Conversion of the production of split and window-type air conditioners to hydrocarbon technology
Title: Demonstration project for the conversion of production facilities for the manufacturing of split and window-type air-conditioning equipment from halogenated chemicals to natural, climate-friendly cooling agents
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); International Climate Initiative
Lead executing agency: The Ozone Cell of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests
Overall term: 2008 to 2013
Ozone and climate-damaging hydro-chlorofluorocarbons, also known as HCFCs, are still the most common refrigerants used in the rapidly growing air-conditioning sector in India. Under the Montreal Protocol, HCFCs are to be phased out from 2013 onwards. They are currently most likely to be replaced with hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) which, although they do not deplete the ozone layer, still have a significant impact on the climate. Climate-friendly alternatives are therefore urgently needed in the refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector. The natural refrigerant propane (R290) is an excellent alternative for use in environmentally friendly cooling. Not only does it result in considerably reduced direct emissions, it also increases energy efficiency. Introducing ozone- and climate-friendly natural refrigerants to the emerging Indian air-conditioning market at this stage is a huge but necessary challenge. It is the only chance for the sector to develop in a climate-friendly and sustainable manner in the future.
Boosted by new know-how and enhanced HR, entrepreneurship and institutional capacities, hydrocarbon-based technologies are being introduced in the air-conditioning and refrigeration sector, which are environmentally friendly, energy-efficient and cost-effective.
The project is introducing R290-driven split and window-type room air-conditioners to the Indian market. Besides its environmental benefits, the new technology is safe in design, energy-efficient and cost-effective. A local partner, manufacturer GODREJ & BOYCE Mfg. Co. Ltd., is installing a production line for R290 room air-conditioners, while taking the necessary safety procedures to counter the risks attached to the inflammable hydrocarbon-based technology. Product certification and the training of technicians is an important part of the project.
With the appropriate technical support and capacity building, other Indian manufacturers will also be able to make informed decisions regarding the replacement of HCFCs with R290. The results of the project are also being shared with these and other air-conditioning manufacturers to promote the technology throughout India and in other markets.
The project is also helping to strengthen India’s overall capacity to adopt environmentally-friendly technologies in accordance with international environmental agreements. GIZ’s involvement in the project was agreed as part of the German Government’s International Climate Initiative.
Results achieved so far
The production line at the GODREJ & BOYCE factory in Shirwal, Maharashtra, was installed in March 2012 and the first batch of the new air-conditioners has already been sold in the market, bringing a reduction in India’s consumption of ozone- and climate-damaging HCFCs.
The new air conditioners have been designed based on European safety regulations and represent value of money for Indian customers, as they have the highest energy efficiency in their class, which saves electricity costs and reduces indirect emissions.
One production line produces around 180,000 HCFC-free, energy-efficient units per year. The direct emissions saved by these units, compared to earlier models using fluorinated gas refrigerants, as well as the savings in indirect emissions related to energy consumption, amount to about one million tonnes CO2e (based on a product lifetime of ten years). The project sends a strong signal to other air-conditioning manufacturers in India and the region that they to can move to the sustainable and clean hydrocarbon technology.