Japan’s Ministry of Environment has announced the third round of recipients awarded subsidies for natural refrigerant system installations in the 2018 fiscal year.

Subsidies were granted to two companies:

  • Seven Eleven Japan: 38 store locations.
  • Yamazaki Baking: 1 store location.

In an apparent sign of conflicting priorities, Seven Eleven Japan announced on 1 October that it would also be adopting Honeywell’s R448A refrigerant, marketed as Solstice N40, “in all new and refurbished stores”. 

Earlier this year, the second round of recipients featured two companies with a total of 50 locations:

Subsidies for the second and third rounds were only available for convenience stores.

Seven Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson are Japan’s three largest convenience store operators.

Applications are now open for the fourth round, which is also only available for convenience stores. The fourth round will be the last subsidy round in fiscal year 2018.

In September, Japan’s MOE requested €61m in natural refrigerant subsidies for fiscal year 2019.

The Japanese government is expected to confirm the actual fiscal year 2019 budget amount early next year.

Yasuhiro Baba, director of the office of fluorocarbons control policy in the Japanese Ministry of the Environment, will speak in detail about the subsidy program at ATMOsphere Japan 2019, which will be held on 12 February.

About Japan’s natural refrigerant subsidy scheme

Since 2014, subsidies have been a major driver of growth in the number of CO2 stores in Japan as well as NH3/CO2 cold store facilities.

The stated goal of the subsidy is to encourage the “shift to natural refrigerants […] and to widely promote the use of energy-efficient equipment”.

Japan’s Ministry of the Environment says that the subsidy aims to “contribute to driving down the cost of natural refrigerant equipment to achieve cost parity with conventional f-gas equipment, and to accelerate the spread of the technology”.

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