Transitioning from Fluorinated gases (and others) to green cooling solutions a key focus on RAC workshop and the fight to #BeatAirPollution
Stellenbosch, with a focus on air pollution during World Environment Month, DEA&DP and the Free State of Bavaria hosted a technical workshop on transitioning to green cooling solutions.
The industrial refrigeration and air conditioning sector contributes to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, because these applications make use of fluorinated gases, as refrigerants. These “F-gases” have high global warming potentials that are up to several thousand times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). DEA&DP’s mandate has always been to advocate for a more resilient and sustainable environment by encouraging the switch to energy efficient and climate-friendly cooling technologies.
Stemming from a successful bilateral relationship for over 20 years, the Free State of Bavaria and the Western Cape Government has embarked on a partnership project on the “transition to climate-friendly refrigeration and air conditioning”, in 2017. The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) project saw the two Governments working closely to reduce emissions of harmful refrigeration chemicals to the atmosphere, which is in line with the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol: Hydrofluorocarbons Phase-down.
Piet van Zyl, Head, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, said, “We have seen 3 experts trained in Bavaria as ‘cool experts’ and today, at this Technical Workshop, government authorities from two sides of the world come together with the RAC trainers, manufacturers, distributors and servicing companies to discuss opportunities towards unlocking the market uptake of natural refrigerants and energy-efficient appliances in the Western Cape region.”
It has been estimated that the cooling sector is currently responsible for 3.830 million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions globally. It is also predicted that the demand for refrigeration and air conditioning will increase dramatically as ambient temperatures rise. Without any serious interventions, in a business as usual scenario, it has been predicted that HFC emissions could be responsible for 9 to 19% CO2 equivalent of projected global CO2 emissions by 2050.
Global calls have been made to ‘phase down’ the production and consumption of HFCs. Countries have recently adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which entered into force in January 2019. The Kigali Amendment calls for action to be taken, which can contribute to an estimated reduction of between 6 and 10% of the total greenhouse gas reductions by 2050. With the growing demand for industrial cooling, it is imperative that energy efficient appliances look to alternatives natural refrigerants such as propane, butane or CO2.
The 2-day workshop covered the implementation of international and national policy requirements and legislation with regards to the RAC sector, the status of the competencies and training of technicians for safe installation and repair of energy efficient and climate friendly equipment in the South African market, as well as provide the platform for discussion of best practice RAC examples that are currently used internationally, inclusive of some best practice experiences from Bavaria.
Van Zyl further added that “the commencement of the RAC Technical Workshop comes at a time when air pollution is at the centre of attention to many regulatory authorities, industries, and individuals around the world. So much so that the United Nations has focused the 2019 theme for World Environmental Day on Air Pollution, with its social media slogan, ‘#BEATAIRPOLLUTION’, aptly calling for action, a call to combat this global crisis.”
World Environmental Day is designated and recognised globally on the 5th of June to encourage us all to consider how we can change our everyday lives to reduce the amount of air pollution we produce, and counter its contribution to global warming and its effects on our own health. One way of achieving this goal is by considering how to reduce or “phase down” the F-gases in our refrigeration and air conditioning industries.”
For more information on the RAC workshop contact DEA&DP via the contact us page: https://www.westerncape.gov.