Asia Pacific

Thailand Highlights NatRefs As Key to Emissions-Reduction Agenda

Natural refrigerant-based technologies, notably those using propane (R290), are set to play a key role in Thailand’s greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts, according to Varawut Silpa-archa, Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Silpa-archa made this point at a meeting titled “Green Cooling Revolution: RAC NAMA Fund and the Future of Thai Industry” held February 17, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Silpa-archa said the use of natural refrigerants like R290 in split-type air-conditioners, household refrigerators, commercial refrigerators, and chillers would be needed to achieve Thailand’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% to 25% compared to business as usual by 2030.

“The Government of Thailand is therefore placing great emphasis on the promotion of energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling technologies due to their ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) while strongly promoting new business opportunities, R&D, and knowledge transfer,” said Silpa-archa.

The goal of the event was to “hail the achievements of the RAC NAMA Fund in initiating a transformation in the Thai refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector towards the use of climate-friendly and energy-efficient cooling technologies with natural refrigerants,” according to a statement released by EGAT (Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand) and GIZ Thailand.

The RAC NAMA (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) project provides financial, technology and policy support to Thailand’s refrigeration and air conditioning industry; the RAC NAMA Fund is the main financial instrument for the project.

The RAC NAMA project is being implemented by GIZ, Germany’s international cooperation agency, in partnership with the Thai Government, represented by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE). The NAMA Facility, a joint initiative of Germany and the U.K., commissioned the project to GIZ, in 2016; it runs until March 2021.

The total amount of the RAC NAMA Fund is 8.3 million Euro (approximately 300 million Baht or US$10.6 million). It has resulted in nine Thailand-based OEMs using natural refrigerants in their production processes, eight training centers being established nationwide and 150 trainers being trained. The fund is hosted by EGAT.

“Approximately 100,000 green cooling products are expected to be on the Thai market this year, [and] this number is projected to increase to 50% of market share in the next three years,” said Thepparat Theppitak, Deputy Governor – Power Plant Development and Renewable Energy, EGAT. By 2030, according to EGAT, 3.5TWh per year of energy use will be saved and 1.75 Mt of CO2 emissions will be reduced.

The collaboration between Thailand and Germany was noted at the meeting. “For more than 10 years, Thailand and Germany have worked together on various climate and environment issues, notably in the cooling industry where Thailand is an important manufacturing and export hub of RAC equipment,” said Georg Schmidt, German Ambassador to Thailand. “Today, Germany is proud to have played a part in the transition towards the adoption of green cooling technologies. The experience and knowledge gained from the implementation of the RAC NAMA Fund should be extended to other countries.”

“The achievements of the RAC NAMA Fund clearly demonstrate a strong commitment of the Thai Government in reaching the national climate targets,” added Margaret Lee Tongue, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission for the British Embassy.

For more about the RAC NAMA project and how it is kick-starting Thailand’s transition towards the use of natural refrigerants, see the November-December edition of Accelerate Magazine here.