China's major refrigerant suppliers are all expanding their R290 and R600a production to meet the growing market demand, as China’s refrigeration industry adopts hydrocarbons more widely.
At present, the demand for R600a in China’s refrigerator industry is around 2,000 tons per year. According to Shandong Yuean Chemical Indesity CO. LTD., a company that has about 40%-50% market share of R600a refrigerant in China, there has been an R600a supply shortage recently in the market.
In response to meeting the growing market demand for R600a and R290, major refrigerant suppliers such as Puyang Zhongwei Fine Chemical, Shandong Yuean Chemical Indesity and Sinopec are all enlarging the production of R600a and R290.
Shandong Yuean Chemical Indesity has invested CNY100 million (about €12 million) to enlarge the production scale of R600a and R290. Its annual R600a output will reach 18,000 to 20,000 tons from 10,000 tons at present, and its R290 output will grow to 10,000 tons per year from annual 5,000-6,000 tons now.
Similary, Puyang Zhongwei Fine Chemical is enlarging their existing production line to increase the annual output of R600a and R290 to 70,000 tons in total, according to Mr Su Hongjun, the company CEO.
Stable market prices for R290 and R600a
According to Mr Ling Zhibo from Shandong Yuean, although cost of raw materials is rising, the price fluctuation of R600a and R290 is limited. The prices of Shandong Yuean’s R290 and R600a range from CNY14,000 (about € 1660) to CNY18,000 (about € 2134) per ton. The prices of R290 and R600a produced by Puyang Zhongwei range from CNY12,000 (about € 1423) to CNY13,000 (about € 1541) per ton.
R600a refrigerators become new favourite; R290 ACs to follow suit
R600a is increasingly used by the Chinese refrigerator industry, with consumers able to choose among several brands of R600a refrigerators available on the market. Major R600a refrigerator manufacturers include Haier, AUX, Meiling, Konka and Frestech.
According to the country’s HCFC Phase-out Management Plan, China aims to convert 18 of its R22 air conditioner production lines into R290 by the end of 2015. The annual output of R290 air conditioner is expected to be 4.5 million units, which needs at least 1,350 tons of R290 per year. As a result of the expected flourishing market for R290 air conditioners and the recent official lifting of the "essential" ban on hydrocarbons, market demand for R290 is also expected to grow rapidly in China.