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Leading policy, industry and NGO experts discuss natural refrigerants in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate meeting in December

Leading experts from the European Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme, the US Environment Planning Authority , the German Federal Environment Protection Agency, businesses such as Nestlé, Tesco and Unilever and NGO Greenpeace International gathered at Atmosphere 2009 in Brussels to discuss the future of natural refrigerants across the globe.

The world’s first publicly used vehicle with CO2 Mobile Air Conditioning to be presented at the Atmosphere 2009 conference on Monday, October 19, by The German Environment Agency (UBA) Natural refrigerants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2, R744), ammonia (R717), and hydrocarbons (R290, R600a) are viable alternatives to hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) and proving to be effective in the fight to reduce carbon emissions worldwide, the Atmosphere 2009 conference has been told. “It is imperative that natural refrigerants find their way faster to the market,” said Marc Chasserot, Managing Director of shecco and the Chair of Atmosphere 2009. “But beating the HFC industry on the grounds of lower global warming is not enough. The key will be to demonstrate that natural refrigerants are also better than HFCs in terms of energy efficiency.” United Kingdom MP Clive Efford will deliver one of the opening addresses at Atmosphere 2009. Efford introduced a Bill in the UK Parliament in June 2009 to end the use of HFCs in the refrigeration units of large supermarkets. HFCs were introduced into widespread use when CFCs were prohibited in the 1990s because of the damage they do to the ozone layer. Whilst HFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they are powerful global warming gases. The phasing out of HFC use in the UK supermarket sector by 2015 has the potential to save 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2050, which is more than one quarter of the UK's current annual greenhouse gas emissions. In 2005, the amount of HFC emissions leaking from UK supermarket refrigeration was estimated to be equivalent to 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. “To put that into perspective, it equates to one person flying in a plane from London to New York more than 2.5 million times; to the production of 10 billion plastic bags; to one billion car trips to the supermarket; to the annual carbon foot print of 200,000 people; or to driving round the circumference of the earth 300,000 times - if that were possible,” said Efford. On display at Atmosphere 2009 will be a major natural refrigerant success story, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) project that aims to convert the room air-conditioning system (RAC) production in China from halogenated to climate-friendly natural refrigerants. Within the framework of the International Climate Initiative, the German Environment Ministry is funding a project that intends to introduce the production of RAC systems using hydrocarbon R290 instead of the ozone- and climate-damaging HCFC R22, as is the case now. The project has a budget of two million euros. It is planned to produce 180,000 units of room air-conditioners using hydrocarbons per year by the Chinese Manufacturer Gree Electric Appliances Inc. and thereby establish a best-practice model. “Our intention is to help China to introduce this technology in the domestic market, in the light of the 2013 Montreal Protocol freeze of HCFCs,” said Dr. Volkmar Hasse, Program Manager at GTZ. “The market for the current R22 air conditioners is still expanding rapidly and we need to do something to head off this growth, so that at the end of 2012 there will be no further increase. The design of this particular product is meant to help the Chinese to have an alternative on the market that would fulfil the requirements of the Montreal Protocol.” Also being presented at Atmosphere 2009 is the world’s first ever publicly used vehicle equipped with a CO2 air conditioning system. The VW Touran, also known as the R744 MAC car, is currently used as a service vehicle by the German Environment Agency (UBA). Initial tests show that at 20°C outside ambient temperatures, an R744 Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) system consumes 54 per cent less additional fuel than current systems using R134a. At 28°C, the CO2 MAC is still 45 per cent more efficient, and at high ambient temperatures of 35°C it consumes 14 per cent less fuel than R134a-based systems. The currently used refrigerant is 1,420 times more climate damaging than CO2. Using R744 air conditioning worldwide could thus save at least 270 million tonnes CO2 equivalents per year. “R744 MAC is not a fiction or a dream but can be done and is in operation already,” said Gabriele Hoffmann, a spokesperson for the UBA. Key speakers at Atmosphere 2009 include: Rajendra Shende - Head, OzonAction, United Nations Environment Programme Lambert Kuijpers - Co-Chair, TEAP Steve Gorman - GEF Executive Coordinator, World Bank Thomas Verheye - Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission Uwe Lahl - Director-General, German Federal Ministry for the Environment Keilly Witman - Leader GreenChill Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clive Efford, MP for Eltham, United Kingdom Volkmar Hasse - Director, Proklima GTZ David Kanter - Greenpeace International. Antoine Azar - Global Program Manager, the Coca-Cola Company Rene van Gerwen - Global Lead Engineer Refrigeration & HVAC, Unilever Paul Homsy - Head of Refrigeration & Hygienic Air Handling, Nestlé Andy Campbell - Head of refrigeration environmental, Tesco What: Atmosphere 2009 When: October 19-20, 2009 Where: Hotel Amigo, Rue de l’Amigo 1-3, Brussels 1000, Belgium About the Organiser: Atmosphere 2009 is organised by shecco - a Brussels-based Marketing & Communications company for environmental technologies, with special expertise in the field of natural refrigerants. The conference is supported by the European Commission. For conference registration, programme, media briefing and biographies please go to www.Atmosphere2009/pages/ N.B: There will be an opportunity for members of the media to take a drive in the R744 MAC between 10am-12 midday on Monday October 19. The car will be stationed a the conference site (Hotel Amigo) Further information: (In Brussels) Michael Kessler Atmosphere 2009 Media Relations Email: Mobile: +34 655 792 699 Nina Burhenne, Marketing Manager, shecco Atmosphere 2009 / Technology / Industry Email: Mobile: +32 473 468 194


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