In a country with an average temperature at 30 degrees Celsius, switching on an air-con or gulping down a cold drink or having drinks in ice are some of the Thai favorites to beat the heat. For a long time, Thailand was reliant on synthetic refrigerants (such as fluorinated refrigerants or F-gases) to create cool air for their homes or cool their beverages and food at the cost of climate and the environment. The country is only recently discovering a greener way of cooling and the enormous potential that lie in natural refrigerants, namely hydrocarbons.
“The industry is shifting towards natural refrigerants and green cooling technologies. In other markets, for example in Europe, the market has completely turned to natural refrigerants. We foresee that this trend will follow in our geographies too, and we would like to actively support and advancethat migration especially here in Thailand,” said Alex Panas, Group Commercial Director of Sanden Intercool.
Natural refrigerants are substances that exist naturally in the environment. Unlike the widely used synthetic counterparts, natural refrigerants do not harm the ozone layer, do not trap the sunlight – known as greenhouse effect – and can be more energy-efficient. With zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and very low or zero global warming potential (GWP), they are considered the definitive solution to the environmental damage.
By 2022, Sanden Intercool Group aims to have all its ranges available with natural refrigerants. The company is targeting to supply at least 50%, or even 70%, of the units required in the Thai market with natural refrigerants in the next 2 years.
“The sooner the market in South East Asia switches, the better it will be for preserving the environment and keeping the business within a sustainable level for the long-term. We, as Sanden Group, are inspired and committed to promote green technologies in Thailand. In the end, this will benefit all of us. The end-users, the society, the country itself. What the RAC NAMA Project is doing is an outstanding initiative,” said Mr. Panas.
With the contribution of the Thailand Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (RAC NAMA) project, particularly through a revolving fund and a sub-grant scheme, the company has been able to acquire state-of-the-art equipment necessary for the manufacture of hydrocarbon-based refrigerators and receives marketing and technical support to actively promote green refrigeration in the market.
For the past 3 years, the RAC NAMA Project has been promoting the use of natural refrigerants in domestic and commercial refrigerators, ACs and chillers. Tapping into both the demand and supply sides, the team has been supporting a number of Thai manufacturers with transitioning to natural refrigerants. The Sanden Intercool Group, Supreme CNB Corporation and Panasonic Appliances Cold Chain (Thailand) are now in the process of having their production lines converted. The green appliances such as refrigerators, coolers, and chillers are expected to launch into the market in the last quarter of this year.
About half of the electricity consumed in Thailand comes from refrigeration and air conditioning systems. This energy demand for cooling contributes to 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This figure presents significant mitigation potential for reduced energy demand and GHG emissions as well as improved efficiency through the uptake of climate-friendly refrigerants.
Commissioned by the NAMA Facility on behalf of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the RAC NAMA project runs until March 2021.
The Thailand-based Sanden Intercool Group, a joint-venture of Yammarat Refrigeration with Sanden Corporation Japan, is one of the world’s largest and most diverse manufacturers of commercial refrigeration equipment.
Read more about natural refrigerants.