from R22, an HCFC, to natural refrigerants – bypassing HFCs altogether, Perry argued.
“As HFCs are phased down post-Kigali, there are huge opportunities for everyone.”shecco CEO Marc Chasserot
shecco CEO Marc Chasserot argued that China would soon become a major player in terms of natural refrigerants. “That’s a market to watch,” he said.