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R449A selected for Olympic trio

May 21, 2021

CHINA: Three of the venues for next year’s Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be employing R449A, the lower GWP alternative to R404A, in its refrigeration systems.

Chemours says it has achieved a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing National Indoor Stadium and Wukesong Sports Centre for use of the refrigerant, which is branded by Chemours as Opteon XP40.

All three venues were main venues for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, and will be hosting hockey and curling ice games during the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. To support the mission of being “green, open, inclusive and clean” and to adopt more sustainable solutions, the venues in consultation with equipment suppliers, design engineers and service providers, selected R449A refrigerant to provide reliable performance at the demanding low temperatures required for operating their facilities. 

R449A is a blend of R32, R125, R1234yf and R134a with a GWP of 1397. It is said to closely match the properties and performance of R404A.

The National Aquatics Centre, known as the Water Cube during the 2008 Olympics, has been renamed the Ice Cube for the Winter Olympics. 

“Three ice making units of Ice Cube have been charged with Opteon XP40,” said Yang Qiyong, general manager of Beijing National Aquatics Centre. “This project saves 4% of the charge compared to other refrigerants and saves installation costs. During the test games in 2019 and in April 2021, the ice making units performed well and have guaranteed excellent ice surface temperature.”

After redesign and retrofit, ice making units and systems that are charged with R499A have also been installed in Beijing National Aquatics Centre and Beijing National Indoor Stadium. Wukesong Sports Centre, which was equipped with refrigeration pipes at construction in 2006, changed out their old ice making units. 

In a series of test games that have been held, the ice surface of the three venues are said to have been well received by the participating athletes.


US joins China in Kigali pledge

Apr 28, 2021

US joins China in Kigali pledge

CHINA/USA: The US and China have both committed to implementing the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and phase down the production and consumption of HFCs.

The announcement, which included long-term commitments to the Paris Agreement, came following meetings between US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese opposite number Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai.

In a joint statement yesterday, the two countries “committed to cooperating” with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis. This, they said, “must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands”. 

They pledged to enhance their respective actions and cooperate in multilateral processes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. They agreed to develop their respective long-term strategies aimed at net zero GHG emissions/carbon neutrality before November’s COP 26 meeting in Glasgow.

In a number of “short term” measures, the two countries also agreed to implement the phase down of HFC production and consumption as reflected in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The joint US/China statement came just hours after Chinese president Xi Jinping pledged to accept the Kigali Amendment in a video summit with French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Under the Kigali Amendment, countries agree to cut the production and consumption of HFCs by more than 80% over the next 30 years. So far, 118 countries as well as the EU have ratified the document but, amongst the major producers and users, China, the USA and India have, so far, been notable exceptions.


World Refrigeration Day focus on careers

Apr 28, 2021

World Refrigeration Day focus on careers

UK: A series of webinars promoting the refrigeration-related careers available to young people will be a key part of this year’s World Refrigeration Day proceedings on June 26.

The World Refrigeration Day secretariat has announced that it will partner with seven organisations with the aim of inspiring students and those early in their career path to join the more than 15 million people worldwide currently employed in the refrigeration sector.

Organised as part of the day’s 2021 campaign theme Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World, the webinars will take place over two weeks in June.

The campaign partners are UNEP OzonAction, ASHRAE, European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), Federation of Ibero-American Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Associations (FAIAR), International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE), and the Pan-African Union of Associations of African Actors in Refrigeration and air-Conditioning (U-3ARC). 

“Partnering with these organisations enables the refrigeration industry to reach out globally, with particular emphasis on developing countries, to expand the workforce that supports life-giving and society-dependent technologies,” said the WRD’s Steve Gill. “Opportunities within the industry abound for young people with a wide range of career aspirations. Advanced cooling technologies provide them with a profession that improves life in their communities and in the world as a whole.”

Each campaign partner will target career opportunities with webinars in the language common within that network. Special emphasis will be given to sectors that are commonly less known like cold chain, refrigerant management, indoor air-quality, sustainability, heat pumps, and not-in-kind technologies. Gender equality and promoting women in cooling careers will be highlighted in this year’s campaign as well. 

The schedule of webinars and topics will be available in the coming weeks on the World Refrigeration Day website


Chinese refrigerant prices on the rise

Jan 7, 2021

CHINA: After a period of relatively low prices, the cost of refrigerants is again reported to be on the rise in China, the world’s largest producer of HFCs.

Chinese media sources have reported sharp rises in both raw material and HFC refrigerant prices this month. The price of R410A has risen by more than 35% since the beginning of this month. R125, a major component of R410A, has risen by more than 75% and, as of December 16, the average price of refrigerant R134a was up 11% from the beginning of the month.

The increases are said to be due to a combination of increases in the cost of raw materials and increased refrigerant demand. 

The main raw material increases appear to be in the price of dichloromethane, perchloroethylene and chloroform which have risen sharply this month.

Prices of the mineral fluorite, a major raw material, has risen only slightly this month and is still at a lower price than last year. The price of HF (hydrofluoric acid), which is produced from fluorite, has shown a larger rise of around 11% this month, albeit from historical lows mid-year. 

The news comes as the UK and Europe face a further major F-gas step-down in 2021 to 45% of the baseline.

Chinese refrigerant prices on the rise

Jan 7, 2021

CHINA: After a period of relatively low prices, the cost of refrigerants is again reported to be on the rise in China, the world’s largest producer of HFCs.

Chinese media sources have reported sharp rises in both raw material and HFC refrigerant prices this month. The price of R410A has risen by more than 35% since the beginning of this month. R125, a major component of R410A, has risen by more than 75% and, as of December 16, the average price of refrigerant R134a was up 11% from the beginning of the month.

The increases are said to be due to a combination of increases in the cost of raw materials and increased refrigerant demand. 

The main raw material increases appear to be in the price of dichloromethane, perchloroethylene and chloroform which have risen sharply this month.

Prices of the mineral fluorite, a major raw material, has risen only slightly this month and is still at a lower price than last year. The price of HF (hydrofluoric acid), which is produced from fluorite, has shown a larger rise of around 11% this month, albeit from historical lows mid-year. 

The news comes as the UK and Europe face a further major F-gas step-down in 2021 to 45% of the baseline.

California introduces rules to limit HFC refrigerants

Dec 18, 2020

USA: The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has introduced new rules to reduce HFC emissions to 40% below 2013 levels by 2030. 

The new rules are the first in the US to enact comprehensive measures to ban many HFCs in new equipment, while also tackling existing emissions and venting of refrigerants. It will affect commercial and industrial, stationary refrigeration units, as well as commercial and residential air conditioning units. 

Starting 2022, supermarkets will be allowed to only purchase systems using refrigerants with a GWP less than 150. Supermarkets will also have to meet benchmarks for reducing their refrigerant footprint in existing stores by more than half in 2030.

The intent of the new rules is to eliminate the use of very high-GWP refrigerants in every sector that uses non-residential refrigeration systems. Compliance begins for most home air conditioning equipment in 2025.

The news comes as new US president Joe Biden seems set to embrace the worldwide Kigali amendment to phase down HFCs.

Prior to 2018, California was the only state that regulated HFCs. Sixteen other states have now passed legislation, based on California’s rules, or are in the process of doing so.

The rules also signal the beginning of the first refrigerant recycling programme to put responsibility for compliance with manufacturers. 

“Until now US policies have only skimmed the surface on these super pollutants,” commented Christina Starr, senior policy analyst with green group the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “This regulation sets a higher bar for other states and the Biden administration to follow,” she added.

Following the regulation’s approval at this week’s Board hearing, final amendments to accommodate the AC sector change will be subject to a final 15-day notice and comment period before entering into effect early next year.

CARB says it will now move forward immediately with a new rulemaking limiting purchase or use of new high GWP refrigerant, and a partnership with other states and the federal government to design a national programme. California will then work towards 100% refrigerant recovery and recycling.


UK must match EU F-gas changes

Dec 15, 2020

UK: In a raft of new proposals, the UK’s advisory body on climate change has called on the government to match or exceed future changes to European F-gas regulations.

The Sixth Carbon Budget advice report, published this week by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), also calls for a crackdown on non-compliance and an end to sales of refrigerant to untrained members of the public. 

The Climate Change Committee (CCC), an independent, statutory body established under the Climate Change Act 2008, advises the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and reports on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new report sets the pathway to net zero and is based on an extensive programme of analysis, consultation and consideration by the committee and its staff.

The CCC highlights a number of priority areas for policy development with regard to the F-gas regulations. 

While the UK has left the European Union, the UK has transferred the current European F-gas regulation into UK law, setting its own independent quota system. Aware that the EU is currently looking to strengthen the F-gas regulation, the CCC has called on the UK government to ensure that any increase in ambition in the European regulation is matched or exceeded by the UK.

It also urges the government to minimise non-compliance, especially in the RACHP sector. Echoing concerns raised by the government’s Environment Audit Committee, the CCC calls for the Environment Agency to be “sufficiently resourced” to carry out adequate inspections.

The CCC proposes that the government should consult with industry and bring forward proposals to ensure that all those who handle refrigerants have up-to-date training. It argues that the current regulatory framework does not require retrospective training for workers trained under previous regulations and allows untrained members of the public to buy R134a and top-up their own car air conditioning units.


Carrier aims for carbon neutrality by 2030

Dec 9, 2020

USA: Refrigeration, air conditioning and heating manufacturer Carrier has announced its aim to achieve carbon neutrality across its operations by 2030.

In its first set of environmental, social and governance goals since becoming an independent company in April, the company says it also aims to reduce its customers’ carbon footprint by more than 1Gt, supported by a planned investment of more than $2bn over the next 10 years toward the development of healthier, safer and more sustainable building and cold chain solutions. 

“At Carrier, we are applying our industry-leading innovation to fight climate change through new energy-efficient product offerings and through lower emissions in our operations,”

“Our 2030 goals will drive our company to be a positive catalyst for societal change in our areas of expertise, including healthy buildings and the cold chain, as well as in the communities in which we operate around the world,” said Carrier president and CEO Dave Gitlin


Cold chain key to global economic recovery

Nov 30, 2020

Re-starting the global economy for billions of people will depend on successfully overcoming logistical challenges in the ‘last mile’ of a COVID-19 vaccine’s journey to immunisation stations, according to a new report. 

Using cargo drones, mobile cold rooms, portable vaccine micro-chillers and other innovative means of delivering temperature sensitive vaccines to remote towns and villages may make the difference between life and death in low-income countries.

Halting the spread of Covid-19 and safely re-connecting countries to international trade will also kick-start the global economy, but this only be possible with an effective rollout of vaccines to the billions of people who need them.

Universal vaccine access is already a major challenge in low-income countries, due to the lack of robust refrigerated cooling networks especially to remote communities. Mass vaccination for Covid-19 will need to deliver vaccines globally at scale and speed never before considered.

Supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), University of Birmingham experts at the Centre for Sustainable Cooling are working with researchers at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, BRAC University, Bangladesh, and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to design a blueprint for in-country Covid-19 vaccination cold chain design for low- and middle-income countries – using Bangladesh as a case study.

As part of the project, they have produced the report ‘Understanding the cold-chain challenge for COVID-19 vaccination’ which identifies, among other things, that:

  • There is an urgent need to strengthen vaccine cold chains in low-income countries – particularly into rural and remote areas; It is estimated that nearly 3 billion of the world’s 7.8 billion people live in areas that lack temperature-controlled storage to deliver the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Existing vaccination must continue alongside COVID-19 programmes – some 80 million children may already miss vaccinations against preventable diseases due to the pandemic;
  • Strengthening cold chains must not come at an environmental cost; this is a major opportunity to address gaps in the wider cold economy and use sustainable technology;
  • A lack of qualified engineers will lead to long response times to equipment malfunctions and broken cold-chains.  
  • Waste management will be a major challenge; alongside vaccines, disposable syringes, Personal Protective Equipment and other vaccination supplies will require disposal; and
  • High-income countries getting vaccines first would avoid 33% of preventable deaths, but equitable global distribution would stop 66% of such deaths.

Project developer Toby Peters, Professor of Cold Economy at the University of Birmingham, commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic is a major human tragedy rooted in a crisis of health, economy and social justice, but we must ask ourselves a key question: how do you kick-start a global economy without vaccinating the world?

“We can’t ‘build back better’ if lack of access to vaccination has condemned some countries to isolation because they remain Covid-19 hubs.  We must reach everyone who needs a vaccine and the real challenge lies in overcoming that ‘last mile’. Cold-chains are energy intensive and rely on planet-warming refrigerants. Rapid expansion must not be based on environmentally harmful technologies and we are leading a fast-track research programme to design novel methods and instruments to support the cold-chain for Covid-19, but also to provide a lasting logistics legacy.”

Child vaccination programmes typically reach around 115 million infants each year, but the Covid-19 vaccine would need to be available to as many as 750 million people in Africa alone.

The scientists are working in Bangladesh to create a blueprint to help ensure that medics can get a Covid-19 vaccine to everyone who needs it across the Global South.

Bangladesh has one of the world's largest pharmaceutical and vaccine industries, with a vaccination framework supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organisation (WHO), but, like many countries, still lacks the capacity to deliver unprecedented, fast-track mass vaccination.

Co-Investigator Professor Farzana Munshi, of BRAC University, commented: “Like many developing countries, Bangladesh must balance protecting its people and sustaining the economy. While we are experiencing positive economic growth in the short run, this may not be sustained if the pandemic prolongs.

“Fear of unknown is an important factor causing lack of demand that can continue as long as the virus is with us. Availability of vaccine can remove this fear and stimulate economic activities. Rapid, efficient mass vaccination is the only way forward.”

Professor Ijaz Hossain, Dean of Engineering at BUET, added: “It’s vital that we understand and overcome the challenge of that last mile on the ground in countries like Bangladesh, which have remote rural populations. We must ensure that vaccines are available at every vaccination site and outreach channel.

“This is a major opportunity to use innovative, yet affordable, new technologies to create a lasting legacy from Covid-19 investment that could help to save millions of lives and support economic growth for years to come.”


R404A retrofit shows 8% energy saving

Nov 27, 2020
24 NOV 2020

THAILAND: A study amongst convenience stores in Thailand has shown that the lower GWP refrigerant R448A showed an energy saving of nearly 8% when retrofitted into existing R404A systems.

The study measured power consumption and the ambient temperature across five stores, totalling 150m2 in central Thailand. The result, based on an average of all the parameters, showed an energy-saving average of 7.9%, or 28,273 kWh/year per five the stores.

The results of the study, carried out by a team from Thailand’s Prince of Songkla University, was published in the Journal of Advanced Research in Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Sciences.

Marketed by Honeywell as Solstice N40, R448A is a blend of the HFCs R32 (26%), R125 (26%) and R134a (21%), with HFO components R1234yf (20%) and 1234ze(E) (7%). Its GWP is around 1300 and is classified A1 by ASHRAE – non-toxic and non-flammable.

There are currently more than 20,000 convenience stores in Thailand, and the number is increasing annually. The majority are open 24 hours day, making the retail sector the fourth largest consumer of energy in the business sector.


China moves to limit HFC refrigerants

Jun 2, 2020

CHINA: Although yet to officially ratify the Kigali Amendment, China has drafted new proposals for a quota system in line with global agreements to phase down HFC refrigerants.

The new proposals from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment also includes leak management and recovery and reclamation regulations with fines of up to RMB10m ($1.4m)

The rules would apply to the production, sale, use, import and export of HFCs for controlled uses such as refrigerants, foaming agents, fire extinguishing agents, solvents, cleaning agents, and aerosols.

China is the world’s largest producer of HFCs, and manufactures about 70% of the world’s air conditioners.

“This draft plan demonstrates a clear intent to tackle these potent greenhouse gases,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, climate campaign lead of green group, the Environmental Investigation Agency. 

“EIA commends China for initiating this comprehensive process to implement the Kigali Amendment and strengthen enforcement of existing controls over ozone-destroying chemicals,” she added.


Spanish MEP questions EC action on illegal HFCs

Jun 2, 2020

EUROPE: Pressure on the European Commission to take action against illegal HFC refrigerant imports continues, with a Spanish MEP claiming the black market trade “jeopardises” the F-gas phase down.

César Luena, a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, is the latest MEP to table a written question to the Commission on the illegal trade, which some groups have estimated to be equivalent to as much as 20% of the quota. 

He asks whether the Commission is aware of this alleged contraband, and what action it is taking to combat it? Luena also enquires what the EC is doing and what incentives it is offering to encourage companies to use other climate-friendly substances such as HFOs?

Possibly prompted by the refrigerant manufacturers group, Luena points out that the European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee has called for a greater involvement and coordination of customs authorities in controlling these compounds, as well as for customs agents to be trained in the specified and legal import quotas.


Chemours¡¯ Opteon refrigerants win chemical council award

Jun 10, 2019
Chemours¡¯ Opteon refrigerants win chemical council award
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Chemours Fluoroproducts president Paul Kirsch (centre) is presented with the American Chemistry Council award by ACC chairman, Jerry MacCleary (left), and president and CEO, Cal Dooley (right)

USA: Chemours has been presented with a Sustainability Leadership Award by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) for the development of its Opteon range of HFO-based refrigerants.

These inaugural awards, presented today at the ACC annual meeting in Colorado Springs, recognise outstanding achievements by member companies in three areas: transparency and collaboration, environmental protection and circularity and societal contributions.

Chemours was recognised by receiving the Societal Contributions award for “products, processes or initiatives that illustrate a commitment to innovating for a sustainable future for society”.

“Our development of Opteon is a perfect example of how the power of chemistry can help solve some of the world’s largest challenges,” said Mark Vergnano, Chemours president and CEO.

“Consumers are demanding cleaner, greener, and more energy-efficient products, and we’re positioning our customers farther up the value chain to meet that demand with products like Opteon,” said Paul Kirsch, president of Fluoroproducts at Chemours. “This is about doing well by doing good; we are dedicated to becoming a different kind of chemistry company for a world that demands more.”


Fatal ammonia leak 2 dead in Klang Malaysia

Aug 24, 2018
Fatal ammonia leak 2 dead in Klang Malaysia
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https://www.coolingpost.com/world-news/fatal-ammonia-leak-forces-factory-move/

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