African Francophone RAC Experts Receive Training and Certification in F-Gases

Twenty (20) Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) experts from eight African Francophone countries – Benin, Chad, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal and Togo (20 male) successfully participated in the Theory, practice training and certification session on servicing best practices and safe handling of F-Gases in refrigeration held in Praia, Cape Verde from 17 – 21 July 2023.

The training, organized by UNEP OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) Africa Francophone Network in collaboration with The Centro Studi Galileo and the National Ozone Unit (NOU) in Cape Verde, aimed to enhance the participants’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes by focusing on various aspects of RAC work.

Certification of technicians is critical as it will ensure that the technicians have the required competencies to work with HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) and HCFC alternatives in an environmentally responsible manner that minimizes emissions of these refrigerants. The phasing out of HCFCs will lead to the increased adoption of low-GWP alternative refrigerants. However, most of these low-GWP refrigerants have flammability and/or toxic properties. Hence the installation, servicing, and maintenance of RAC systems that use low-GWP refrigerants need to be handled by competent technicians to ensure best practices and preventive leakage of the refrigerants.

In his opening statement, Mr. Yamar Guisse, UNEP Montreal Protocol Regional Coordinator for Francophone Africa welcomed participants and expressed his gratitude to the Government of Cape Verde for hosting the workshop. Mr Madi Sakande, Instructor & Coordinator – Centro Studi Galileo, also welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance and significance of the training and certification session for trainers in the RAC sector. Mr. Adilson Fragoso, National Ozone Officer, NOU, Cape Verde, also welcomed participants and thanked UNEP OzonAction and Centro Studi Galileo for their collaboration in organizing the workshop.

The training workshop presented a varied agenda consisting of presentations, discussions, practical demonstrations, and working groups as well as interactive exercises that considered overall challenges in the region and good practices in the RAC sector. Topics covered included the safe handling of flammable refrigerants, proper brazing techniques, tube processing, refrigerant recovery, evacuation procedures, and the avoidance of refrigerant purging during charging.

One of the highlights of the training, which was much appreciated by the participants, was the introduction of new technologies in RAC such as the use of non-flame pipe connections, particularly in refrigeration units employing flammable refrigerants.

After an intensive training session, the participants took a theory and practical exam.  Of the 20 candidates, 12 were certified while those who were not will require additional training.

The training was facilitated by Mr. Madi Sakande and Mr. Said El Harch, from Centro Studi Galileo. The expertise and guidance provided by the trainers contributed to the success of the training, equipping the RAC instructors with essential knowledge and skills.