Refrigerant replacement has become one of the most urgent missions of global room air conditioning industry. Proposed by China, R290 as replacement is being supported by more and more countries. R290 air conditioner booms all around the world.
In HCFC-22 Replacement Technology International Conference held on 3rd, November, officials of United Nations Industrial Development Organization and GIZ introduced the developing condition and market prospect of R290 air conditioner. More and more countries and companies chosen the road of R290 based on both international environmental policy and market competition. R290 has gradually become the first choice of the next generation of refrigerant.
Kigali Amendment Says NO to HFCs Road
As the major ozone depletion substances, elimination of HCFC-22 has always been highly concerned by international society. Room air conditioning industry is a large consumer of HCFC-22 and China is the biggest manufacturer of room air conditioner. As a result, China plays an important role in the process of R22 elimination.
According to Montreal Protocol, China will completely eliminate R22 in 2030. It demands China to cut the consumption line by 45%, which is far ahead than the second phase of our goal, which is 35%. Last October, the world reached an agreement on the amendment of Montreal Protocol in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali. Both alternatives, R410A and R32 are all on control list. In Kigali, delegates worked tirelessly day and night to negotiate and reach a deal on a timetable that would mandate countries to phase down the production and usage of hydroflourocarbons (HFCs). Following seven years of continuous consultations, Parties to the Montreal Protocol struck a landmark legally binding deal to reduce the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. HFCs are man-made chemicals that are primarily used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation, and are powerful greenhouse gases that can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change.
Kigali Amendment has said NO to HFC alternatives, which means once they choose HFC and there will be a second replacement in the near future.
Air Conditioning Industry Forced to Choose R290 by High Price
Except for the pressure of international environmental policy, the continuous rise of refrigerant price also forces the whole industry to choose alternatives. At the beginning of this year, the price of R22, R32 and R410A increased sharply. It dropped once, but the total price is still higher than last year. Compared with HCFC and HFC, however, the price of R290 is relatively steady. With the increase of supervision and governance, the supply of HCFC and HFC refrigerants is bound to decrease. As the consumption of refrigerants increases, the price will certainly rise. Comparatively, R290 does no harm to ozone and its GWP is close to zero, which determines it will become an ideal alternative.
Use of R290 Rises Globally
As the supporter of R290 technology, China plays an important role in the process of the research and popularization of R290.
Ole Nielsen, chief of Montreal Protocol Division, states that R290 is an excellent refrigerant, especially under condition of high temperature. He says that R290 is technologically potential and its safety risk is completely under control.
According to him, Algeria, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia have currently reconstructed their production line of R290 air conditioner. Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria and Egypt are ready to on their move. Some Caribbean countries, South America, East Europe, and Middle Asia have already carried out activities aimed to the installation and maintenance of R290 air conditioner.
Bernhard Siegele, official of GIZ, points out that India and other South Asian countries is accelerating the training towards installation and maintenance personnel. According to him, Godrej, Indian air conditioning manufacturer, has installed more than 350,000 R290 air conditioners and no safety incidents. It also has trained more than 4,500 installation and maintenance workers. He states that global air conditioning manufacturers have expressed strong need for R290 technological assistance, and R290 air conditioner has been on the global market. “The whole world is waiting for R290 air conditioning from China.”
There are many challenges during the popularization of R290 alternative technology. However, we believe these challenges finally will be overcome with the accumulation of experience.