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.

The Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusamenarbeit (GIZ) – a German international cooperation and implementation agency – via its program Proklima, has been supporting the introduction of environmentally friendly cooling technologies for more than 25 years. 

Recently, the agency has commissioned a number of pilot projects with R290 RAC systems in Indonesia.

As a part of technical assistance programs, R290 split air-conditioning appliances are imported to train and certify technicians on the proper installation and servicing – the foundation for further market uptake of this technology.

Regarding a GIZ Proklima study tour for Indonesian and Thai RAC manufacturers to India, this website recently spoke with Philipp Munzinger, who is a project manager for Asia at GIZ Proklima, to learn about what progress is 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: Together with RAC manufacturers from Thailand and Indonesia, we visited Godrej R290 split air-conditioning production and technician training facilities in India in March. 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 uptake 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.

About GIZ:

As a provider of international cooperation services for sustainable development and international education work, GIZ is dedicated to building a future worth living around the world. GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security. 

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