Reducing energy consumption of air-conditioners
During the twenty-second meeting of the Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Marrakesh (COP22) last November, Didier Coulomb, director-general of the International Institute of Refrigeration, put pressure on the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector to improve energy efficiency and reduce HFCs, to meet the pledges of Kigali Amendment and the Paris Agreement to significantly reduce global emissions and energy consumption.
“The replacement of today’s technologies using high-GWP refrigerants needs to go hand in hand with a true effort of increasing the energy efficiency of facilities and systems more generally,” Coulomb told delegates at COP22.
Recent reports by the Montreal Protocol-funded PRAHA project and natural refrigerant advocates Eurammon have pointed out that the natural refrigerant propane could increase the energy efficiency of air-conditioning systems.
“Propane  is considered to be one of the most efficient refrigerants,” Eurammon says in its latest paper on hydrocarbons. It points out that hydrocarbons are already being applied to air-conditioning systems.
Ahead of the upcoming global HFC phase-down, a Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol-backed project investigated the feasibility of alternatives to HFCs. R290 air-conditioning emerged as the leading alternative given its superior performance to traditional systems.
Researchers for the project ‘Promoting Low-GWP Refrigerants for Air-Conditioning Sectors in High-Ambient Temperature Countries’ – also referred to as PRAHA – write, “using HC-290 has a higher cooling capacity than the base HCFC-22, and a similar EER [energy efficiency relative]”.