Roche Pharma Viet Nam, a division of Swiss multinational healthcare company Roche, has chosen six propane (R290)-based chillers to meet the cooling needs at its new facility located in Long An Province, Viet Nam, in what is thought to be the first such project in the country.

The warehouse is supplied air-conditioning by four R290 inverter chillers with chilled water at 7/12°C (44.6/53.6°F). Each chiller has a 71.5kW cooling capacity. Roche Pharma selected four TETI model units from Italian OEM Euroklimat.

Within the warehouse, two R290 inverter chillers serve a cold room, with 35% propylene glycol at -7/-2°C (19.4/28.4°F). Each chiller has a cooling capacity of 46.8kW. The chosen model is the CRIO from Euroklimat.

“This is the first R290 chiller project in Viet Nam,” said Hien Vo Dinh, Director of Euroklimat’s exclusive distributor company in Viet Nam, Smart Builders Solutions, Cooltech Division.

He specified that Euroklimat provide both the chilled-water air handling unit (AHU) and chilled-water fan coil unit (FCU) for this project, delivering on site the preassembled equipment.

Vo Dinh and his team managed the testing and commissioning of the system and oversaw the connection of the chillers with the piping by the local contractor.

When asked about Roche Pharma Viet Nam’s choice of natural refrigerants, Vo Dinh explained that it was driven by the desire “to eliminate artificial refrigerants that destroy the ozone layer and/or increase the global warming once released to the environment.”

“Manufacturing is booming in Viet Nam and most companies are under pressure from their customers to cut their CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process by 30% by 2025 and much more beyond,” explained Vo Dinh, who added, “so natural refrigerants like R290 will be used more and more.”

Another example of adoption of hydrocarbons as refrigerants in Southeast Asia is the installation of two chillers in Indonesia at the pharmaceutical company PT Phapros’ production facility in 2018. The replacement of two old R134a chillers was welcomed by the company due to the energy and costs savings the new solution is expected to achieve.

The Cold Chain Innovation Hub (CCI-Hub), an initiative launched in 2019 to upgrade the cold chain sector in the Philippines, is also active in the region, supporting the adoption of mainly CO2 (R744) and R290 refrigeration systems for the commercial, industrial, transport and post-harvest sectors.

Viet Nam and the Kigali Amendment

On September 4, 2019, Viet Nam ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, becoming the 82nd country to do so. Viet Nam is an Article 5 country, meaning a developing country with a delayed HFCs reduction schedule.

Under the Kigali Amendment, the phase down schedule for HFCs for Viet Nam consists of five steps, including freezing from 2024 to 2028, 10% reduction from 2029 to 2034, 30% reduction from 2035 to 2039, 50% reduction from 2040 to 2044 and 80% reduction from 2045 onwards.

*This article was updated on Tuesday, September 20.

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