A call for China to switch directly to natural refrigerants

By Sabine Lobnig, Aug 31, 2009, 17:57 2 minute reading

A paper that became available last week calls for China to switch from HCFCs directly to natural refrigerants and provides information regarding the substantial share of refrigerators in China using hydrocarbon technology. Meanwhile, the trend for AC products encompasses increasing shares for inverter technology.

In her paper that recently became available, Greenpeace China campaigner Liping Fan argues that, in times when the 19th MOP to the Montreal Protocol has accelerated the HCFC phase-out by ten years, it would be beneficial for China to switch directly to natural refrigerants. More specifically, Fan argues that natural refrigerants can help China:
  • avoid mid- to long-term legislative risks that refrigerants with higher GWP are expected to face
  • fulfill requirements for the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocols,
  • meet the national energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals
  • improve Chinese corporations’ domestic/international profile on climate change
  • increase global competitiveness of the Chinese RAC industry
75% of China’s domestic refrigeration industry uses R600a

“In 1995, with Greenpeace and GTZ Proklima’s help, a joint venture between Haier and German company Liebherr was established to produce the first refrigerators using hydrocarbon technology in China. Subsequently, many other joint ventures between Chinese and European companies were formed. It is estimated that as of late 2007 about 75% of China’s domestic refrigeration industry uses hydrocarbon (R600a) technology”, explains Fan.

Referring to the Refrigerants, Naturally! initiative, Fan explains how Unilever is currently in the process of phasing out HFCs in all its new ice-cream cabinets in China by 2010.

AC trends in China

While the trend in the Chinese household refrigerator industry is to increasingly use hydrocarbon refrigerants, resembling the picture in Europe, the focus in the Chinese Air-Conditioning industry is on inverter technology. A recent article published by Japan Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News (JARN) reports that almost all air conditioning manufacturers in China have started producing inverter air conditioners, as the Chinese government is to introduce new energy-efficiency standards for non-inverter products while manufacturers have been successfully working hard to enhance the popularity of such products as comfortable and energy-saving. As a result, “[…] the market share of inverter air conditioners in Shanghai [for example] has increased from 4.35% in 2005 to 14.67% in 2008, and 18.86% in the first 4 months in 2009. From last October, domestic giants Gree and Midea entered the inverter air conditioner market with amazing speed. Currently, about 30% of Midea’s products and more than 15% of Gree’s products are utilizing inverter technology”.


By Sabine Lobnig

Aug 31, 2009, 17:57

Related stories

Sign up to our Newsletter

Fill in the details below