India-based appliance manufacturer Godrej is expecting significant growth in domestic sales of R290 room air-conditioning (RAC) units in India over the next few years. The sales increase comes amid a growing number of R290-based pilot projects in Southeast Asia this year, according to GIZ.
Indicating an increase in activity with R290-based refrigeration and air-conditioning systems in Southeast Asia, Godrej is expecting significant growth in domestic sales of R290-based (propane) room air-conditioning (RAC) units over the next few years. The firm is continuing to aggressively push these systems in the region with over 500,000 units already sold in India to date.
In addition, the German Development Agency (GIZ) is moving forward with a number of pilot projects with R290-based refrigeration and air-conditioning systems in Indonesia, with several being commissioned this year.
This website recently spoke with Philipp Munzinger, who is a project manager for Asia at GIZ Proklima, to learn about the progress being made with R290 systems in the region.
Munzinger manages various projects in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector focusing on natural refrigerants and energy efficiency.
Hydrocarbons21: You recently took a trip to India to visit one of Godrej's R290 RAC manufacturing facilities. What did you learn there?
Munzinger: Godrej is currently ramping up their production of R290 RAC systems as well as their technician training programs, as they are anticipating growing demand in India.
With respect to training, they have a very interesting system on how they have full control over their installation and servicing technicians. For example, each technician has a unique code that ensures only a Godrej-trained and certified technician services and installs these systems.
They can revert to a pool of 5,000 technicians now who are regularly trained, based on a standardised training program.
According to Godrej’s General Manager for Service Training Shakeel M. Jamadar, the key is having a well-functioning workforce in the field that you can control and that you take responsibility for. I think it's the reason why, with 500,000 units in the market so far, there has not been a single incident.
Hydrocarbons21: Are there any other projects that GIZ is working on in Southeast Asia with respect to R290-based systems?
Munzinger: In Indonesia, we are currently cooperating with a local manufacturer where we are assisting in designing R290 chillers. So far, six pilot projects in different fields of application such as universities, training centres, office buildings and pharmaceutical companies were installed.
The systems range from 3.7 to 385 kW in cooling capacity and are water-cooled propane chillers. So far, the commissioned units have been running properly with good efficiency.
We do observe that in many countries the availability of hydrocarbon refrigerants is limited. In Indonesia, we cooperate with the state-owned oil and gas cooperation Pertamina, which now produces R290 refrigerant and strongly encourages manufacturers to transition to this climate-friendly alternative in Indonesia – this could help pave the way for the take-up of propane in other RAC appliances, especially mini split-type air conditioners.
In addition, we are working with the same local manufacturer in Indonesia to develop a solar-powered R290 ice maker for off-the-grid fish freezing. The first prototype is planning for commissioning around July or August this year.
GIZ is a German development agency that provides services in the field of international development cooperation with a focus on sustainable economic development and environmental protection.
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