Hailing the environmental benefits of natural refrigerants, Japanese government representatives speaking at this week’s ATMOsphere Japan conference in Tokyo reaffirmed the government’s commitment to subsidies supporting wider use of natural refrigerants.

“We would like to continue to grant these subsidies, together with your support, to continue the installation of natural refrigerant systems,” Sho Nakamura of Japan’s Ministry of the Environment told the conference, held at Tokyo Conference Center Shinagawa on 13 February.

A ¥6.4 billion (€47 million) budget for natural refrigerant subsidies in Japan was approved and announced in December 2017.

The Ministry of Environment presented the results of a survey gathering end users’ feedback and results from the installation of natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R systems.

“By replacing their systems with natural refrigerant systems, on top of a complete elimination of direct CO2 emissions, convenience stores realised a 15% reduction in indirect CO2 emissions through energy efficiency,” said Nakamura.

“Supermarkets realised a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions through energy efficiency.”

“For cold storage operators and food manufacturers, similar results were seen. By installing natural refrigerant systems, end users in these sectors saw a 48-55% reduction of indirect CO2 emissions through energy efficiency. That’s what the survey showed.”

Regarding the status of Japan’s HFC phase-down regulations, Kazuma Ohtani from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said discussions in the government were currently taking place. “We expect to be ready to implement new regulations such as the allocation of new HFC quotas by January 2019,” he said.

“We would like to continue to grant these subsidies, together with your support, to continue the installation of natural refrigerant systems.

Sho Nakamura, Japan’s Ministry of Environment

A3 refrigerant risk assessment results to be presented in December

In a sign of what’s to come in Japan in terms of regulating A3 refrigerants, Tetsuji Okada, president of the Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association, explained the current status of ongoing risk assessments.

“Risk assessment tests for A3 refrigerants began in Japan in 2016 and they are still ongoing,” said Okada.

“They are expected to be completed by the end of this year. Room air conditioning and showcases are the targets for A3 refrigerants.”

Okada said the risk assessment results would be presented in December 2018 at the Kobe Symposium.

Referring to last year’s revision of Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act, Okada reaffirmed that the goal was to “categorise CO2 as an inert gas and deregulate it, making it easier for the industry to use CO2 systems”.

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.