“Can HC Replace HCFC/HFC in Unitary A/C Applications?” – Part 2

By Janaina Topley Lira, Apr 30, 2013, 16:27 3 minute reading

In part 2 of hydrocarbons21.com coverage of the first “RefTalk” webinar on the potential for hydrocarbons to replace HCFC/HFC in unitary applications, Mr. Zhong Zhifen’s presents an overview of the Chinese HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP). Panellists also discuss the potential for R290 in unitary air-conditioning applications to emulate the success of ‘Greenfreeze’.

The air-conditioning industry is one of the main consumers of global warming HCFC refrigerant gases, and as such is now under pressure to shift to long-term alternatives. Several industries have started to seriously look into the hydrocarbon R290 as viable alternative for small unitary air conditioning applications, in particular in developing countries. Presenting at the  first UNEP OzonAction webinar dedicated to the topic Mr. Zhong Zhifeng, Refrigeration Team Leader of Division III, (PMO for the Montreal Protocol in China) who worked for the ODS phase out in refrigeration sectors gave a comprehensive overview of the potential for hydrocarbons to replace HCFCs in China. 
New Progress on HC refrigerant development in RACs in China,
Mr. Zhong Zhifen, Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China 
The Chinese HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) has as a priority the phase out of R22 and conversion of 18 room air conditioner (RAC) production lines to hydrocarbon (HC) technologies. This is the first time that flammable refrigerants will be introduced in China in RACs. Although the technology is not as mature as R22 technology, the Chinese government has pledged to support research into R290 technology, in particular to investigate and develop measures to address: 
Charge reduction 
Distribution of R290 
Pressure volume diagrams
As of 1 May 2013 R290 ACs are allowed on the market in China when Chinese standard GB 4706.32-2012, in which flammable substances are allowed to be used as refrigerant, with specific requirements, comes into effect.
Gree has already put in place a production line of 100,000 units/year with support from the German government and GIZ. Expected to be operational in June this year is another split R290 production line with a capacity of 200,000 units/year and an R290 RAC compressor production line with a capacity of 1,700,00 units/year. Furthermore, conversion contracts for 9 RAC production lines and 3 RAC compressors production lines, which are fully funded by teh Multilateral Fund (MLF) have been signed. The manufacturers Gree, Midea and Haier are involved. 
hydrocarbons21.com asks if panellists think that we will be celebrating the global success of R290 RACs in 20 years time? 
In answer to this question Mr. Ayman Eltalouny, Programme Officer, OzonAction, UNEP CAP ROWA replied that he thinks it will take less time than twenty years due to the global trend to reduce dependence on high GWP refrigerants and given that HCs are a good alternative for smaller applications. 
Ole Nielsen, from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) said he definitely thinks we will be celebrating this. “We are operating with different charges and different technology, the challenge is that we are using higher charge, but we will see it fairly quickly, in less than twenty years given the progressive stance taken by the Chinese government.”
Mr. Zhong Zhifen said, “We should focus on the next 5 years, twenty years is too long! I think we can put HC products on the market in 5 years. For RAC R290 2-3 years is feasible!”


By Janaina Topley Lira

Apr 30, 2013, 16:27

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