Emerging economies Cameroon and Chile are showing interest in leapfrogging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by adopting natural refrigerants to replace the hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) being phased down under the Montreal Protocol. shecco, publisher of this website, reports from the 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 30) in Quito, Ecuador.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is a landmark international agreement to phase down HFCs in addition to the HCFCs addressed by the original treaty. The amendment is poised to enter into force on 1 January 2019 after surpassing the required ratification threshold; the Parties are meeting this week in Quito, Ecuador to assess progress made.

“There is definitely very high interest in natural refrigerants in Africa,” a delegate from Cameroon told this website in an exclusive interview. “I believe there is great potential as well, especially for hydrocarbons,” the delegate said.

Kigali sees developed countries take the lead on phasing down HFCs, starting with a 10% reduction in 2019 and delivering an 85% cut in 2036 (compared to the 2011-2013 baseline).

It splits developing countries into two groups. The first group will freeze consumption of HFCs by 2024, with their first reduction steps starting in 2029. A second group will meet a later deadline, freezing their use of these gases in 2028 and reducing consumption from 2032.

Chile and Cameroon are in the second group. As such, they are eligible for financial assistance under the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol. In Quito, they told this website that they are interested in natural refrigerants as a means of leapfrogging from HCFCs to very low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.

Claudia Paratori Cortés, from Chile’s Office of Climate Change in the Ministry of Environment, highlighted progress made by the South American in adopting CO2 transcritical technology.

“Chile prioritises the adoption of natural refrigerants. We are trying to leapfrog from HCFCs to natural refrigerants, and we are trying to avoid HFOs as much as much as possible,” Paratori Cortés explained.

“I see great potential for the development of natural refrigerants in Chile. Many supermarkets are moving to CO2 transcritical technology. Other industries, such as cold storage rooms, are also examining opportunities to adopt this technology,” she said.

“We are trying to leapfrog from HCFCs to natural refrigerants, and we are trying to avoid HFOs as much as much as possible.

Claudia Paratori Cortés, Ministry of Environment, Chile

Overcoming barriers

The Cameroon delegate identified a number of barriers to wider uptake of natural refrigerants in Africa. “Trade between neighbouring countries is jeopardising our attempts to leapfrog to very low-GWP refrigerants. We need coordinated action with all African states for wider uptake of these technologies,” the delegate said.

Cameroon’s representative said funding and lack of awareness about natural refrigerants remained a problem: “Although natural refrigerants as fluids are cheap, the technologies are still ‘high-tech’, requiring expensive equipment design, a trained workforce and regular maintenance.”

“There is a real lack of information and awareness. Stakeholders in Africa simply do not know clearly how to switch to such very low GWP refrigerants,” the delegate lamented.

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