The German government’s Blue Angel Ecolabel has been awarded to Chinese manufacturer Midea for its split air-conditioning (AC) system using propane (R290), according to the scheme’s website.
The ‘Blue Angel’ initiative is an Ecolabel for certifying some 120 different product types, including split ACs with non-halogenated – meaning natural – refrigerants. “We try to support the market for R290 split air con,” Dr. Daniel de Graaf, from the substance-related product issues section of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), told hydrocarbons21.com in September.
The ‘Blue Angel’ Ecolabel, launched in 1978, is voluntary. Split AC manufacturers have been able to apply for it since August 2016. “The criteria of the German Ecolabel are very strict and those applying need an SEER rating of seven at least,” de Graaf explains.
Although it does not think many more manufacturers will meet the stringent conditions, the agency does see the label as offering a market signal. “This Ecolabel is a sign to the German market and globally to show that there is a big difference between using R410A [or R32] and R290,” he says.
De Graaf believes this will encourage manufacturers to be more active in bringing their propane units to market.
“Our real hope is that Chinese manufacturers will supply their R290 units in the European and Asian markets on a greater scale than has been seen so far,” he says.
The Midea split AC product is not currently available in the European market, according to the Blue Angel website.
Four German bodies administer the Blue Angel certification:
- The Environmental Label Jury: the independent decision-making body of the Blue Angel with representatives from across the industry including consumers.
- The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety: the owner of the label and the communication point for the Label Jury.
- The Federal Environment Agency: develops the technical criteria for awarding the Blue Angel.
- ‘RAL gGmbH’: the sign registry that helps with the process of criteria development and organises the independent expert hearings for getting interested parties involved.
Want to find out more, or have something to say about this story? Join the ATMO Connect network to meet and engage with like-minded stakeholders in the clean cooling and natural refrigerant arena.