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Wider application of natural refrigerants in developing countries - Exclusive interview with Marion Geiss, GIZ

26 February 2013

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At the ATMOsphere Europe 2012 conference in November 2012, hydrocarbons21.com spoke to Ms Marion Geiss from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which collaborated on several numerous Natural refrigerant demonstration projects around the world. Below, Ms Geiss talks about the current situation for natural refrigerants in developing countries.
hydrocarbons21.com: hydrocarbons21.com has reported on many GIZ’s demonstration projects with natural refrigerants in developing countries. What role do governments play in these projects?
 
Geiss: The laws and regulations are certainly keys for the development of new technologies. However, the fact that these developing countries usually do not have the equivalent industry to implement the policy of developing new technologies is often forgotten. In many developing countries, especially for small and medium enterprises, although they probably have an interest and innovative technologies, limited resources and high costs are barriers that they cannot overcome by themselves. Therefore, government needs to give some support to help those enterprises adopting alternative refrigerants.
 
hydrocarbons21.com: Are private sponsors interested in investing in GIZ’s projects relating to the adoption of alternative refrigerants in developing countries? 

Geiss: All our project partners contribute to the success of the projects by allocating equipment, personnel or financial resources. After GIZ has introduced trainings on alternative technologies, many private companies pursue with the training on their own expenses. GIZ also helps industry in networking activities. 

hydrocarbons21.com: With some companies lobbying related UN agencies and national governments to adopt high GWP refrigerants, what strategies does GIZ adopt to defend natural refrigerants?

Geiss: First, we usually employ our good contacts with the National Ozone Offices or the Ministries at the national level to strengthen our argument. Second, we provide these departments with research, papers, and briefings to support our argument. Third, at many events, GIZ tries to show that natural refrigerants in general are really a better solution and are not as dangerous as some chemical providers argue. Besides, with our demonstration projects we are trying to show that shifting to natural refrigerants is feasible. 
 
hydrocarbons21.com: Do you think GIZ is making progress in convincing governments in developing countries that natural refrigerants are a better solution than HFC’s?
 
Geiss: In some countries the answer is yes. For example, in Thailand and South Africa we are probably on a good track. However, it also depends on the situation of industry of a specific country. When we have supporters from industry, the implementation of a project is often easier like the projects we have in Cuba, Lebanon and so on. 
 
hydrocarbons21.com: Could you please share some recent projects in developing countries with the readers of hydrocarbons21.com?
  
Geiss: In South Africa, for example, we have worked with Pick’n Pay one of the largest supermarket chains locally to convert their refrigeration systems to CO2. We have helped them to build two demonstration stores already and now they have more CO2 stores. 
 
hydrocarbons21.com: What are the challenges GIZ faces in promoting natural refrigerants in developing countries at present?

Geiss: The biggest barrier is from the F-Gas industry. The lobbyists of the F-Gas industry are actively trying to get close to all levels of government departments and key decision makers to convince them not to reform the F-Gas standards. Considering some of the government officers and decision makers are not really technical experts, our work is as a result indeed difficult in some countries. Then, there is the insufficient expertise, technicians and engineer know-how in developing countries. In Europe we have training centers but developing countries usually do not have these. Training is important, especially when dealing with natural refrigerants that are flammable or toxic. In our projects, we are always looking for training opportunities to guarantee all the procedures, like the maintenance servicing, and installation, meet safe standards. In addition, the wide use of natural refrigerant technology relies on the availability of manufacturers and suppliers. At present in most of developing countries, there are not so many manufacturers or suppliers using natural refrigerants.

Thank you!
 

About GIZ Proklima
 
Proklima is a programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Since 1996, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Proklima supports countries worldwide in meeting their requirement to phase-out ozone-damaging fluorinated greenhouse gases (CFC, HCFC, HFC). In the course of the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Proklima implements demonstration projects in the cooling and foam blowing sector.
 

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