The current situation within the refrigeration and AC sector is mainly a debate on how this segment can contribute to achieve the international goals towards climate change, through a refrigerant switch to low- global warming potential refrigerants, enhanced energy efficiency, and identifying not-in-kind technologies, among others; and in creating access to cooling and heating as a result of increased heat stress and climate distress.
The current global CO2 equivalent emissions of the refrigerants are around 2% of the entire CO2 emissions. The European F-gas regulation and the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol are guiding the countries and regions towards a significant reduction of CO2 equivalent emissions form the refrigeration sector. In this regime, Norway is part of the countries which also must take actions to achieve the targets in the first place.
The situation in Norway
As Norway had introduced a tax and refund system on refrigerants more than a decade ago, the industry and end-users are guided towards a safe handling and return of refrigerants after the end of life of units. How this works and the experiences will be transferred to related institutions in India. Due to the Norwegian cost penalty on fluids with a high global warming potential, systems applying alternative working fluids are developed and implemented for more than 20 years.
The situation in India
The situation in India related to the usage of refrigerants is quite different. Most units are still applying refrigerants which are harmful for the climate, in an attempt to phase-away from refrigerants that impact the ozone layer. The newly introduced Kigali Amendment within the Montreal Protocol will force the industry to implement a new generation of refrigeration technology.
There are two possible scenarios, firstly business as usual. This would mean the industry and vendors continue to follow the path which was taken by the western countries. In this scenario the ozone depleting refrigerant are replaced by hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), still having a significant environmental impact, due to their high global warming potential. This is fully legal, as India belongs to the group of countries which has the longest transition period and the slowest reduction request in the Kigali Amendment.
On the other hand, the Indian industry could adapt the latest refrigeration technology and leapfrog towards the technology developed and introduce by the leading countries and companies, as its demand for air-conditioning and refrigeration applications continues to grow. This would also strengthen the industry on the global market, enabling Indian companies to supply solutions into other regions beside the national markets.
Future Refrigeration India (INDEE+)
INDEE+ is an umbrella project covering several dedicated projects supporting the Indian refrigeration and Air Conditioning sector in the transition towards more environmentally friendly technology. Overall, its aim to achieve the goals of the ratified Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol.
The project has received funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Its aim is to coordinate actions, deliver training courses and demonstration sites to transfer knowledge to the decision makers within the different sectors. Support will be given to:
- develop R&D programs, to implement demonstration sites in real environments mainly manufactured in India, and to utilize these new sites and existing training facilities to educated (new) experts in the field of refrigeration
- identify key regulatory hurdles for these low-global warming potential refrigerants to be made accessible and affordable in the Indian market.
Partners of the project:
- CEEW – Council on Energy, Environment and Water
- IIT – Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
- IISc – Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
- CIFT – Central Institute of Fisheries Technology
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
- NEA- Norwegian Environmental Agency
- SINTEF Energy Research
- SINTEF Ocean
More information HERE