Starting in 2024, the Southern Caribbean country of Grenada will no longer allow the importation or exportation of residential refrigeration appliances using a refrigerant with a GWP of 150 or greater or air-conditioning units with a GWP of 750 or greater.

The country’s Montreal Protocol Bill ‒ which becomes effective in 2024 ‒ addresses the phasing down and phasing out of CFC and HFC refrigerants to protect the ozone layer, according to Leslie Smith, Head of the National Ozone Unit in the Grenadian Ministry of Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy, in a presentation at 2023 ATMOsphere LATAM.

The event was held November 8‒9 in Mexico City.

Refrigerators, refrigeration units, freezers or refrigerator/freezer combinations affected by the act include those with a total size capacity of up to 64ft3 (1,812l) with a compressor using a refrigerant with up to or greater than 150 GWP.

In the case of AC equipment, the bill affects units, condensers and compressors with cooling capacity of up to 2TR (7kW) using a refrigerant with up to or greater than 750 GWP.

“[We] seek to make Grenada the first HFC-free or natural refrigerant island in the world,” Smith said. After consulting the sector, we agreed that there are globally available alternatives for refrigerators and air-conditioners, he noted.

“The act controls the import, export, sale, storage and use of Montreal Protocol Controlled substances [CFCs and HFCs],” with provisions for recovery where possible of such substances before disposal of any such equipment. In addition, the bill mandates that during the repair or servicing of equipment containing a controlled substance, “the refrigerant has to be replaced with a non-controlled substance” where practicable.

Also, prohibited in the act is the import, export or sale of vehicles with mobile air-conditioning units using CFC or HFC refrigerants, Smith explained. “We may be the first country in the world to implement these kinds of control measures.”

R290 air conditioners

“Fiscal incentives for any refrigeration or AC appliance operating with renewable energy and meeting the minimum energy performance standard or with a GWP of less than 150 for refrigerators or less than 750 for ACs are subject to or entitled to 100% concessions on all customs, duties and taxes,” Smith said. These policy measures already adopted in Grenada have made R290 (propane) AC units cheaper than R410a units of similar size, with importers passing the savings onto end-users.

According to Smith, three local distributors sell R290 split air conditioners on the island. “I don’t think there are any other territories in this part of the world that have that available from three different suppliers,” he remarked.

In addition, Smith noted the country’s increased rate of air-conditioning installations in 2022 due to heat waves.

According to Smith, establishing a regional hydrocarbon training center with a certification scheme was one of the country’s “major” success stories. “Using code training [from] Germany, over 80% of the country’s technicians have been trained in natural refrigerants, particularly R290.”

Local refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians were trained earlier this year along with the installation of 30 R290 AC units in Grenadian government buildings as part of a pilot venture of the Cool Contributions Fighting Climate Change (C4) project commissioned and funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.

Smith indicated that training for local technicians was also piloted with Baltimore, Maryland (U.S.)-based Ari, a commercial HVAC&R installation and service company, and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

“We were only able to get the [R290] equipment into the island when we were able to convince the manufacturers that we have sufficiently trained technicians with set standards and regulations in place,” Smith said when asked about the safety of the AC units.

The R290 charge in single air conditioners is no more than 330g (11.6oz), Smith told ATMOsphere in an interview. However, he also indicated that Grenada has not yet set a R290 charge cap for the units.

“We are a small, low-volume consuming country, but we carry a big punch, making a significant impact in the area of natural refrigerants,” Smith remarked.

With a population of 110,000, Grenada covers 133mi2 (344km2) between its mainland and two sister islands.

“[We] seek to make Grenada the first HFC-free or natural refrigerant island in the world.”

Leslie Smith, Head of the National Ozone Unit, Grenada’s Ministry of Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy