China targets NatRefs for ‘brighter future'

By Andrew Williams, Apr 12, 2018, 07:40 2 minute reading

The Chinese government will continue to promote natural refrigerants as alternatives to HCFCs and HFCs, heard ATMOsphere China participants today.

Zhong Zhifeng addresses ATMOsphere China in Beijing.

Photo credit: Ben Beech.

The Chinese government is accelerating its efforts to implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on phasing down HFCs and is promoting natural refrigerant alternatives by developing new standards, heard participants at today’s ATMOsphere China conference in Beijing.

”All the controlled substances under the Kigali Amendment will be phased out by 2045,” Zhong Zhifeng, vice-chief of Division III in the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection – Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (MEP-FECO), told the conference. “These HFC applications will be 100% eliminated.”

“In normal industries, we will never use HFCs,” said Zhifeng.

“We have a very clear direction forward: we’re developing alternatives,” he said, before citing “special industries” working with flammable refrigerants as exceptions where the evolution may take longer.

By 2015, China had already achieved its preliminary policy objective of reducing HCFC consumption by 10% by 2015. Going forward, Zhifeng expects to see quick progress in the room air-conditioning segment in particular, with a 45% reduction in HCFC consumption by 2020.

The promotion of natural refrigerants will lead us to a brighter future in China.
– Zhong Zhifeng, Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection; Foreign Economic Cooperation Office

China to revise domestic standards

Last year was the 30th anniversary of the entry into force of the Montreal Protocol. At a ceremony marking the occasion, Chinese Environment Minister Li Ganjie said China would accelerate the approval of the Kigali Amendment and strive to develop “green and low-carbon alternatives to HFCs”.

“We’re exceeding our expectations,” Zhifeng told the ATMOsphere conference.

China is building up production capacity for natural refrigerant technologies, and in the room air-conditioning sector, “we’re improving the standards system for alternative refrigerants,” he said.

Current standards restrict the use of flammable refrigerants worldwide, not just in China. Efforts are being made at domestic and international level to remove these barriers to wider uptake of hydrocarbons.

“Our current domestic standards are not helpful for promoting alternatives,” Zhifeng admitted. “We’re going to make new standards.”

“We’re revising standards to improve safety levels and promote natural refrigerants, which are the future market trend,” Zhifeng explained.

Internationally, the Chinese government is calling on more countries to revise their own safety standards to promote wider rollout of hydrocarbons.

“Natural refrigerants have their own barriers. The future trend is firmly fixed, but we all need to make a joint effort to produce better standards, and to improve maintenance and installation quality,” Zhifeng said.

He called on natural-refrigerant stakeholders around the world to “make joint efforts to improve things together”.

“The promotion of natural refrigerants will lead us to a brighter future in China,” Zhifeng said.

ATMOsphere China is taking place at the Sheraton Grand Beijing Dongcheng hotel from 11-12 April.

By Andrew Williams

Apr 12, 2018, 07:40

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