Fund to help push for cleaner fridges

2 Apr 2018 at 06:32

NEWSPAPER SECTION: NEWS | WRITER: JAN-DAVID FRANKE

The German, British and Thai governments have joined forces to make refrigerators and air-conditioners more environmentally friendly.

A 320-million-baht climate fund has been set up in which the British and German governments will contribute. It is called the Refrigerator and Air Coolant Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (RAC-NAMA).

The four-year programme will be managed by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) with an aim to help local manufacturers switch to cleaner technology and create market demand for environment-friendly products. Despite the fund coming from foreign donors, the Thai authorities have been given significant freedom in allocating budgets in the way they see fit.

“They naturally are best equipped to understand and address the needs of both national RAC industry and climate policy,” Philipp Pischke, the fund’s acting project manager, told a news conference during the opening of the project last week.

A sum of 120 million baht will go to manufacturers of refrigerators and coolant products to make the transition to using environmentally friendly technologies. This will include innovations leading to the use of natural refrigerants in place of polluting coolants, especially hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are highly potent greenhouse gases causing an increase in global warming, and ozone-layer destroying hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) gases.

The fund will also help local manufacturers develop innovative energy-efficient products with smart designs and gear Thailand up for the next generation of refrigerators by cooperating with agencies to define safety standards and manufacturing codes in line with international best practices, Mr Pischke said. Another 200 million baht will be spent on creating market demand for environmentally-friendly air-conditioning products by offering incentives aimed at boosting demand for greener products, he added.

Thailand is known as one of the major global exporters of refrigerators and air-coolants with about 7% of refrigerators and air-conditioning products in the world being produced in the country. Almost 2% of the total demand for these products comes from within Thailand. Currently, 20% of Thailand’s greenhouse gas emissions and 50% of its electricity consumption stem from cooling technologies and the demand is projected to more than double by 2030. By promoting natural refrigerants for energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling technologies, the project aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the Thai RAC sector.

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