Possible Natural Refrigerants To Replace HCFCS Identified

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Hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and ammonia have been identified as possible options to replacing ozone depleting Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) (refrigerant gases).

??And, stakeholders across the industry have been urged to receive training in the use, handling and care of these new refrigerant gases in preparation for their entry into the Barbadian market.

These points were outlined by Consultant with the Barbados Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-Out Management Plan (HPMP), Leslie Smith, during a recent stakeholder consultation at the Savannah Beach Hotel.

Mr. Smith pointed out that there were not enough trade technicians to install and service equipment using hydrocarbons. "There is a need now to build capacity to handle this technology because it is going to come. The time is now to get ready for new and emerging technologies that are on the way to Barbados," he said.

In presenting the international market survey part of the strategy, Mr. Smith, pointed out that hydrocarbons had a reduced Global Warming Potential (GWP) and higher levels of energy efficiency.

He noted that they were once very popular and were re-emerging because of their environmental characteristics. "Natural refrigerants, particularly hydrocarbons, are possible replacement options for small systems and commercial refrigeration systems. However, their acceptance and application are affected by safety …[as] they have the potential to start a fire if the safety considerations are not adhered to," the Consultant pointed out.

However, he noted that there were now companies in the United States and Europe that were making the shift to manufacture equipment using hydrocarbons, and cautioned that such equipment would eventually make its way to Barbados.

Mr. Smith also told stakeholders that the use of other natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide and ammonia was increasing in applications especially in Europe, the USA and Canada.??????

"In terms of ammonia, there are issues related to toxicity, infrastructure, and it is generally recommended for very large systems," he said.

Meanwhile, the use of carbon dioxide as a refrigerant is also becoming widespread in Europe, the US and Canada. "It is reasonable to predict that Co2 [carbon dioxide] equipment will eventually arrive here in Barbados, but it will have issues with its performance and energy efficiencies because of our high temperatures here in Barbados," Mr. Smith contended.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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