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Sustainability > Key Activities 2014 > Disseminating Refrigerants with Low Global Warming Impact
Fiscal 2014 Key Activities

Environment: Disseminating Refrigerants with Low Global Warming Impact. Technical Support to Help Disseminate Refrigerants with Low Global Warming Impact in Emerging Countries.

Why is it Important?

Pressing Need to Phase Out HCFC Refrigerants in Emerging Countries

Refrigerants are indispensable substances that circulate through air conditioners and transport heat. However, the Montreal Protocol and the Kyoto Protocol restrict the use of conventional refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming, and the world needs refrigerants that mitigate these harmful effects. Developed countries have already converted to HFCs like R-410A that don’t deplete the ozone layer, but these refrigerants still have the problem of having a high global warming impact. Therefore efforts to find a next-generation refrigerant are in full swing.

In 2013, emerging countries began phasing out the use of conventional HCFC refrigerants such as HCFC-22. Air conditioner demand is growing in emerging countries, and if these countries follow developed countries in adopting R-410A, global warming will accelerate. That makes the conversion from R-410A to next-generation refrigerants a pressing concern.

Air Conditioner Refrigerants: Environmental Impact and Transition

Air Conditioner Refrigerants: Environmental Impactand Transition

*1 GWP is quoted from the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

Effect of Dissemination of HFC-32 (Projection)

Effect of Dissemination of HFC-32 (Projection)

Note: This projection was calculated based on Supporting Information from “The large contribution of projected HFC emissions to future climate forcing,” Velders et al. (World Meteorological Organization). The graph shows the estimated effect of converting 100% of R-410A usage and 50% of R-404A usage to HFC-32.

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DAIKIN’S APPROACH

Promoting Worldwide Use of HFC-32

Choosing a next-generation refrigerant must take into account not only environmental performance, but also other overall factors such as safety and economic performance. As the only company in the world to manufacture both air conditioners and their refrigerants, it is our policy to choose the optimal refrigerants based on a comprehensive assessment of the product application, looking at not just global warming potential (GWP) but also at the impact of refrigerants in all lifecycle stages including manufacturing, use, and disposal, and climate and other factors of the region where air conditioners are used. Furthermore, the conversion to alternatives to HCFCs involves international standards such as those of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), as well as various national regulations and standards. As the result of discussions at the international level and a long process of in-company assessment and consideration, Daikin has found that HFC-32 is currently the optimal refrigerant for use in residential and commercial air conditioners. HFC-32 has about one-third the global warming potential of R-410A, offers high energy efficiency and so less of it is needed per air conditioner, and can be easily recovered and reused. In fiscal 2012, Daikin released the world’s first residential air conditioner using HFC-32 in Japan. As of the end of March 2015, the use of HFC-32 has spread to 43 countries and this refrigerant is now used in products such as commercial air conditioners and water heaters as well.

But to mitigate the environmental impact of refrigerants, we also need to use HFC-32 not only in Daikin products but also get other manufacturers using it. Converting to next-generation refrigerants is a particularly pressing concern in emerging countries, which may not have the expertise to convert to HFC-32. That is why we are assisting them in their fight to protect the ozone layer and mitigate global warming throughout the entire product lifecycle; for example, providing governments, air conditioner manufacturers, and dealer engineers with the techniques and knowledge we have built up.

Characteristics of Possible Next-Generation Refrigerants (for Residential and Commercial Air Conditioners)

Characteristics of Possible Next-Generation Refrigerants (for Residential and Commercial Air Conditioners)

*2 Global Warming Impact: Global warming impact over the entire lifecycle of the air conditioner (impact of air conditioner use and refrigerant emission).

*3 Quoted from the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC.

Air Conditioner Lifecycle, Measures to Mitigate Global Warming Impact of Refrigerants

Air Conditioner Lifecycle, Measures to Mitigate Global Warming Impact of Refrigerants

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PERFORMANCE

HFC-32 Technical Guidance for Thai Air Conditioner Manufacturers

Daikin is helping spread the use of HFC-32 in emerging countries, where refrigerant conversion is a pressing issue, through efforts such as inviting the use of many of its patents for making air conditioners, and cooling and heat pump equipment for free of charge. Also, Daikin provides technical training to service engineers.

Emerging countries can submit plans for refrigerant conversion that is funded by the United Nations Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which Japan and other developed nations contribute to. Thailand, the world’s second largest air conditioner producer after China, has stated that it will limit the use of the conventional refrigerant HCFC-22, which depletes the ozone layer, beginning in 2017 and convert to HFC-32. The country has decided to proceed with the conversion to HFC-32 using the fund from the Multilateral Fund.

In April 2014, Daikin released air conditioners using HFC-32 in Thailand. At the request of the World Bank (one of the implementing agencies of the Multilateral Fund) and the Thai government, Daikin is taking part in a support project launched by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan under which Japanese manufacturers volunteer to help Thai manufacturers convert to HFC-32.

Contributing to Dissemination of HFC-32 Through Ongoing Technical Support

In November 2014, following a fund agreement on technical support between the World Bank and the Thai government, Daikin and concerned parties held a series of meetings to move forward with the text development and details of the support program. In April 2015, a kick-off ceremony was held, attended by those involved in the program: the representatives from the World Bank; the Department of Industrial Works of Thailand; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan; Daikin; and other parties. They presented an overview of the HFC-32 conversion project and details of support measures. After the ceremony, 12 Thai air conditioner manufacturers took a tour of Daikin’s Thai factory and joined a technical seminar that touched on the production facility for safe manufacture of air conditioners using HFC-32.

Since May 2015, Daikin has been conducting training for service engineers of the 12 Thai manufacturers in the installation and repair of HFC-32 air conditioners. This training will go towards raising the overall level of technological strength in the Thai air conditioner market so that the Thai service engineers can use what they have learned from Daikin to teach engineers at their companies’ dealerships

We are also providing the Thai government with the HFC-32 technological information that is needed to develop safety standards for manufacturing, selling and installing, and disposing of HFC-32 air conditioners.

Kick-off ceremony at the Ministry of Industry of Thailand (April 2015)

Kick-off ceremony at the Ministry of Industry of Thailand (April 2015)

(Starting 2nd from left) Representatives of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Daikin Industries, the Ministry of Industry of Thailand, and the World Bank

(Starting 2nd from left) Representatives of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Daikin Industries, the Ministry of Industry of Thailand, and the World Bank

HFC-32 Air Conditioner Installation and Repair Training for Service Engineers

When we looked at refrigerants’ environmental impact on the entire lifecycle, we realized that no matter how hard you work to minimize the impact of the refrigerant and the air conditioner, it means nothing if refrigerant leaks during installation and repair. That’s why we focus on training the service engineers at manufacturers and their dealerships who will install and repair products.

Since 2014, Siam Daikin Sales Co., Ltd., Daikin’s sales company in Thailand, has been conducting installation and repair training to boost HFC-32 usage and knowledge for dealer engineers at the training center and at locations around the country. In fiscal 2014, 853 engineers were trained.

In January 2015, the success of this training earned it certification as an official skills development and job-training program under the Ministry of Labour of Thailand. The program has been opened to not only the engineers of the Daikin Group but also the engineers of other dealers, allowing us to play a role in helping many service engineers obtain the job license authorized by the Department of Skill Development under the Ministry of Labour. From January to March 2015, open seminars under this program were held in 14 locations around Thailand, with 721 engineers taking part. Our target is to train about 1,000 engineers under this program in fiscal 2015.

Raising the technical level of Thai service engineers results in fewer refrigerant leaks during installation and repair and helps limit emissions of greenhouse gases. It also gives the service engineers official certification and boosts their job status, allowing them to perform highly technical work and thus boost their income.

Sites of Open Seminars in Program Certified by Thailand’s Ministry of Labour

Sites of Open Seminars in Program Certified by Thailand’s Ministry of Labour

Factory tour for the representatives of Thai air conditioner manufacturers hosted by Daikin Industries (Thailand) Ltd.

Factory tour for the representatives of Thai air conditioner manufacturers hosted by Daikin Industries (Thailand) Ltd.

Installation and repair training for service engineers of 12 Thai air conditioner manufacturers

Installation and repair training for service engineers of 12 Thai air conditioner manufacturers

Installation and repair training for service engineers of 12 Thai air conditioner manufacturers

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NEXT CHALLENGE

Continuous Search for Technologies to Further Reduce Environmental Impact

We will continue our ongoing support by making the most of our technological strength so that other emerging countries can make the conversion to HFC-32.

These efforts help protect the ozone layer and reduce global warming, as well as raise the technical level of companies in emerging countries and contribute to economic advancement. The dissemination of HFC-32 and more widespread use of refrigerants with low global warming impact also lead to business growth for Daikin.

In addition, it is Daikin’s policy to choose the right refrigerant for every application. While we are working to spread the use of HFC-32 worldwide in residential and commercial air conditioners, we also continue to search for suitable alternative refrigerants that match the specific needs of products such as water heaters, chillers, and refrigeration equipment.

As the only company in the world to manufacture both air conditioners and their refrigerants, we will continue to seek ideal refrigerants with low environmental impact, and thus contribute to protecting the ozone layer and mitigating global warming.

Example of Daikin’s Choice of Refrigerants

Example of Daikin’s Choice of Refrigerants

Stakeholder's comment

Outstanding Example of Partnership Achieving Both Economic Development and Environmental Protection

Daikin Industries, Ltd. is helping 12 air conditioner manufacturers in Thailand convert to HFC-32 refrigerant technology as part of a bilateral agreement between the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (Japan) and the Department of Industrial Works (Thailand). Daikin is spearheading an industry mentoring program that will facilitate the transfer of technology and help Thai industry improve its product performance and reliability.

This exemplary commitment by both industry and government is expected to contribute significantly to global efforts in protecting the ozone layer and climate, and represents an outstanding example of a partnership towards economic development and global environmental protection.

To help bring this agreement to fruition, on April 29, 2015 the Chonburi factory of Daikin Industries (Thailand) hosted a visit by the 12 local air conditioner manufacturers, government representatives, and representatives of Thailand’s vocational schools. Over the next 12 months, Daikin will provide the technicians and engineers from the manufacturers with ongoing training on the development, production process, installation, and servicing of HFC-32 refrigerant so that the Thai air conditioner industry can successfully convert to HFC-32 technology and be more competitive in domestic and international markets.

Viraj Vithoontien Senior Environmental Specialist, The World Bank Group

Viraj Vithoontien Senior Environmental Specialist, The World Bank Group

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