UPDATE: Atmosphere 2009: Recommendations for faster deploying HCs

By Sabine Lobnig, Oct 30, 2009, 18:15 3 minute reading

The two days event on natural refrigerants held in Brussels brought lively discussions about the all dominating question of what would be needed in a concerted effort of policy, industry, and education providers to bring existing and new technologies faster to market in both developed and developing countries. Presentations now available.

Meeting in Europe’s political powerhouse on 19-20 October, industry experts and interested parties in the field of natural refrigerants discussed the prospects of hydrocarbons as a replacement for ozone-depleting and global warming substances currently used to different extents in developed and developing nations.

Moreover, that hydrocarbons technology is successfully and reliably working was demonstrated by an application operating live on site: GTZ presented a hydrocarbons-based A/C system made in China to a wider public for the first time. After Atmosphere 2009, the unit will be shipped to Egypt where national governments meet to discuss possible amendments to the Montreal Protocol early November.

Recommendations from the hydrocarbons sessions

Participants to the dedicated workshops on hydrocarbon technology, drew the following recommendations:
  • Funding for representation on technical Committees in order to to overcome standards restricting the use of natural refrigerants including hydrocarbons and counterbalance HFC views that are often over-represented.
  • Challenge the 150 grams refrigerant charge limit for hydrocarbons which is derived from domestic standards and has been misapplied to commercial applications.
  • Revisit the possible safe use of hydrocarbons in Mobile Air-Conditioning, as there are currently other flammable refrigerants being considered for this application.
  • Include enabling clauses on reviewing standards and legislation annually rather than every 6 years in order to encourage new technologies and developments to come faster to the market
  • Funding to export safety training to developing countries
  • Review the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) to make it easier to use flammable refrigerants: Although originally aiming to address pressure issues, the PED has been misused to address flammability issues which are normally addressed by other standards.
Other recommendations

The clear aim of Atmosphere 2009 – to start concrete discussions about how to use existing policy frameworks and funding programmes to promote natural refrigerants as a viable alternative in industrialised and emerging economies – was reached, with discussions during the general policy and finance sessions evolving around the question of how to use Clean Development Mechanisms, World Bank funding programmes, UN educational programmes, e-learning modules, and national incentive schemes to drive change and move towards a faster replacement of F-gases. From these discussions, several recommendations emerge:
  • Join forces: Participants largely agreed that efforts by the industry would need to be better coordinated and communicated to make decision makers and the industry aware of the huge potential of natural refrigerants. Atmosphere 2009 was acknowledged as a potential starting point for more concerted action in that field, based on collecting necessary data to provide best practice examples for developing nations. One tool under which to develop concrete action plans was mentioned by David Kanter, F-Gases Consultant for Greenpeace International, who called for a wider participation of companies worldwide in THENATURALVOICE a positive statement open to associations, research institutes and corporations, which was presented during an informal group discussion on the Sunday before the official conference start.
  • More training & education: The lack of education and training available to developing countries was mentioned throughout the speech of Rajendra Shende, UNEP’s Head OzonAction branch as a major barrier that needs to be overcome if natural refrigerants are meant to penetrate developed and, more importantly, developing countries. Several interventions throughout the two days event stressed the same message, while industry experts called on international and national bodies to provide funding for safety training to be exported to developing countries.
  • New technologies & common standards: Besides a further enhancement of technology, such as in the field of compressors and low charge systems, participants called for a standardisation of regulation within Europe and between the EU and the US, as well envisaging a universal legislation as the final objective. Inappropriate safety standards misapplied to different applications would need to be reviewed, as well as standards and legislation revised on an annual basis to allow new technologies and developments to penetrate the market faster.  


By Sabine Lobnig

Oct 30, 2009, 18:15

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