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Report: Natural Refrigerants to replace HCFCs in developing countries

25 June 2008

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CO2 and other natural refrigerants are viable alternatives to ozone-depleting HCFCs in developing countries, a report with contributions from experts around the world suggests. Before its official launch at an international meeting in Bangkok next month, offers you a copy of this key publication.
Case studies on natural refrigerants, including CO2, are the focus of a new report from the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) to help developing countries accelerate the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances in refrigeration. The publication provides a comprehensive overview of already available ozone- and climate friendly options and their application range in industrial and commercial refrigeration. Following a thorough analysis of major global policy frameworks ruling the phase-out of HCFCs, the publications gives advice on where and how to use natural fluids, such as CO2, ammonia or hydrocarbons. Aimed at decision makers in government and the private sector, it provides a summary of market trends and case studies, thereby demonstrating how an early switch from fluorinated gases to natural refrigerants can be safe and economically viable.

Project Motivation & Objectives

The new report is a collection of expert contributions from all around the world. It was launched under the PROKLIMA project, which has provided technical and financial support for developing countries subject to the Montreal and Kyoto Protocol since 1996. With more than 30 articles from government, industry and academia, the final report summarizes the most important aspects of concern to developing countries. Two criteria that could drive the use of natural refrigerants were analysed:
  • Economic benefits: As natural refrigerants are seen by many as the only viable long-term replacement for both ozone-depleting and high global warming gases, their early use could avoid lengthy transition periods and leapfrog HFCs in developing countries. Moreover, the GTZ report estimates that emerging economies can minimize foreign currency expenditures on chemical imports, eliminate supply dependencies associated with these imports, and instead concentrate resources on a long-term use of natural refrigerants. This, in turn, would strengthen the national capacity to produce domestic installations and secure jobs.
  • Environmental benefits: Helping countries to improve their carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from chemical refrigerants’ production, is the second rationale for the use of natural refrigerants. The report thus gives advice on how developing countries can concentrate their R&D efforts on energy efficiency potentials offered by CO2 (R744) and other natural gases.
Case studies: CO2 refrigeration

More than half of all articles on applications working with natural fluids are dedicated to CO2 only or at least mention it. Already in its introduction to policy initiatives worldwide, the PROKLIMA publication highlights the German carmakers’ decision for CO2 in future car air conditioning and the announcement of major food retailers to use only R744 as major drivers to influence the worldwide uptake of CO2 Technology.

Furthermore, the contributions and case studies focusing on the natural refrigerant CO2, include:
  • Refrigeration systems for warm climates using only CO2 as a working fluid Sergio Girotto, Enex S.r.l., Italy / Silivia Minetto, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy)
  • The first CO2 supermarket plant in New Zealand (Alexander Cohr Pachai, Johnson Controls, Denmark)
  • Overview and outlook for the application of CO2 in heat pumps (René Rieberer, Graz University of Technology, Austria / Jørn Stene and Petter Nekså, SINTEF Energy Research, Norway)
  • Safety of CO2 in large refrigeration systems (Samer Sawalha, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
  • Design criteria for CO2 evaporators (Roland Handschuh, Güntner AG, Germany)
  • Environmentally friendly refrigeration in the retail trade – Refrigerant R22 soon to be a thing of the past -future ecological alternative can be CO2 (Reiner Tillner-Roth, Epta Group, Germany)
  • Trends and perspectives in supermarket refrigeration (Michael Kauffeld, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Germany)
Background - GTZ & Proklima

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) is a government-owned corporation for international cooperation with worldwide operations. GTZ’s aim is to shape the political, economic, ecological and social development worldwide through the support of complex development and reform processes, as well as sustainable development. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is its main financing organisation. Its partner organizations include the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. The organisation has more than 10,000 employees in around 130 countries.

PROKLIMA is one of five GTZ programmes helping partner countries to fulfill the requirements of international conventions. With more than 110 projects and a financial volume of over €24 million, PROKLIMA is the most important bilateral partner of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund.


Marc Chasserot

Alex, referring to your comment about ‘who are the reviewers’?

Below are some of the persons involved in the GREEN MAC LCCP.

Stella Papasavva, Bill Hill and Ryan Brown from GM,

Stephen Andersen and Kristen Taddonio from EPA

Ward Atkinson,

Bob Low and Sean Cunningham from Ineos

Mark Spatz and Nacer Achaichia from Honeywell

Barabra Minor and Mary Koban from DuPont

Sephen Lepper and Michael Wallis from Ford

Hans Fernquist from Volvo

Ikegami from Toyota,

Jürgen Wertenbach from Daimler,

Rajendra Shende from UNEP

Armin Hafner and Petter Neksa from Sintef,

Nicholas Lemke from TU Braunschweig,

Plus several from CARB and representatives from Renault, Opel, Audi, Nissan, FIAT, Volkswagen, Visteon, Behr, DENSO and Sanden. 

Maybe you know a few of them?

Next question is who are the most active? Maybe Armin Hafner would know?




added 2008-08-01 11:10:27

Brent Hoare

Green Cooling Association

Thanks for the prompt, and for publishing my report on the meeting in the news section of the site. I\'m hoping that this will generate some attention from relevant companies and organisations and draw in some more traffic to the site and forums.

I\'m aware that many people with an interest in CO2 refrigerant are increasingly using the site. It would be great to see it become a more active platform for debate and exchange of ideas, and I guess this will take some time to develop.

In the interests of stirring up some debate, I\'d like to build on the observations made in my report that the fluorolobby understand the importance of these negotiations and turn up in significant numbers, yet the CO2 industry (and natural refrigerants more generally) is virtually unrepresented.

We need to ask if we are serious about replacing HCFCs and HFCs, and providing the solutions the world needs to meet our RAC needs without contributing to an increased risk of catastrophic climate change? If so, surely  we ought not leave the task of convincing the world community of policymakers that natural refrigerants are available, affordable and appropriate solutions to the few Environmental NGOs that understand the F-gas problem, and a tiny handful of progressive Governments?

I was only able to participate in the Bangkok Open Ended Working Group meeting thanks to the generosity of several friends in the industry, and in my own time. I wasn\'t being paid to be there (although I was empowered to act on behalf of the Green Cooling Council), but was highly motivated by the opportunity to play a part in the negotiations, and to meet many colleagues from the Northern Hemisphere, and to put faces to very familar names in the fluorolobby. I mention this reluctantly, but only to establish the point that the natural refrigerants industry\'s participation in these negotiations are under resourced.

Whether the Green Cooling Council will have the resources and inclination to enable ongoing participation in the Montreal Protocol process in Doha this coming November and beyond is very much an open question. So too is the question of whether any other representatives of the CO2 (and other natural refrigerants) industry will be motivated to join forces with the environmental NGOs, and other allies, to plan for an effective collaboration in Doha, and in the months leading up to the meetings.

It\'s my view that a very modest allocation of resources and strategic planning effort will deliver great environmental and economic benefits for those with a genuine interest in providing real solutions to the climate challenge.

The necessary engineering aspects of providing these solutions have made huge advances in recent years. However without more attention to the political and marketing aspects of the task, I fear these efforts will not be sufficient to deliver the world wide spread and level of acceptance.for climate friendly refrigerants we urgently need to achieve to prevent emissions of HFCs becoming an uncontrollable part of the greenhouse problem.

It\'s not the intention of this post to be at all critical of the engineering profession, or of those working hard to establish emerging technologies within viable business models. Yet unless the political and intergovernmental dimensions of the refrigerants debate receive a lot more attention than they have to date, the prospects of effectively challenging the dominance of the fluorocarbon lobby in the market and the Montreal process will remain dim.

The CO2 and natural refrigerants industries have many friends engaged in the Montreal Protocol process, working at many different levels. It\'s up to those of us in the industry to now place a priority on working collaboratively, and resourcing a collective effort to ensure we become effective long term players in the debate, in order to raise the odds of early and far-reaching success in displacing HFCs.

Everyone involved in the refrigerants debate has an interest in these negotiations, and I look forward to any response.

added 2008-08-05 16:28:35


Hi Rowan,
Are you talking about the pressure in action or refilling ?
For the active cooling there is generally no danger because the evaporating pressure
is much above 5 bars, even for freezers.
For commercial refrigeration you only have to take care that while refilling CO2
(in the case of leakage) the filling pressure is not around 5 bars or lower if you fill liquid. If the system is under 5,3 bars because of leakage, you have to fill gas until you
reach more than 5,3 bars, then you can refill liquid CAREFULLY.
Greetings, Matthias

added 2008-08-07 20:21:46
Andrew Harrison
The only thing you should be wary about operating at that pressure is getting any in the comp.
If it is a supermarket application you should only be running the system at about 11Bar -35c aprox there is no major issues with charging the system at that pressure just do not go into the comp as you would on a normal with vapor


Nicholas Cox

Earthcare Products
I’m unclear as to why  the USA considers R134A with an AEL of 1000ppm to be safer than CO2 with an AEL of 5000ppm for MAC applications? Please could someone enlighten me?
added 2008-09-02 21:18:14

rowan tutt

SCM Frigo SpA
Hi Matthias thanks for your help. I work for a Project First Facilities Management. We work supermarkets mainly.
added 2008-09-02 22:58:42

william roedel

I am interested in this refrigerant for use in low temp applications such as freeze-drying of vaccines. Need -70C on the condenser and need to chill product shelves down to -55C. These are two-stage refrigeration applications. Thank you. Bill Roedel
added 2009-01-23 19:28:55

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