India initiates R&D into next generation HFC refrigerant alternatives

Aimed at finding alternative to current Hafnium Carbide refrigerant, the research initiative of the Ministry will be led by the CSIR’s Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on September 15, 2016 announced an ambitious collaborative R&D programme to develop next generation, sustainable refrigerant technologies as alternatives to Hafnium Carbide (HFCs). This R&D initiative brings together Government, research institutes, industry and civil society to develop long term technology solutions to mitigate impact of currently used refrigerant gases on the ozone layer and climate. With this initiative, India reaffirms its commitment to working with all other nations to safeguard the Earth’s natural ecosystem.

Some of the key players of the initiative include the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its allied institutions; Department of Science and Technology; Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; as well as key industry players in the sector. Members of this initiative have already had multiple rounds of consultation to reach a consensus on the contours and decide on the roadmap for this initiative.

India has a small carbon footprint at citizen level and its sustainable lifestyle results in low contribution of the country to overall emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances, as compared with other developed countries. However, there is an urgent need for developing new technologies indigenously as alternatives available today are patented apart from being expensive. A research based programme to look for cost effective alternatives to the currently used regfrigerant gases is, therefore essential.

The initiative is a significant step forward in line with India’s national focus on research, innovation and technology development and Mission Innovation. The research initiative of the Ministry will be led by the CSIR’s Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad. The MoEF&CC, along with the DST and CSIR has also decided to create a corpus fund for this research programme, with Industry also committing to contribute to the effort.

The collaboration of research institutes as well as industry will create larger ecosystem for developing sustainable solutions, and eventually deploying low global warming potential – GWP HFCs on a national scale. By establishing an effective collaboration between all important stakeholders, the initiative is focused on prioritising areas of research in new refrigerant technologies and natural refrigerants. This shall help the country leapfrog from the current technology high GWP HydroFluoroCarbons or HFCs to technologies with lower climate impact.

The Ministry reiterated that the proposed initiative is an important step in the direction of enabling the country achieve national development goals, while continuing to maintain a sustainable environmental footprint.