The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an international NGO based in the U.K., has launched a public awareness-raising campaign about the climate impact of the refrigerants used in HVAC&R equipment.
“What the F?” is made up of a series of four short videos that examine various aspects of f-gases, from their history to how natural refrigerants like ammonia (R717), CO2 (R744) and hydrocarbons offer a climate-friendly alternative.
“To spread awareness of the threats posed by HFCs and encouraging the transition to less harmful alternatives, our Climate team has produced this series of short, informative videos on the issue,” says the EIA on its website.
The videos are hosted by EIA Climate Campaigner Sophie Geoghegan.
Phasing down HFCs
Throughout the series, Geoghegan discusses the importance of phasing down HFCs due to their high global warming potential and highlights the key role that sustainable cooling plays in the pathway to net-zero emissions.
She examines how existing legislation like the Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment are supporting the phase down of f-gases but challenges countries to go further and accelerate their transition to climate-friendly alternatives, as seen with the EU F-gas Regulation.
Geoghegan also calls on other stakeholders to take action.
“We need big manufacturers to step up and replace their f-gas product lines with natural refrigerants products instead,” she says in the third video of the “What the F?” series. “We need big end users like supermarkets to walk their net-zero talk and ditch f-gases immediately.”
“We need big manufacturers to step up and replace their f-gas product lines with natural refrigerants products instead. We need big end users like supermarkets to walk their net-zero talk and ditch f-gases immediately.”Sophie Geoghegan, EIA
As highlighted during the second video of the series, natural refrigerants offer stakeholders a climate-friendly alternative to f-gases for a wide range of applications.
“F-gas-free alternatives can be used for storing and transporting food and medicine,” says Geoghegan. “[They can keep] cars, homes and business cool, or hot. [They can] cool data centers, run ice skating rinks, insulate buildings, run medical devices and even make ice cream, along with so many other things.”
“Anything f-gases can do, natural refrigerants can do too,” she adds.
“Anything f-gases can do, natural refrigerants can do too.”Sophie Geoghegan, EIA
While the chemical companies that manufacturer synthetic f-gas refrigerants have “dominated the market for decades” and “raised barriers against natural refrigerants,” she explains how climate-friendly technologies continue to rapidly improve.
“There has been so much innovation in this sector, and more and more companies are offering natural refrigerant solutions to the market,” she says.
However, Geoghegan also warns end users of frequent greenwashing within the refrigerant sector.
For those interested in learning more about what energy-efficient, f-gas-free HVAC&R equipment is available, the EIA’s Cool Technologies website, which is managed in partnership with Greenpeace, showcases these technologies in a searchable online database.
One case study on the site features an ammonia adsorption system for refrigeration, fueled by biomass and farm waste and deployed by Indian online grocer BigBasket.