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Three UNIDO projects win ASHRAE-UNEP innovation award

10 August 2023

Beer dispenser production line Brazil

VIENNA - Three UNIDO projects have won the 2023 ASHRAE–UNEP Lower GWP Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Innovation Award. The award promotes innovative design, research and practice by recognizing the development and implementation of innovative technological concepts applied in developing countries to minimize the use of higher global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants through refrigeration and air-conditioning applications.

The three UNIDO projects, two implemented in Brazil and one in Ecuador, were selected taking into account the innovative aspects in transforming conventional concepts, technical replicability in developing countries, extent of need, and economic feasibility for developing countries.

One of the projects in Brazil involved the development of a modular low-charge refrigerant chiller, using propane as a replacement for hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) in commercial facilities, especially in refrigeration systems used in supermarkets.

“This modular system allows easy repair or replacement of faulty equipment and eliminates the need for maintenance onsite,” explained Ole Nielsen, Chief of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Division. He added that the changes optimize performance and reduce environmental impact and that the system has potential future replication opportunities in developing countries owing to its simplicity.   

The other award-winning project in Brazil developed a new heat exchanger composition for draft beer dispensers, allowing the use of flammable refrigerants and improving cooling efficiency. The new design reduces the refrigerant charge, eliminates oil accumulation issues and enhances heat exchange between fluids and the intermediate material. The project demonstrated the environmental benefits by achieving lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions, while maintaining the size and usability of the equipment.

The cold chain project in Ecuador used propane as an alternative refrigerant instead of HCFC-22. The cold store is mainly used to store flowers meant for export. The project resulted in a 36% reduction in energy consumption and a 41% decrease in total equivalent CO2 emissions, according to Rodrigo Serpa, UNIDO project manager.

“These awards are a recognition of UNIDO’s work, which is on the forefront of climate action. We enable developing countries to make their own products, providing capacity building and promoting environmental friendly measures, thereby enabling progress by innovation,” Nielsen added.

- ASHRAE, formerly the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, is a professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems design and construction.

For more information, contact:

Ole Nielsen, Chief Montreal Protocol Division


See: Lower-GWP Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Innovation Award