Patana Intercool, a Thailand-based manufacturer and exporter of commercial refrigerators and display cases for supermarkets, convenience stores, cafes and restaurants, aims to completely phase out of freon and replace it with propane (R290) by 2025.
That was the word from Ekkapong Tangsirimanakul, Managing Director of Patana Intercool during a tour of the company’s headquarters and main production facility in Pathum Thani province, about an hour’s drive north of central Bangkok, on Febraury 17.
Immediately following the RAC NAMA (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) Fund event, held on the same day, media participants were invited on an exclusive on-site tour of Patana’s facility, where Tangsirimanakul gave a presentation on the company’s R290 plans, its participation in the RAC NAMA initiative, its environmental sustainability and its business goals.
The RAC NAMA 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.
“Three years ago, we already completed our transition to using cyclopentane (a foam blowing agent used for refrigerator insulation that is a low-GWP alternative to HFCs) in the production process,” said Tangsirimanakul. “Now we are in the process of moving to our new initiative which is to completely convert the refrigerants we use to R290 by 2025.”
Patana is one of the nine Thai manufacturers participating in the RAC NAMA initiative. The company received market-introduction support to help stimulate sales of the equipment.
During the tour, Patana presented the section of its mini-showcase production line where R290 charging and testing equipment is installed. Today, Tangsirimanakul said the company has begun offering R290 mini-showcases, bottle coolers, stainless steel refrigerators and cake showcases. “A few more pieces of R290 equipment for our production line are still on the way as we are aiming to expand our R290 production capacity,” said Tangsirimanakul.
Education and awareness raising are also important aspects of the company’s adoption of R290, said Tangsirimanakul. “Right now, we are also working on educating our staff, technicians and clients so that they can understand the situation right now with respect to global warming and how we can mitigate it with the use of R290 refrigerant,” said Tangsirimanakul. “If you are opening a supermarket or coffee shop, you should think about your CO2emissions and how you can reduce it by choosing the right equipment using natural [refrigerants].”
While the company is targeting the domestic Thai market, Tangsirimanakul said that it is also aiming to introduce its R290 equipment to its export markets in Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East in the near future.