Report: Natural Refrigerants to replace HCFCs in developing countries

By Sabine Lobnig, Jun 25, 2008, 00:00 4 minute reading

Hydrocarbons and other natural refrigerants are viable alternatives to ozone-depleting HCFCs in developing countries, a report with contributions from experts around the world suggests.

Case studies on natural refrigerants, including hydrocarbons, are the focus of a new report from the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) to help developing countries accelerate the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances in refrigeration. The publication provides a comprehensive overview of already available ozone- and climate friendly options and their application range in industrial and commercial refrigeration. Following a thorough analysis of major global policy frameworks ruling the phase-out of HCFCs, the publications gives advice on where and how to use natural fluids, such as hydrocarbons, CO2, or ammonia. Aimed at decision makers in government and the private sector, it provides a summary of market trends and case studies, thereby demonstrating how an early switch from fluorinated gases to natural refrigerants can be safe and economically viable.

Project Motivation & Objectives

The new report is a collection of expert contributions from all around the world. It was launched under the PROKLIMA project, which has provided technical and financial support for developing countries subject to the Montreal and Kyoto Protocol since 1996. With more than 30 articles from government, industry and academia, the final report summarizes the most important aspects of concern to developing countries. Two criteria that could drive the use of natural refrigerants were analysed:
  • Economic benefits: As natural refrigerants are seen by many as the only viable long-term replacement for both ozone-depleting and high global warming gases, their early use could avoid lengthy transition periods and leapfrog HFCs in developing countries. Moreover, the GTZ report estimates that emerging economies can minimize foreign currency expenditures on chemical imports, eliminate supply dependencies associated with these imports, and instead concentrate resources on a long-term use of natural refrigerants. This, in turn, would strengthen the national capacity to produce domestic installations and secure jobs.
  • Environmental benefits: Helping countries to improve their carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from chemical refrigerants’ production, is the second rationale for the use of natural refrigerants. The report thus gives advice on how developing countries can concentrate their R&D efforts on energy efficiency potentials offered by propane, butane and other natural gases.
Case studies: Hydrocarbons

A large number of articles on applications working with natural fluids are dedicated to hydrocarbons. Already in its introduction to policy initiatives worldwide, the PROKLIMA publication highlights the successful conversion of household refrigeration directly from CFCs to hydrocarbons. Based on the Greenpeace technology “Greenfreeze”, HCs have become a standard solution throughout Western Europe, and in other parts of the world. As the first developing countries to adopt HC refrigeration, China and India showed the way for other emerging economies. Today, 80% of Chinese domestic refrigeration technology is based on HCs. Overall, more than 50% of all domestic refrigeration appliances manufactured worldwide use hydrocarbons.

Furthermore, the contributions and case studies focusing on hydrocarbons, include:
  • Safety rules for the application of hydrocarbon refrigerants (Daniel Colbourne, Re-phridge, UK)
  • Safety of appliances using hydrocarbon refrigerants (Daniel Colbourne, Re-phridge, UK)
  • Safe plantrooms for large hydrocarbon chillers (Amir Tadros, Connell Wagner Pty Ltd, Australia)
  • Use of hydrocarbons as working fluids in heat pumps and refrigeration equipment (Jóse M. Corberán, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain)
  • Conversion of various HCFC-22 systems to hydrocarbon (Aryadi Suwono, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia)
  • Experimental assessment of HC-290 as a substitute to HCFC-22 in a window air conditioner (Atul S. Padalkar, Sinhgad College of Engineering, India)
  • Propane as an alternative to R22 for small refrigeration systems at high ambient temperatures (Heinz Jürgensen, Danfoss Compressors GmbH, Germany)
  • Green ice cream cabinets – Unilever’s move from HCFCs to HCs (Alan Gerrard, Unilever Ltd., UK)
  • Application of hydrocarbon refrigerants in existing large systems (Ladas Taylor, Energy Resources Group, Australia)
Background - GTZ & Proklima

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) is a government-owned corporation for international cooperation with worldwide operations. GTZ’s aim is to shape the political, economic, ecological and social development worldwide through the support of complex development and reform processes, as well as sustainable development. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is its main financing organisation. Its partner organizations include the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. The organisation has more than 10,000 employees in around 130 countries.

PROKLIMA is one of five GTZ programmes helping partner countries to fulfill the requirements of international conventions. With more than 110 projects and a financial volume of over €24 million, PROKLIMA is the most important bilateral partner of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund.


By Sabine Lobnig

Jun 25, 2008, 00:00

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