The company credits the successful rollout to its well-trained technician workforce.
Abhijit Acharekar, general manager R&D, Godrej presents at ATMO Asia 2018
In a sign of the growing uptake of R290-based room air conditioning (RAC) systems, India-based Godrej announced that it has sold 600,000 R290 RAC systems to date, during the NatRef Solutions for Asia session at ATMOsphere Asia 2018, held 4 September in Singapore.
Most of the sales are in India, though the units are beginning to be sold in Southeast Asia.
"Our manufacturing capacity for [hydrocarbon RAC units] is 180,000 units per annum and today we have around 600,000 units in the field without any accidents that can be attributed to hydrocarbons," said Abhijit Acharekar, general manager for R&D at Godrej.
Acharekar attributes the success seen so far to Godrej's well-trained technician workforce, which ensures the proper installation and maintenance of these systems in the field.
"In terms of training, from my perspective, hydrocarbons for us are not the future — they are the present because we already have 600,000 units sold," said Acharakar. "So our focus now is on training technicans."
Godrej runs a vocational training school in India, where it has documented training procedures for each refrigerant, Acharakar added. The company offers practical training and certification to all technicians in India and neighboring countries as well as the government at a "very nominal rate," he said.
More training in Southeast Asia
Technician training, especially with hydrocarbon refrigerants, was discussed extensively during the conference as it was identified as one of the main requirements for further uptake of the natural refrigerant in the region.
Philipp Munzinger from Germany-based GIZ Proklima International, talked about training, standards, and capacity-building programs that are ongoing now in the region.
One of these projects is the Green Chillers NAMA project, which handled the installation of R290 chillers at the Pharmaceutical company Phapros in Indonesia.
"If we want to use hydrocarbons or other natural refrigerants, we have to deal with the high pressure and the flammability of the refrigerants, so I think every country should prepare for this capacity development, especially for the technicians," said Herlin Herlianika, technical expert for the Green Chillers NAMA Project, who discussed ongoing standards development and certification programs that are happening for hydrocarbon-based systems in Indonesia.
"We think that hydrocarbons have huge potential in Asia and especially in Southeast Asia and we think that a comprehensive approach can help overcome this key barrier with the lack of trained technicians," said Munzinger.
Godrej leading training on hydrocarbon room air conditioners