The Green Cooling Initiative (GCI) has donated a total of nine propane (R290)-based split air-conditioning units to Uganda’s Kyambogo University and the Uganda National Association of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (UNARA).
According to representatives of GCI, the new Midea units will be used to train around 50 students and lecturers at the university’s Faculty of Engineering and up to 200 refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) technicians via UNARA each year.
Through the training, the students and technicians will learn more about the safe handling and installation of flammable refrigerants like propane, which is not yet commonly used in Uganda.
GCI is a global initiative that focuses on the promotion of sustainable cooling globally, particularly in the Global South. It is seeking new manufacturer members for its Green Cooling Network, an alliance of key players in the RAC sector.
The Midea units have a cooling capacity of 3.5kW (0.3TR), a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 8.5 and an EU efficiency rating of A+++.
The product is also included in the Cool Technologies database, which is an initiative of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace. The aim of the database is to provide policymakers and end users with references to energy-efficient HVAC&R equipment that does not rely on f-gases.
UNARA was established in 1999 as a governmental compliance requirement for the Montreal Protocol. According to the association’s website, its main focus is facilitating technology transfer within the country’s HVAC&R sector to minimize the economic disruption of the reduction of ODS and high-GWP refrigerants.
The four energy-efficient R290 air conditioners donated by the GCI are enabling the UNARA to offer training for the “next generation [of] cooling,” said the association on LinkedIn.
Kyambogo University’s five air conditioners from the GCI will help with the training of the students enrolled in its refrigeration and air-conditioning course.
“This was aimed at strengthening the commitment of promoting sustainable technologies,” said the academic institution on LinkedIn. “We continue to pride ourselves in producing practical engineers who are preferred in the job market.”
NatRef capacity building
The air conditioners were supplied as part of GIZ Proklima’s GCI III project under the guidance of Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and with support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).
The project, which runs until the end of July 2024, aims to strengthen key stakeholders’ efforts to transition to a more climate-friendly RAC sector in Uganda. The work focuses on policy advice, technology transfer and capacity building.
“The GCI III [project] supports specialized trainings for handling and installation of energy-efficient, climate-friendly R290 air conditioners in selected institutions,” explained Anthony Orit, Energy Advisor for GCI III.
It is also supporting the adoption and review of national safety standards and updating national minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and labelling schemes for refrigeration and cooling appliances, he added.
Previous work under the project includes providing the two institutions with laboratory tools and training for student and technicians. The project team has also supported a review of Kyambogo University’s curriculum to incorporate natural refrigerants.
In the future, GCI III plans to provide both UNARA and Kyambogo University with more tools and natural refrigerant-based air conditioners and monoblocs for further capacity building.
“The GCI III [project] supports specialized trainings for handling and installation of energy-efficient, climate-friendly R290 air conditioners in selected institutions.”Anthony Orit, GCI
Green cooling in Uganda
Uganda has committed to improving the energy efficiency of its refrigeration and air-conditioning sector in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
To support the ongoing adoption of green cooling technologies in Uganda, the GCI III team in discussions with the government about possibly developing a National Cooling Action Plan in the future.