Drive for green aircon technology gains momentum with upgrade of testing lab
A testing facility for air-conditioners using natural refrigerant technology has opened at the Operation and Standards Centre of the Electrical and Electronics Institute (EEI).
The event is a collaboration between the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the EEI and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The newly upgraded facility, supported by the RAC NAMA Fund, also aims to inform the public and private sectors of the new TIS 1529-2561 standard on the safety of air-conditioners using flammable refrigerants.
As Thailand is an important industrial hub in the global refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector, manufacturers need to be well prepared to adjust to the changing trends and regulations to remain competitive.
Sriwan Buranachokepisal, assistant governor for power plant planning at Egat, said: “Egat’s mission is to maintain security of the electricity system as well as support the Thai government in reaching its energy-saving and greenhouse gas [GHG] mitigation targets. Egat embraces the introduction of innovations and modern cooling technology that is energy efficient and climate friendly. In assuming responsibility for managing the RAC NAMA Fund, with a total budget of 8.3 million euros [Bt300 million], Egat has promoted the production and use of climate-friendly natural refrigerant."
At the same time, they also place great importance on upgrading the testing facilities to prepare for market introduction of these new cooling technologies in the future, she said.
"The partnership with EEI focuses on our efforts to further enhance the existing equipment and system of the current facility to be able to conduct testing according to both Thai and global standards.”
Philipp Pischke, director of the Thailand Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (RAC NAMA) project, GIZ, underscored the important role Thailand plays in the global RAC landscape.
“Thailand hosts one of the largest RAC industries in the world, with approximately 12 per cent of global market share. With more than 60 per cent of electricity consumption, cooling is the largest electricity consuming technology sector. The RAC NAMA project is the country’s most significant climate action in the cooling sector, aiming at the introduction of climate-friendly and energy-efficient cooling technologies," he said.
"For the past four years, RAC NAMA has been working to build up capacities of local manufacturers, stimulate market demand, develop strategies to remove barriers and showcase business cases.
“By 2021, Thailand plans to ratify the Kigali Amendment. Under the Amendment, the Thai government will gradually begin the phase-down of HFCs [hydro-fluorocarbons] and replace them with more environmentally friendly alternatives.” Pischke added.
In his keynote address titled “Roles of the Electrical and Electronics Institute in enhancing competitiveness of the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector towards green industry”, EEI president Narat Rujirat stated: “For the past two decades, EEI has been supporting Thailand’s electrical and electronics industry in increasing its competitiveness in the international trade arena as well as to adjust to the changing technological trends.
"Through this partnership with Egat and GIZ, EEI is proud to play a part in preparing local Thai manufacturers for future technology adoption and legislation, namely the TIS 1529-2561 standard on safety of air-conditioners using flammable refrigerants. We believe the new regulation will open up new business opportunities and research and development while keeping Thailand at the forefront of green cooling technology.”
RAC NAMA is funded by the NAMA Facility on behalf of the German and British governments. Since April 2016, with GIZ as the main implementer, the project has partnered with the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, the Department of Alternative Energy Department and Efficiency and Egat as well as Thai industries to transfer technology and know-how on ozone and climate-friendly technology and financial support to the private sector, as well as in providing policy and technical advice to relevant government agencies.