Change in mindset & training needed to enable HC uptake by Indonesian hotels

By Sabine Lobnig, Dec 06, 2011, 16:12 3 minute reading

Committed to minimising the use of refrigerants that damage the environment, some hotels in Bali, Indonesia are carrying out AC retrofits and upgrades. However, only in a few cases have they reverted to using hydrocarbons. This is due mainly to lack of training that would enable a change in mindset of both hotel owners and insurance companies with regards to flammable refrigerants.

According to the experience of a representative of the Bali Association of Hotel Chief Engineers (ACE Bali), there is reluctance among hoteliers in Bali, Indonesia to using hydrocarbons to cover their air conditioning needs. Speaking at a side event organised by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, in the context of the 23rd meeting of the Parties (MOP23) to the Montreal Protocol (21-25 November 2011), the representative noted that a few cases of conversions by non certified/trained technicians in the past have earned hydrocarbons a somewhat bad reputation.

As part of the side event conclusions, the chair of the side event highlighted the need for training in the safe handling of hydrocarbons to enable a wider uptake of natural refrigerants in Indonesia. The technology and components are available, and what is still needed is the means for safe implementation in order to change the mindsets of both hotel owners and insurance companies with regards to flammable refrigerants.

Challenges to energy efficienct AC investment

The ACE Bali representative also discussed best practices that can be implemented to minimise energy consumption in hotels, such as maximising open air public space, as well as some challenges encountered in Bali that hold back investment by hotels in energy efficient AC:
  • Limited financial backing from hotel owners
  • Limited government support: in the areas of enforcement of controls & regulation, provision of incentives, as well as education, training & certification
  • Limited certified technicians

Energy cost savings with HC retrofitted chiller for hotel in Jakarta

Speaking at a different side event organised by Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment, Ari Darmawan Pasek of the Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Institute Technology of Bandung, presented energy test measurements carried out in 2003 in the Grand Melia hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia where 5 out of a total of 6 R22 chillers have been converted to hydrocarbon R290, with one R22 chiller kept to enable comparison. Energy measurements in the first five months of operation revealed monthly energy savings between 32.5 and 52.9 kW, translating to monthly energy cost savings between 7.9 and 14.5 million Rupiah (about €650-1200) per chiller, with at least 3 chillers operating continuously.

Mr. Pasek noted that the employed retrofit procedure complied with Indonesia’s safety standard for flammable refrigerants, and Indonesia’s MOE regulation. He added that retrofits with hydrocarbons have been done in Bali since 1996 and that small systems do not need changes in order to use the climate friendly refrigerant. However, for the bigger system small adaptations, such as the use of a more viscous oil, have to be taken into account.

Hotel in Jakarta “re-retrofitted” back to R22 due to lack of training in hydrocarbons

However, the lack of training and education has led to a “re-retrofitting” of the discussed system in the hotel: because the maintenance personnel did not have sufficient knowledge about hydrocarbons, the system by now has been changed back to R22.

Some of the challenges faced when employing hydrocarbons in Indonesia, include:
  • The need to update safety standards: SNI-06-6500-2000, SNI-06-6501.1-2000, SNI –06-6501.2 – 2000
  • Regulation on shipment of flammable refrigerants
  • Regulation on application of hydrocarbons in buildings: insurance problem
  • Technician training, Hydrocarbon Service Center
  • Market education
Pertamina’s imminent launch of hydrocarbon refrigerants in Indonesia

Despite the many challenges, the discussion that followed Mr Pasek’s presentation highlighted some positive developments regarding natural refrigerants in Indonesia. A representative of Pertamina, the Indonesian government-owned oil and natural gas mining company, explained that the company is expanding their business to hydrocarbon refrigerants. In December 2011 they plan to launch the new hydrocarbon brand for Indonesia and will provide filling stations across Indonesia. An impressive amount of 100 tons is already sold and ordered for this year and Pertamina is forecasting a sales figure of 200 tons of hydrocarbon refrigerants for next year. 


By Sabine Lobnig

Dec 06, 2011, 16:12

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