Move facilitates global conversion to HFC-32 for air conditioning, cooling and heat pump equipment, company says
Daikin Industries, Ltd, the air conditioner and refrigerant manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan, has announced through a press communiqué that it is offering companies worldwide free access to 93 patents, to encourage companies to develop and commercialise air conditioning, cooling and heat pump equipment that use HFC-32 as a single component refrigerant. Daikin’s action is aimed at encouraging manufacturers worldwide to adopt sustainable comfort cooling and heating technologies that use HFC-32, a refrigerant with a lower global-warming impact than commonly used refrigerants.
According to Daikin, HFC-32 (difluoromethane) is a next-generation refrigerant that addresses a range of environmental considerations in a balanced manner. It is a non-ozone-depleting substance, is energy efficient, affordable, is easier to recycle, and has a global-warming potential (GWP) that is one-third of that of R-410A, the most commonly used refrigerant, the company added. Daikin believes that these advantages make it the most balanced and promising next-generation refrigerant solution to reduce the environmental footprint of residential and commercial air conditioning, cooling and heat pump equipment.
The avoided carbon emission benefits of a transition to HFC-32 would be very significant, Daikin said. If all presently used R-410A refrigerant is replaced by HFC-32, the total CO2 equivalent impact of HFCs could be reduced by up to 24% in 2030, compared to business-as-usual scenarios, Daikin added.
“Daikin has been offering free access to these patents in emerging markets since 2011 to accelerate the phase-out of ozone-depleting refrigerants, such as HCFC-22,” said Shinya Okada, Daikin’s Senior Executive Officer. “Given the urgent need to address climate change, Daikin believes that this is the right time to extend free access to certain HFC-32 equipment patents to manufacturers worldwide.”
There is no patent that covers the HFC-32 chemical itself, and it is readily available from suppliers other than Daikin. This free access to certain patents allows manufacturers to utilise Daikin’s technologies for air conditioning, cooling and heat pump equipment using HFC-32 single component refrigerant and encourages the global industry to grow responsibly as well as meet rising demand.
Conversion from high-GWP refrigerants is already under way. Last year, the European Union enacted the revised F-gas regulation* to reduce the global-warming impact of refrigerants. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of revising its regulations that establish acceptable alternatives for ozone-depleting and high-GWP refrigerants. In addition, Japan’s Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons, which came into force in April 2015, encourages conversion from high-GWP refrigerants.
“Sharing environmentally beneficial air conditioning technologies without royalty payments can speed up environmental gains at a time when fast action is essential for climate protection,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “Free access to patented technologies sets a powerful precedent for other companies aiming to be environmental champions.”
Companies interested in obtaining access to these patents should contact Daikin Legal, the company said through the communiqué.
*EU Regulation 517/2014 of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases