Finding climate friendly ways to cool down
PRAHA: Promoting low global warming potential Refrigerants for Air conditioning sectors in High Ambient temperature countries
In countries with high ambient temperatures, residential air-conditioning is not a luxury; it is a necessity. Gulf countries share around 15% of the global market for air conditioning, which presents a special challenge for the phase-out of ozone depleting substances. In addition, in high ambient temperatures, air conditioners do not last or perform as well as they do in cooler countries. This is because of the additional stress on the equipment to bridge the gap between cool indoor and high outdoor air temperatures. Leakage and energy efficiency are both significant problems. While leakage can be solved with increased training, efficiency remains a technical challenge.
In order to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which damage the ozone layer, an alternative must be found. Currently the main alternatives are potent greenhouse gases.
In 2013, the PRAHA project was approved by the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund, with UNIDO and UNEP as implementing agencies. The project aims to find alternative refrigerants that are gentle on the climate.
New ways to cool down: PRAHA I
By building prototypes and testing various alternatives, it became clear that a full product redesign would be necessary, and the appropriate components would need to be developed and made commercially available. Thanks to international conferences and study tours in China and Japan, participants have gained familiarity with alternative technologies.
Achievements and challenges during PRAHA’s first phase:
- Six local original equipment manufacturers built 14 prototypes with five refrigerant alternatives and shipped 9 base units for comparison
- Selected alternative refrigerants showed promising results
- Commercial and technical obstacles were identified for smooth technology transfer
- Energy efficiency of various alternatives
- Availability of components and technology
- Intellectual property rights and patent issues
Coming up in PRAHA II:
- Design optimization of PRAHA prototypes
- Capacity building of original equipment manufacturers
- Risk assessment for high ambient temperature countries
- Maintaining PRAHA platform
PRAHA has become a committed, ongoing process. The beneficiary countries, together with UNIDO and UNEP, are continuing to work towards a solution.
For more information, please read our leaflet: Finding Climate Friendly Ways To Cool Down.