Re-launch of The Natural Voice calls for increased recognition of natural refrigerants’ role by governments globally

By Robert Davidson, Jul 27, 2015, 17:50 3 minute reading

ATMOsphere Network Paris 2015, held on margins of a Montreal Protocol meeting, saw the re-launch of The Natural Voice amidst presentations showing that hydrocarbons and CO2 are gaining traction worldwide in lieu of HFCs.

“Natural refrigerants are still not appropriately represented in national governments’ plans to combat HFCs”. Nina Masson, shecco’s Deputy Managing Director, was clear as to why there is a need for a re-launch of a global call for action to promote natural refrigerants, The Natural Voice (TNV).

Much has changed since TNV was originally launched in 2010 as countries such as China have entered the fray regarding natural refrigerants and developed nations continue to increase the level of penetration of natural refrigerant-based equipment. However, as Masson mentioned, despite this success, hydrocarbons, CO2, ammonia, water and air are still unfairly underrepresented in government plans to replace harmful fluorinated gases and to combat climate change. With already over 70 signatories, TNV looks to change this and cement the place of natural refrigerants in government plans globally.

At ATMOsphere Network Paris 2015 held on the 22 July alongside the 36th Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, there was an opportunity once again to show the advantages of natural refrigerants to help developing countries leapfrog harmful HFCs as well as developed nations to further reduce their impact on climate change.

“The Natural Voice will continue calling on all Parties to adopt natural refrigerants as a major response to replace HCFCs and HFCs as a long term solution and to stop chemical treading,” highlighted Sidi Menad Si Ahmed, shecco’s International Chief Adviser, who moderated the atmosphere Network Paris.

Commissioning of Nigeria’s HC refrigerant production expected by October 2015

With TNV now looking to engage national governments, the case study presented by Adbul-Kazeem Bayero of the Federal Ministry of Environment for Nigeria gave credence to its mission. Bayero discussed the rapidly increasing servicing sector for hydrocarbons in domestic refrigerators and air conditioning in Nigeria and their efforts to streamline its production for both safety and supply reasons as the current grade of refrigerant is mainly imported cooking gas. The goal, Bayero asserted is to: “develop a cost-effective regional supply for natural refrigerants”.

Bayero explained how Nigeria’s ‘pilot hydrocarbon production project’ looked to design, construct and start a pilot distillation and bottling of high-grade hydrocarbon refrigerants as well as the distribution and marketing of products along with a good practice programme. Bayero noted the commissioning of their hydrocarbon production plant is expected by October 2015, with a full commercialisation during the second stage of the HCFC phase out management plan. This is an important development for the whole region of West Africa looking to adopt hydrocarbons in a number of applications. In addition, focus will be put on continuous training of technicians and awareness raising, including initiating a certification process.

Research shows conclusively that natural refrigerants are the answer for several applications, including in high ambient temperatures

Bastian Zeiger, of German research institute Öko-Recherche, discussed the need for the promotion of natural refrigerants – and notably hydrocarbons - in high-ambient temperatures, especially in developing countries, to curtail the damage R22 and other high-GWP HCFCs are doing to the environment. Zeiger presented Öko Recherche’s examination of the replacement possibilities of natural refrigerants in high-ambient temperatures, coming to the conclusion that natural refrigerants can replace 55% of HCFC demand in A5 countries in the short and medium term including at high-ambient temperatures. 

Clare Perry spoke of the clear benefits of natural refrigerants under the backdrop of the HCFC phase out. Perry also singled out the progress China is making in breaking the tradition of fluorinated gases through the presentation of their catalogue of recommended substitutes for HCFCs. Perry complemented this list with a plethora of supermarket retailers’ assertions that natural refrigerants are the future-proof choice for the industry, including South Africa’s Woolworths chain.

Juergen Goeller of Carrier showed how this research is confirmed in reality. Goeller explained how the use of CO2 across the whole supply chain is increasing, with areas of low-penetration such as road-transport refrigeration becoming tenable targets. Areas of more traditional use such as supermarkets were shown to be increasing rapidly with the number of CO2 transcritical installations by Carrier in Europe now standing at over 1,500.


By Robert Davidson

Jul 27, 2015, 17:50

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