Metric sales

Embraco’s switch from HFCs to hydrocarbons saved 1.5 million metric tonnes of CO2e

Brazilian compressor maker has calculated that its R290 and R600a compressors have saved the planet 1,568,025 tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2010.

Brazilian compressor maker Embraco, a brand of Nidec Global Appliance, has calculated that its gradual shift from HFCs to hydrocarbon-based refrigerants has saved the planet 1,568,025 metric tonnes of CO2e emissions since 2010.

This is the conclusion of an article written by Jozef Sedliak, R&D manager at Nidec Global Appliance, on the occasion of the COP26 meeting on climate change in Glasgow. “It’s the same as taking 341,000 cars off the streets for a year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s online calculator,” Sedliak wrote.

The calculation includes the switch from R404A, which was mainly used in commercial refrigeration compressors, to propane (R290); and from R134a, which was used in residential products, to isobutane (R600a).

Natural refrigerant compressors represent a rapidly growing portion of Embraco’s sales. In 2010, it represented 40% of sales. In 2019, it had risen to 49% and just two years later, it is now 57%. Embraco began manufacturing hydrocarbon compressors in 1994.

“Numbers like [these] give us a benchmark of what kind of contribution the refrigeration industry can promote, ”said Sedliak, referring to the fight against climate change.

The contributions of the cooling industry and efforts to reduce its own impact are essential, as the industry is responsible for around 10% of all global CO.2e, Sedliak pointed out, citing a study from the University of Birmingham in the UK

The study also concludes that “about 20 to 25% of CO emissions2 emissions from the refrigeration sector are produced by HFC refrigerant gas leaks ”. The remaining 75% of emissions from the refrigeration sector, again according to the same Birmingham study, are indirect emissions linked to energy consumption.

Nidec has taken up the challenge of reducing the impact of the cooling industry in two ways, reducing the use of HFCs and increasing the energy efficiency of its products, Sedliak explained. “In this way, we can work to reduce direct and indirect CO emissions.2 emissions.

Reducing indirect emissions by increasing energy efficiency is another area where hydrocarbons have an advantage. “Our case studies show that migrating from HFC R404A to natural refrigerant R290, on average, can provide up to 10% improvement in energy savings,” noted Sedliak.

Asked about the flammability problems of hydrocarbons, Sedliak said that “the flammability aspect of hydrocarbons has been very well managed by safety standards, in production and maintenance”.

“The migration to hydrocarbons in residential refrigeration in Europe, for example, with the use of R600a at low loads, has proven to be a success and attests to the safety of this technology.

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