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Daikin's Policy and Comprehensive Actions on the Environmental Impact of Refrigerants

When selecting new refrigerants, comprehensive assessment from various perspectives is necessary. Any substance must be carefully evaluated for the overall impact on the global environment. It must also be assessed for energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, safety and other factors. As recent studies have confirmed, there is no one perfect refrigerant adaptable to all applications. For the above reasons, it is necessary to focus on selecting the right refrigerants for particular applications based on an overall assessment.

The Sooner, the Better
Reduction of Future Impact of Refrigerants

Ozone-Layer Depletion and Global Warming

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was adopted for the purpose of restricting the production, consumption and trade of particular substances in order to protect the ozone layer. CFCs had been used as refrigerants for air conditioning equipment and had a significant impact on ozone-layer depletion. The CFCs were designated by this protocol as specified fluorocarbons.

As a result, Non-A5* countries completely abandoned the production of CFCs by the end of 1995. CFCs were then replaced by less harmful HCFCs, which were, however, later restricted under the Montreal Protocol. For new equipment, HCFCs are to be phased out almost entirely by 2020 in non A5 countries and by 2030 in A5* countries. Also the HCFCs which are used for servicing air conditioning or refrigeration equipment will be totally phased out by 2040.

A5 countries then started to switch to HFCs, new refrigerants that have no impact on the ozone layer. The HFC refrigerants adopted then are superior to HCFCs thanks to their zero ozone depletion potential (ODP), however, they still have global warming potential (GWP).

With regards to GWP, in November of 2015, it was agreed that an HFC phase down amendment will be discussed by the parties of the Montreal Protocol. The feasibility and ways of managing HFCs will be discussed in 2016.

Furthermore, COP21 adopted the “Paris Agreement” in December of 2015, which is the new international legal framework of the post-2020 period of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris agreement establishes a goal to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”.

* Developing countries are categorized as operating under Article 5 of the Montreal Protocol. (Referred to as “Article 5 countries.”) However, any country that was a non-Article 5 country in the original draft and later changed is excluded.

Schedule of Reduction for HCFC Consumption Volumes

Rapid Increase in Air Conditioners

The demand for air conditioning is increasing due to the rapid economic expansion of A5 countries.

With continuing economic growth, air conditioners are expected to spread rapidly in the future, accompanied by a constant increase in refrigerant consumption. A5 countries are still using HCFCs, such as HCFC-22 (here in after called “R-22”), a substance that is harmful to the ozone layer although the consumption of HCFCs in A5 countries was frozen in 2013, and the phase-out of these substances in A5 countries began in 2015.

If emerging countries select a refrigerant with more negative environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions resulting from greater energy use and higher GWP than the current refrigerants as an alternative, global warming will increase significantly even if ODP is reduced. In addition, the longer we wait to take action, the more severe the negative impact will be in the future. It is thus an urgent requirement that we find and adopt an appropriate solution to mitigate future total global warming without wasting any more time.

GWP-Weighted Emissions

Notes

1. To prevent further global temperature rises, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere must be stabilized at 450 to 550 ppm or lower (depending on the targets for individual policies).

2. The red line shows the expectation GWP-weighted emissions will decrease if the right refrigerants are selected for particular applications. The red line has been added by Daikin Industries, Ltd.

Source: “The Large Contribution of Projected HFC Emissions to Future Climate Forcing” by Guus J.M. Velders et. al.

HFC Growth (BAU Senario) for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning and Impact of A5 Countries
GWP-Weighted Emissions

Source: TEAP October 2014- Decision XXV/5 Task Force Report: Additional Information to Alternatives on ODS  (Final Report)

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