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US HVACR industry announces refrigerant R&D plan

Will invest $5bn for new environment-friendly refrigerants and equipment

| | Sep 17, 2014 | 12:19 pm
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Will invest $5bn for new environment-friendly refrigerants and equipment

At a White House event on September 16, Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) President and CEO Stephen Yurek announced that the nation’s HVACR industry will invest $5 billion in R&D funds over the next decade to develop the next generation of refrigerants and the air conditioning and refrigeration equipment in which they will be used.

may2014-hal01The event, sponsored by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, highlighted the positive work by the private sector in developing alternatives to high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants, the announcement said.

Yurek told those in attendance, which included Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and State Department Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, that the HVACR industry has been proactive in developing refrigerants with lower GWP.

“Close to $2 billion has been spent by the industry since 2009 researching energy-efficient equipment and the utilisation of low-GWP refrigerants, and over the next 10 years, the HVACR industry will invest an additional $5 billion for R&D and capital expenditures to develop and commercialise low-GWP technologies,” Yurek stated.

Lauding the efforts by the HVACR and water heating industry in energy conservation and environmental stewardship, he reportedly said that in the late 1980s, the industry supported international efforts to protect the ozone layer by developing non-chlorine-containing refrigerants, and agreeing to an aggressive timetable to phase out ozone depleting chemicals while steadily improving the energy efficiency of its equipment.

He noted that, with no encouragement from government, AHRI and its member companies launched the Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Programme in 2011, the first phase of which was completed at the end of 2013. The second phase of the programme is currently reported to be under way to evaluate different refrigerants in several applications.

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