Shenzhen University signals increased support for climate friendly refrigerants in China with new R290 air conditioners

By Justina Tamasiunaite, Sep 01, 2015, 15:16 1 minute reading

After an official purchase agreement at the end of June, 243 new air conditioners using refrigerant R290 settled in their new home at Shenzhen University. With the help of the Chinese government, the Shenzhen municipality is the first city in China to acquire climate friendly air conditioners.

The all new air conditioners, supplied by Gree, use R290 (propane), a naturally occurring hydrocarbon refrigerant that has negligible ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a very low global warming potential (GWP).

An environmentally friendly solution, R290 has the potential to become the leading green substitute for systems currently using HCFCs in air conditioning units.

Xiao Xuezhi, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (FECO), congratulated Shenzhen University as the first in the region to choose environmentally friendly air conditioning to reduce pollution and protect the ozone layer.

Mr Xuezhi added that he hopes to have more institutions following Shenzhen University’s example.

During the signing ceremony, Ole Nielsen, Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), stated: “I am glad that the R290 air conditioners are appearing on the Chinese market and are being adopted by universities such as Shenzhen”.

A changing environment for natural refrigerants in China

China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of HCFCs, has an obligation to phase out ozone depleting HCFCs by 2030 according to the Montreal Protocol.

As reported in June, FECO published “The First Catalogue of Recommended Substitutes for HCFCs”. The paper lists twelve alternatives to HCFC refrigerants, foaming agents and detergents, ten of which are naturally occurring substances, including R290.

FECO put forward R290 as a substitute for synthetic refrigerant R22, which is primarily used in room air conditioners and stand-alone refrigeration in China but has a very high GWP of 1700.

With the requirement to phase out HCFCs and with the Chinese Government’s support, seemingly momentum is building for climate friendly refrigerants to take off in China.


By Justina Tamasiunaite

Sep 01, 2015, 15:16

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