The head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems urged participants at an EHPA event last week to tackle HFCs as part of a global strategy to reduce emissions and decarbonise the heat sector.
A panel discussion on DeCarb Heat from vision to reality at DecarbHeat Forum, Brussels, Belgium (11-12 May).
At the European Heat Pump Association’s (EHPA) DecarbHeat Forum – held in Brussels, Belgium (11-12 May) last week – Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems told attendees that “HFCs are a reality and we need to address that”.
Currently HFCs are used widely as a refrigerant for household and commercial refrigeration and contribute significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For some conference attendees, the need to reduce their use in heat pumps is a question that cannot be ignored.
“If heat pumps are to multiply, then we will need to find solutions to [the HFC] problem.”
– Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning, Fraunhofer Insititute for Solar Thermal Energy
Prof. Henning added: “If heat pumps are to multiply, then we will need to find solutions to [the HFC] problem.”
The DecarbHeat Forum also offered insights from respected institutions, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), global corporate leaders like Philips, and thought leaders from the realm of policy (including Green MEP Claude Turmes) on how the transition to zero emissions in the energy sector can be achieved.
“A decarbonisation of society without a decarbonisation of heating and cooling is not possible,” said EHPA President Martin Forsén. “We thus encourage all bodies that support the vision of a 100% CO2 emission-free society to join the DecarbHeat conference and initiative.”
Ingeborg Peters of MARS petcare Europe agreed, citing reducing HFCs as a key way for society to reduce its emissions. Peters believes the transition to natural refrigerants could significantly reduce emissions. “We are committed to using natural refrigerants,” she said.
Peters said that limiting GHG emissions were key to MARS petcare’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2040. “For us the F-Gas Regulation has played a key role but achieving net zero emissions is also of key concern for us.”
“Propane for household could be an option […] but OEMs need government incentives.”
– Cooper Zhao, China Heat Pump Alliance
In China, meanwhile, the transition to zero emissions is a question of health. Cooper Zhao, Vice General Secretary of the China Heat Pump Alliance, said: “In China we are facing serious health problems due to air pollution. [Copper boilers] are a big source of smog and a serious problem for us.”
At the moment, many heat pumps in China use HFCs R410A and R22, both of which contribute to global warming. The latter also depletes the ozone layer.
Zhao would like to do something about these emissions but neither the government nor the market in China have not made a firm decision to switch yet. “Propane for household could be an option […] but OEMs need government incentives.”
He highlighted some CO2 heat pump projects that have been carried out with the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol in Vietnam.