Thursday, June 22, 2017

Indian Manufacturers Eye Cleaner Coolants to Meet AC Demand

HFCs are used in cooling and air-conditioning systems (credit: Pixabay) Click to Enlarge.
As India’s population of 1.3 billion grows richer, they will want access to cool air.

Only 4% of Indians have access to air conditioning today, but that number is rising fast.  Between 2003 and 2013, The Indian Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Manufacturers’ Association recorded a 20% annual growth rate.  This makes the Indian market absolutely pivotal in the years to come for businesses, and also pivotal for the environment as hundreds of million of people will buy their first air conditioner.

AC is a driver of climate change for two reasons:  it uses a lot of electricity, mostly generated by coal in India, and the widely used coolant chemicals hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are themselves potent warming gases.

A global deal to phase down HFC production agreed in Kigali in October 2016 is expected to avert up to 0.5C of warming.  Its implementation depends on manufacturers like Daikin.

Researchers estimate that using only less-polluting coolants and energy efficient kit in 2030 would prevent roughly twice the amount of emissions saved by India’s 100GW solar target.  It would reduce the number of power stations needed to meet peak electricity demand, the US-backed analysis from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory explains.
Eight months after signing the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, India is working towards meeting the expectations of the treaty and reducing its carbon footprint.

In the short term, this means switching from one HFC blend to a less polluting variant.  The industry standard used to be R-410A, a gas with roughly 2100 times the global warming potential (GWP) of carbon dioxide.  For the preferred alternative, R-32, the figure is 675 times.

The government is a main driver of this change.  To promote economies of scale on ACs that use R-32, the power ministry has put out a bid for companies to supply ACs for 200,000 ATMs across the country.
With the longer term in mind, the environment ministry had announced a research and development platform prior to the Kigali amendment to encourage homemade innovation in research on coolants and energy efficiency technologies, bypassing any patent problems that may arise for its domestic manufacturers.

Read more at Indian Manufacturers Eye Cleaner Coolants to Meet Air Con Demand

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