Tuesday, 04 June 2013

ATMOsphere Technology Summit focuses on technology transfer to developing countries

VIENNA, 4 June 2013 – Some 150 representatives from developing and developed countries attended a two-day ATMOsphere Technology Summit that explored the possibilities of leapfrogging high global warming substances in the Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration (HVAC&R) and foam sectors.

The event, which ended in the Austrian capital today, was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and shecco, a market development company that supports the introduction of climate-friendly technologies.

“The conference highlighted successful initiatives worldwide, as well as the importance of knowledge sharing and the proactive involvement of national governments in creating more incentives for the uptake of new technologies to replace hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). As an UN agency, we have to be technology neutral, but I strongly believe that it is our duty and mandate to promote new technologies for the benefit of the developing countries,” said Sidi Menad Si Ahmed, Director of UNIDO's Montreal Protocol Branch.

"We believe we can help developing countries leapfrog the phase out of HCFC because, as we all know, one of the main concerns of the international community is also to avoid phasing in substances that have a high global warming potential.”

Participants at the event expressed concern about the lack of training in the field, saying that this was a fundamental barrier to a wider uptake of proven technology. They also pointed to the absence of uniform safety standards, which could fast-track the use of zero to very low Global Warming Potential (GWP) natural fluids.

Professor Pega Hrnjak of the University of Illinois, stressed that natural refrigerants - CO2, ammonia and hydrocarbons - had the potential to become a mainstream option worldwide. For developing countries, ammonia chillers, as a way to spread the refrigerant’s use beyond industrial refrigeration, would be especially attractive, he said. Current advances – including hermetic compressors, micro channel condensers and Ni brazed plate evaporators - have made the safe use of ammonia possible in low-charge applications, although more needs to be done to reduce costs.

For hydrocarbons, as the lowest cost alternative and an almost drop-in solution for R22, technology trends would point to the further reduction of charge to avoid safety concerns resulting from the flammability of HCs. CO2 would show special potential when using micro channel heat exchangers. Already, CO2 has a large and growing market adoption in heat pump water heaters, bottle coolers and commercial refrigeration, including in developing countries.

Prof. Hrnjak urged participants to look at each application and regional specificities individually to design technology options that would maximize opportunities for developing countries.
Nina Masson, from shecco, presented the first results of a global survey among developing countries, prepared together with UNIDO, that identify the market share of natural refrigerants and foams in developing countries. The paper also explores market expectations for the next five years, and looks at the role of stakeholder groups in each country in advancing or delaying the introduction of natural solutions.

Eric Delforge, of Mayekawa, which manufactures industrial refrigeration compressors, said that refrigeration needed to be seen in the global context of rapidly rising food production and demand for frozen food products, as well as a corresponding dramatic need to avoid spoiled food. He added that the required knowledge to operate and service natural refrigerant installations should soon exist in developing countries, and that HFC-free solutions would continue becoming more efficient and cost-effective.

The UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit has been selected as an official Green Week satellite event, which was held in Brussels from 4 to 7 June. Organized by the European Commission, Green Week is the biggest annual conference in European environment policy which, this year, focused on “cleaner air for all”.

For more information, please contact:

Sidi Menad Si Ahmed
Director, UNIDO Montreal Protocol Branch
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