Make way for the new class of refrigerants that await its entry in the global commercial markets. These are not the generic class of compounds that have been haunting the dreams and discussions of active environmental activists and forums respectively. When the world is out on the hunt for fresh additions to the list of already known refrigerants in the market, their approach is fixated to a singular point of product development — aim at coolants with low-global warming potential (GWP).
A STRONG SHOT FROM KIGALI’S
The industry is abuzz of the prospects of hydrocarbons being able to replace hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in traditional use. This transition has been due over a long time in the recent past. However, translation of actions is expected to speed up ever since the Kigali Amendment made to the Montreal Protocol later in 2016. The parties to ratify the protocol aim at a 0.5°C reduction in global warming by the end of 2100. For those who are unaware, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was amended under a strong vendetta against the continued surge of HFCs considered to be a strong driver of the global warming. Kigali comes across as the largest collective attempt to sustain and preserve the world and its being.
UN environment chief, Erik Solheim, said during a conversation with the press, “This is about much more than the ozone layer and HFCs. It is a clear statement by all world leaders that the green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable. It shows the best investments are those in clean, efficient technologies.”
So, what exactly should one expect out of the amendment? The landmark alteration was not prompt. There was a lot of negotiation and compromise among 197 countries involved. It is neither fair nor economically feasible for each member to make the required switch within a stipulated time frame. Starting with the developed economies the HFC phase-down would begin as soon as 2019, while developing economies have time until 2024. The remaining members on the list would freeze their share of consumption by 2028.
Exploration of HFC alternatives would be a cost-intensive objective, costing channelized resources and investments worth billions. Participating countries have decided to cut out a financial plan to raise funds for research and development projects. Members would mull the exact amount of funds to be distributed at the upcoming Meeting of the Parties in Montreal, in 2017.
BRACE FOR THE CHANGE
As a part and parcel of the net consequences, the market expects to have a revived recession of refrigerants. It would be more than some time before the novice class of alternatives become commercially successful. At preliminary stages, the new products would bring along with them several challenges that involve system incompatibility and higher costs of procurement. The industry channels are anticipating a considerable gap between demand and supply volumes in near future.
However, the obligatory government mandate, which has brought the regulatory change for the industry players, surrogates the intentions to offer full support in terms of finance and assets. The global refrigerants market expects to witness numerous economic and technological reforms following the Meeting of the Parties.
Amongst the various reforms being carried out, major changes would be seen in terms of design specifications in the HVAC equipment. These modifications revolve around making the best use of the high-performance refrigerants being introduced in market avenues. Prominent players in this segment are revisiting their previous attempts to go eco-friendly with an application-specific approach. Depending upon the end deployment of cooling equipment, the refrigerants types and properties would be suitably adjusted.
CLASSIFICATION REFORMS SPRING TO ACTION
The ongoing three-day ASHRAE 2017 Winter Conference at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, introduced a course by ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI) to review the potential refrigerants to hit the market platforms. At present, the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34 enlists around 160 chemicals and chemical blends as safe to be used as refrigerants for sundry applications. As the industry vendors venture out to experiment with blends of low-GWP, the list would find the inclusion of otherwise toxic and flammable coolants.
ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 15 accommodates the restrictive guidelines for system design that are permitted to use the same. Given the expected entry of novice refrigerants, amended flammability classifications are being introduced, making space for Class 2L. The latest course by ALI would communicate the necessity of current change and its due consequences.
According to the findings of a research report, the global refrigerants market was evaluated worth $9.5 billion in 2015. As expected by expert industry analysts, it is anticipated to register a 9.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period 2016–2022. As market participants progress to eliminate the only restraining factor brought by ecological concerns from the system, business stakeholders look forward to the extraction of better profit margins out of their investments.