Refrigeration industry: Adopting ozone-friendly alternatives

One-day workshop on HCFC Phase out Plan held.

Our Correspondent February 27, 2012


Five refrigerator manufacturing companies in Pakistan hope to replace, by 2013, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) with cyclopentane as refrigerant because of its lower Ozone Depleting Potential.

This was stated, on Monday, by a representative of a refrigerator manufacturing company during the one-day workshop on Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase out Management Plan.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry of National Disaster Management (Ozone Cell). Representatives of the five companies – Haier, Dawlance, Varioline Intercool, Shadman and United Refrigerators –, United Nation Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nationss Environment Program (UNEP), German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and environmental sciences students attended the workshop.

The phasing out is being carried out with the help of the UNIDO. The project started in 2010 and was expected to be completed by 2012.

Pakistan is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol (2007), under which the use of HCFCs will be phased out from developed as well as the developing countries.

The participants discussed several issues, including how the use of HCFC-based products is affecting the ozone and the alternatives adopted by India, China, South Africa, Swaziland, and Brazil.

Markus Wypior, a GIZ technical expert, said that India and China have already adopted alternatives that include isobutane-based coolants in ACs. Carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 800,000 tons annually in India and China, he said.

According to Wypior, cyclopentane had reduced CO2 emissions by 1.6 million metric tons in China alone.

40 per cent of refrigerator manufacturers in China now use iso-butane, he said. He also stressed the importance of finding alternatives.

Atul Bagai, the UNEP Asia Pacific director, cautioned the industrialists against importing HCFC-based technology from Europe and US. The developing countries may be tempted to buy these technologies since they won’t cost much, he said. But Bagai advised them not to do so because HCFCs are being phased out. He suggested the companies “to go for a speedy, one-phase conversion”.

A Haier representative asked for the UNEP’s help in training technicians. Iqbal Pervaiz Sheikh, a UNIDO consultant, asked the companies to send a maintenance, safety and operations representative each for training.

The panel discussion was followed by a question-hour session.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.


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