Interview for Italians
Q: There is need to develop and adopt the new and environment friendly technologies in refrigeration and A/C. What UNEP is doing to help world move towards this objective?
Firstly I would like to state that we do not have to develop new technologies in all the cases. In many cases there already exist environmentally friendly technologies and we only need to do some additional research in such cases to adopt them. Use of Hydrocarbons ( HC) and ammonia for example are known for many years. What we need to do is to develop the methods and approaches to address their flammability and explosive properties. Similarly, evaporative A/C (evaporative water cooler), absorption A/C and co-generation A/C (use waste heat from on-site electric generation) have been employed by industries for past decades but need to be improved to suit new situations. Number of new processes have been developed where the waste heat is available, accordingly, the absorption refrigeration need to be reoriented to such situation.
But yes, we need new development as well. Use of CO2 as refrigerant, adsorption i.e. desiccant cooling system, Sterling cycle systems and magnetic refrigeration are some of the areas that need to be encouraged. Their main advantages of such transition- apart from their ozone and climate friendly nature- will be energy efficiency ( and therefore less emission of CO2 over the life time of the equipment ) and more safe operation. For example, a 1999 Environment Canada study found that, compared to HFC units, the HC can save from 5000 to 7000kg CO2-eq over the life time of the equipment. Also, propane chillers use in air-conditioning is 5-7% more efficient than conventional chillers (Ku-cho and Chubu electric Power, 1999, Japan).
Let me explain in detail the role of UNEP in development and awareness of the new technologies around the world . I would summarise it as following:
1- Awareness raising among all the stakeholders on these new technologies about their environmental and economic impacts. This is done through information, dissemination, capacity-building and technologic support. UNEP through its partnership with the industry, the associations like ARI and IIR and the Technical Options Committee of Technology and Economic Assessment Panles ( TEAP) under the Montreal Protocol has developed technology options booklets and Source books on technologies .
2- Support for policy development on major sectors concerned (building, mobile and industrial A/C). UNEP through its Compliance Assistance Programme is assisting the countries to adopt the policies that would provide incentives to adopt the new environment friendly technologies in refrigeration and AC. It also encourages the adoption of the technologies, improvement of energy efficiency and Life Cycle Climate Performance ( LCCP) concept to select the appropriate technologies. Every year countries like India and China award the enterprises that have achieved concrete results in this area.