Natural refrigerants will play a key role in the implementation of “Clean Cooling,” according to the Centre For Sustainable Cooling and shecco (publisher of this website), which today unveiled a collaborative project that refines the concept of Clean Cooling.

A document outlining the project can be read and downloaded below.

Clean Cooling represents a holistic approach to refrigeration and air conditioning systems that incorporates the most efficient and environmentally friendly technologies while addressing the pressing societal need for cooling equipment in developing countries. 

Clean Cooling “by definition includes the complete transition from fluorinated refrigerants to natural refrigerants, including CO2, ammonia, hydrocarbons, water and air,” noted the document, authored by Toby Peters, Co-Director of the Centre For Sustainable Cooling, and Professor in Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, U.K.

Overall, Clean Cooling provides resilient cooling for all who need it without environmental damage and climate impact,” says the document. It “meets cooling needs while contributing towards achieving society’s goals for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction, climate change mitigation, natural resource conservation and air quality improvement.”

Moreover, the document says, Clean Cooling “must be accessible, affordable, financially sustainable, scalable, safe, and reliable to help deliver societal, economic and health goals as defined by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

To help accelerate the transition from traditional cooling to Clean Cooling, the Centre For Sustainable Cooling is developing a set of measurable standards for Clean Cooling against which cooling innovation and projects can be assessed. “These standards will help all stakeholders to properly understand and quantify the true sustainability (financial, social and environmental) of cooling technology, including CO2e emissions reduction,” the document says.  Depending on market interest, this could become the basis for a first-of-its-kind formal Clean Cooling Audit-and-Certification Program.

“As we create the framework for the definition and measurement of Clean Cooling, we welcome comments from all stakeholders,” said Peters and Marc Chasserot, CEO of shecco, a market accelerator for climate-friendly cooling and heating technologies that use natural refrigerants.  

“Clean Cooling will be the gold standard for everything to do with cooling systems,” added Chasserot. “It will bring all the pieces of the cooling puzzle into one measurable whole.” 

The Clean Cooling document acknowledges there are “circumstances in which a particular societal need for cooling – often with life-and-death implications – is not aligned with the use of natural refrigerants. In these cases, natural refrigerants and related technology – as well as skilled technicians who can address the safety and technical challenges associated with natural refrigerants – may not be available in the short term. Thus, alternatives may need to be employed to support critical cooling of foods and medicines, particularly in developing countries. “

“In these exceptional cases,” the document continues, “we should still be targeting ultra-low-GWP refrigerants – i.e. with a GWP of less than 30 – if a system is still to be regarded as representing Clean Cooling. But this could be lifted to a maximum GWP of 250 where there is supporting Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI) or Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) data or safety assessments to justify not using natural or ultra-low-GWP refrigerants; there must also be maintenance programmes in place to minimise leakage and facilitate end-of-life management. This maximum GWP should be regularly reviewed based on available technology, system enhancements and skills development.” 

The document concludes, “The use of fluorinated rather than natural refrigerants in Clean Cooling systems must never be viewed as anything other than a short-term expedient measure needed to address particular exigencies, with a clear eye to transitioning to naturals as soon as possible.”

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