New Refrigeration Systems Promise a Cleaner China


With China’s population being more than 1.3 billion, China’s Industrial and Commercial Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (ICR) sector has expanded in the past two decades at an annual average rate of 12 percent. Moreover, demand for large scale food processing and storage equipment has increased by 15 percent every year. Despite the growth, few including industry workers understand the environmental impacts of the HCFC-22 technology used in these cold storage and freezing appliances.  


In 2007, the 19th Meeting of Parties of the Montreal Protocol (MP) agreed on accelerated phase-out of Hydro chlorofluorocarbons, more commonly known as HCFCs. Production and consumption of HCFC damages the ozone layer in turn effecting those living under it - people. From 2011, China implemented HCFCs phase-out sector plan in the ICR sector.  One project helping achieve the MP goal was the Yantai project.


With the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) Ministry of Environmental Protection in China, UNDP has approved a HCFC-22 conversion project in Yantai Moon Group Co. Ltd. Yantai is a company specializing in integrated systems for freezing and cold storage equipment, industrial refrigeration systems, and central air-conditioning equipment. In 2010, Yantai committed to converting from HCFC-22 technology to a cleaner Ammonia (NH3)/CO2 technology in the manufacture of two-stage refrigeration systems for cold storage and freezing applications.


With zero ozone depleting potential and very low global warming potential, both NH3 and CO2 are natural elements with good environmental properties. Compared with the old HCFC technology, the NH3/CO2 cascade refrigeration system technology addresses toxicity exposure by greatly reducing it. The new system is also 20 percent more energy efficient than the old system as the new equipment reduces amount of leakage.


From product redesign and development to performance evaluation and process tooling modification to prototype testing and technical assistance and training, the multidimensional project has achieved remarkable results. With the support of top university research institutions, all technical procedures passed a rigorous internal assessment. Yantai carried out a number of R&D training sessions at all levels including designers, technicians, manufacturing workers, engineers, and equipment maintenance personal, training 734 persons.


By completely remodeling an annual production line of 100 units, Yantai is now bringing quality products to the Chinese economy, while at the same time ensuring successful phase out of 250 tons of HCFC.


Yantai has launched the production line, bringing quality products to the Chinese economy. The production line is now commercially running with NH3/CO2 cascade refrigeration systems already introduced in the market. With an initial 60 units of refrigeration system sales contracts signed, the future of HCFC-22 based technology is looking grim while the future of alternative cleaner technology is booming.


With total HCFC consumption in ICR sector being 40,000 metric tons, China still has a long way to go before completely phasing out all HCFCs. However, Yantai stands as an innovative project that has phased out HCFC-22 usage by promoting advanced HCFC alternative technologies. The ICR company has introduced products that have significant advantages in terms of environmental friendliness, energy efficiency, and safety performance.


UNDP’s commitment to a greener China and Yantai’s focus on technological development could mean mass replication of Yantai-like projects in other local and international companies. By bringing the latest technologies into the ICR sector and the Chinese market, new refrigeration systems have become a source for change and a step towards building a cleaner China.  

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