Alternative Refrigerant

Topics: Propane, Refrigerator, Chlorofluorocarbon Pages: 6 (1949 words) Published: October 20, 2008
In the spring of 1992 Greenpeace brought together scientists who had extensively researched the use of propane and butane as refrigerants, with an East German company DKK Scharfenstein. The company had been producing refrigerators for 50 years and was the leading household appliance manufacturer in the former East Germany. After reunification, however, it faced severe economic problems and was due to be closed down. The meeting between the scientists and DKK Scharfenstein resulted in the birth of 'Greenfreeze' technology for domestic refrigeration. Greenfreeze refrigerators use hydrocarbons for both the blowing of the insulation foam and the refrigerant and they are entirely free of ozone destroying and global warming chemicals. When DKK Scharfenstein announced their intention to mass produce "Greenfreeze", Greenpeace successfully campaigned to gather tens of thousands of pre-orders for the yet-to-be-produced new refrigerator from environmentally conscious consumers in Germany. This overwhelming support from the public secured the capital investment needed for the new 'Greenfreeze' product, and at the same time, salvaged the company and saved the jobs of its workers. The major household appliance manufacturers, who had already invested in HFC-134a refrigeration technology as the substitute for CFCs, at first claimed that the 'Greenfreeze' concept would not work. However, upon realizing that the first completely -CFC, HCFC and HFC-free refrigerator was about to come on the market, and recognizing the market appeal of a truly environmentally friendly refrigerator, the four biggest producers, Bosch, Siemens, Liebherr and Miele gave up their resistance to the hydrocarbon technology, and introduced their own line of 'Greenfreeze' models in the spring of 1993. Within a year and a half the Greenfreeze technology has spread like wild-fire throughout Europe, and to other parts of the world. Many models of 'Greenfreeze' refrigerators are now on sale in Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Britain. All of the major European companies, Bosch, Siemens, Electrolux, Liebherr, Miele, Quelle, Vestfrost , Bauknecht, Foron, AEG are marketing Greenfreeze-technology based refrigerators. Even the Environmental Ministers of Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands have lent their support by buying a Greenfreeze refrigerator. Greenfreeze technology has also spread to other continents. Greenfreeze is about to be produced in Argentina. Companies in India are expressing great interest in converting to the hydrocarbons. Godrej-GE and Voltas Ltd. are currently moving ahead to a pilot plant stage to convert to cyclopentane foam blowing, in cooperation with the Swiss/German ECOFRIG project. The Dutch organization ECOZONE has been working with the Pakistan Holland Metal Project (PHMP) in Peshawar on a training course for refrigerator technicians in the use of hydrocarbon technology. As a result of Greenpeace's initiatives in China, Qingdao company plans to have its Greenfreeze models on the market by February, 1995. Other Chinese companies are expected to follow suit, with the assistance of bilateral arrangements with the German government, under the provisions of the Montreal Protocol. A Greenpeace exhibition in Tokyo in April 1993 attracted over 600 representatives from Japanese and South Korean companies. In Kenya, the Climate Action Network (CAN) Africa is working together with the National Environment Secretariat and the National Refrigeration Demonstration Centre of the Kenyan Polytechnic on a proposal to demonstrate hydrocarbon technology in Kenya. In Ghana, despite receiving training from the World Bank in HFC-134a conversion, the National Refrigeration Workers Association of Ghana are reluctant to switch to this expensive chemical. Together with Friends of the Earth Ghana, a training course is now planned in the conversion of existing refrigerators to run with hydrocarbons. 80% of...
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