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What are the F-gases?
F-gases include CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, PFCs and SF6. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are widely used around the world in refrigeration and air-conditioning, as refrigerants and as insulation foam-blowing propellants. The CFCs and the HCFCs depleted the ozone layer and are regulated by the Montreal Protocol and must be phased out soon. There are mostly replaced by the HFCs which are included in the Kyoto Protocol basket of greenhouse gases (most of them are powerful GHGs).
This represents a big market for air conditioners, fridges and large-scale refrigerant systems. From 2012 to 2040, while developed countries continue to opt massively for natural refrigerants, yearly HFC consumption will be multiplied by 12 in developing countries. Each single molecule of F-gases used in refrigerating and cooling systems weighs thousands of CO2 molecules (depending on which F-gas).
Natural alternatives to F-gases (CO2, ammonia, hydrocarbons) are already in operation for every use of F-gases: they are more energy efficient and require minimal changes in the system (compressor).
What are the problems in using natural refrigerants?
The F-gases industry is actively lobbying to spread a bad image of natural refrigerants, saying they are inefficient in hot and humid climates, more expensive and lack a good supply chain. All these opinions are refuted by experts we contacted and are described as profit driven communication far from the real world.
Negative perception of alternatives to F-gases is identified by all the persons we contacted as being the leading barrier to a real shift towards natural refrigerants. The F-gases lobbyists are now focusing on low GWP HFCs/HFOs because this is where they see their future market. But we are worried about a by-product of HFOs: TFAs, yet another persistent organic pollutant.
What is Noé21 doing?
Noé21, member since August 2010 of the BeyondHFCs coalition, came to the conclusion that we should work at the market level instead of the political level where we would be less efficient. Noé21 will collaborate with a team from an Indian partner NGO so that the main Indian supermarkets and department stores switch to the natural refrigerants.
See compaign description here
The goal of this campaign is to avoid the F-gases climate catastrophe and while avoiding that, to gain precious years in the CO2 campaign. We think that in order to avoid the F-gases part of GHGs, the perception of their efficiency and competitiveness must change within emerging market countries.
The strategy is to remove the main barrier to the phasing in of natural refrigerants: negative perceptions.
- Cool without air conditioning, Study on alternatives, June 2012
- Noé21 has just joined BeyondHFCs, 24.08.2010
- HFO-1234yf in the environment, Félix Dalang, 2010