Potential of natural refrigerants in China, the case of the heat pump market

140 papers were presented during the successful 12th IIR Gustav Lorentzen conference on Natural refrigerants. CO2 was the most addressed refrigerant (74 papers), followed by hydrocarbons (34), ammonia (21) and water (4). We present below the summary of a paper along with the direct link where the paper can be downloaded in Fridoc database.

In their paper*, C. Su and B. Palm stress that there is a substantial potential for increased use of natural refrigerants in the Chinese heat pump market. Their low cost and low GWP are attractive features in the phase-out of HCFCs and HFCs. Among various natural refrigerants, three of them receive the most attention, CO2, R290 and ammonia, but all three are still at an early stage of commercialisation.

Because of the safety risks, ammonia is mainly considered for industrial scale cooling applications. The potential of ammonia in heat pumps are still under investigation.

The potential of CO2 refrigerant in China is mainly in domestic CO2 heat pump water heaters (HPWHs). Commercialisation of CO2 HPWH has encountered several challenges, which hinders its market initiation. More R&D activities should be carried out by research institutes and manufacturers to improve the product’s efficiency. Policy decisions which offer subsidies to CO2 HPWH would also be a key measure to support the application of CO2 refrigerant heat pump systems.

The potential of R290 refrigerant is in air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) for room air conditioning. Active policy support and strong industry commitments are both helping R290 ASHPs to increase market shares. Meanwhile, existing national standards should be revised to include R290 and the necessary safety requirements. Training of professionals should also be paid attention to.

The potential of ammonia refrigerant is in food chain, pharmacy, chemical industry as well as sports facilities.

*Su C, Palm B. (2016). Potential of natural refrigerants in China, the case of the heat pump market. Paper presented at the 12th IIR Gustav Lorentzen Conference on Natural Refrigerants, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.