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Elimination of HFCs: Are we ready?

With the inclusion of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol to phase out, the question that arises is whether we are ready to face this new in Latin America.

by Duvan Agudelo Chaverra

In a historical fact, about 200 countries reached an agreement to gradually reduce the production and use of HFCs, following a meeting early last October in Kigali, Rwanda, by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

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This crucial decision could prevent in 0,5 degrees Celsius global warming for the year 2100. It also has important implications in our sector of air conditioning and refrigeration, so it's time to plan how you will act from here on.

For that reason, we talked with two experts in the field of refrigerants in Latin America, for comment and recommendations on how to handle the decision and how you should act: Omarly Acevedo, currently an independent consultant and who has a 11 years experience as a consultant in Colombia and Latin America United Nations Programme (UNDP) on issues related to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol and related Substances low environmental impact, especially hydrocarbons. He is also a lecturer, professor, instructor and evaluator skills in refrigeration and air conditioning.

Meanwhile, Gildardo Yanez, who has years of technical experience 32 field, installation, repair and service refrigeration equipment. He serves as the Technical Manager Refrigerants Group in Mexico.

The overall impact of the treaty
Omarly Acevedo commented that "The use of HFCs increased significantly since it began with the elimination of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and subsequent control of HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). The sectors that increased demand for these refrigerants (HFC) have had are mobile air conditioning, 20%, commercial refrigeration, near 38% and air conditioners residences in a 15%; to continue this trend, it is projected that consumption of HFCs will double by the year 2020 and 2050 could constitute up to 20% of global emissions CO2; under this scenario Latin America would strongly threatened because many areas of the continent are vulnerable to climate change, accentuated by its geography, the way it is distributed population and infrastructure, its dependence on natural resources and the importance of farming therefore the Amendment in Kigali, represents a beacon of hope, which would prevent billions of tons of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere in the not too distant future. "

Omarly he adds that it is possible that the HVAC / R is concerned at this time, especially in applications where there are no alternatives clear replacement "but this only concern should motivate them to take immediate action to overcome barriers to use of refrigerants with low impact on climate stability ".

Meanwhile, Gildardo Yanez explained how the regions of the world have planned phasing out of these HFCs. "They were divided into three groups to all signatory countries: In group one of the first world countries as are members of the European Union and the US are These countries are already taking action to go away from HFCs refrigerants such as R-404A, R-507 and R-134a. In the European Union, with Regulation F, and the US with SNAP Regulation. These countries will have to start applying the reductions in use of hydrofluorocarbons in 2019. That year must download a 10% use, based on the period between 2011 and 2013. To 2036, the reduction shall 85%. Group two countries form what Article five or under development, as are Mexico and throughout Latin America. The period is taken as the basis for the cuts will be between 2020 and 2022. The first year of implementation, also with reduced 10%, is the 2029. For 2045, the cut will be the 80%.

Actions of governments and professionals
Omarly considers that regarding the adaptation of professionals to new policies, the road will be laborious, and the key is in training.

"In Colombia in particular, and I think that is a trend in Latin America, it is presumed that most people working in refrigeration and air conditioning, have no formal training; it is estimated that the total technicians, 7% have college degree (not related to studies in refrigeration and air conditioning), the 20% have received some formal training and 73% is considered empirical, this scenario highlights the training needs they have, especially now when you consider that substances are well manage special for their physical, thermodynamic and security. Good practices should be strengthened and possession of equipment and tools for each refrigerant an obligation ".

And during the removal process?
One question is to know what will happen to our industry during the removal process, how it will behave and what developments will be presented? Gildardo Yanez says that "we have new equipment with less environmental impact. Refrigerants will have little effect on the atmosphere for the new refrigerants, as we will need less energy to operate. "

A similar view has Omarly Acevedo regard: "The industry of refrigeration and air conditioning during the process of phasing out HCFCs, and now of HFCs, should continue their normal development, reinventing and adapting to natural or synthetic refrigerants low GWP (Global Warming Potential Atmospheric) and the needs of lower energy consumption, it can not be otherwise. "

Are we ready for change?
According to our guests, it appears to be made many efforts to act properly against changes that have been presented in the world and that concern us as an industry. Gildardo highlights the importance of updating regulations for the arrival of new equipment that will have additional security measures.

"The new equipment will come with flammable refrigerants, slightly flammable or will work with high pressure. We need more training programs for technicians so they can work safely following safety precautions when installing and maintaining them. "

Omarly, meanwhile, it is clear in demanding responsible action against the solutions it considers temporary when they are such events as the amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

"The sector HVAC / R is fighting a hard battle, which have been damaged various actors: the planet that has suffered irreparable damage and the end user confused not on the market a solution of strong cooling that does not need to change in a short time, because it is no longer the best option; therefore urges Latin America to take a definitive position responsible and non-transitory address this problem; is prepared to do so, has committed leaders at different levels of government, manufacturers, large end users, traders, importers and service providers, which will serve to form cooperative structures capable of meeting the challenges of the development process and transition to technologies cleaner and sustainable. "

Alternatives to HFCs
There are several existing alternatives to make the jump, and Gildardo Yanez explains: "In my opinion, technologies using natural refrigerants are currently not very widespread use. The R-134a (GWP = 1430) will be replaced by natural refrigerants A3 flammable. The R-290 (Propane PCG = 3) in commercial refrigeration equipment and R-600a (Isobutane PCG = 3) in domestic refrigeration equipment. The R-410A (GWP = 2088) will be replaced by synthetic refrigerants low global warming potential as R-32 slightly flammable A2L (GWP = 675) or natural refrigerants such as R-290. The R-404A (GWP = 3922) is replaced by carbon dioxide R-744 (GWP = 1) in supermarkets, and temporarily by the R-448A (GWP = 1387) or the R-449A (GWP = 1397 ), which are designed in synthetic refrigerants that have less potential for global warming. "

Omarly complements estimating that Europe and North America will be the reference guide for Latin America, because the nations that inhabit these regions have an advantage in their schedule removal of pollutants.

"The industry is already working on its own in improving eco-efficient alternatives for refrigeration and air conditioning with natural refrigerants such as ammonia (NH3), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Hydrocarbons (HC), hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) among others, which are already available on the market, only in Latin America, in some countries more than in others, there are barriers to their positioning; access to the coolant and spare parts, high costs, safety standards, psychological aspects, training, are some of them. Developed countries have much to contribute in this regard, since the schedule of HCFC phase-out, and now of HFCs, is designed for them to eliminate these substances 10 years before countries developing consequently have science and engineering in the HVAC / R industry more advanced, experience should be shared with the rest of the world. "


BOX
Beginning of the end of HFCs
The 15 October 2016 in Kigali (Rwanda), the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to an amendment that aim to gradually reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), gases found in air conditioners, refrigeration, foam and aerosols and have a strong impact on global warming. It is estimated that this decision could limit the increase in global average temperatures to a level 0,5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, one of the most important steps in the fight against climate change, and an important contribution to the objectives of the Agreement Paris, came into force on 4 2016 November, which stipulates that countries should do their best to prevent the increase in global temperature exceeds 1,5 degrees Celsius.

Acevedo OmarlyThe amendment of Kigali has been established by a stepwise reduction plan in the production and consumption of HCFCs for a period of 26 years, having implemented a short term in developed countries, and the medium term in developing country and hotter. The amendment specifies that each country group will complete its production, import and consumption of HFCs in different and set goals times, considering the characteristics of the different states party to the Montreal Protocol conditions and the availability of technologies and the existence of new alternative refrigerants, mainly.

United States of America, Japan, the European Union and other developed countries, freeze their production of HFCs in 2019, with a goal of reducing its use to 90% of average production levels for the period of 2011 the 2013 and date achieve the goal of 15% consumption of these substances for 2036, according to the schedule stated reference.

A second group of countries: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Pacific Islands, Maldives, Sri Lanka, among others, freeze their production and consumption of HFCs in 2024, with goal reduce use to 90% of the average levels for the years 2020 2022 to consumption and to meet the target date of 20% of consumption of those substances for the 2045.

A third group, which are classified as countries with high ambient temperature, including India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, freeze their production and consumption of HFCs with respect to their average consumption levels of the years 2028 the 2031, with goal of reducing the use to 10% of consumption levels for the 2032 and date to achieve the goal of 15% of consumption of these substances in the 2047.

For setting reduction targets they have been considered technologies and substances available as alternatives for the restructuring of production processes and services air conditioning and refrigeration, especially availability for applications in countries with high ambient temperature sector and for developing countries.

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