Samoa's in ozone friendly switch
Samoa is moving towards becoming ozone-friendly with the introduction of new environmentally friendly refrigeration chemicals, the President of the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Association of Samoa, Niulevaea Ropati Tyrell says.
A refrigerant is a substance or mixture, usually a fluid, used in a heat pump and refrigeration cycle.
According to Niulevaea, Samoa is ahead of ozone depletion substances with refrigerants such as R12 and R22 already phased out.
The switch to alternatives has led to a three-day training conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Association of Samoa which was attended by technicians from private companies, sole traders, in-house technicians for Banks and Government Ministries.
In addressing the phase-out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, Samoa along with other Parties to the Montreal Protocol are being called to leapfrog into longer-term non-ozone-depleting Substances, energy-efficient and climate-friendly alternatives.
The training is made possible with financial assistance under the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol through the United Nations Environment Program (U.N.E.P) to build the capacity of local technicians to handle flammable refrigerants.
Niulevaea stated that the training aims to build the capacity of technicians and practice on servicing hydrocarbon-based equipment and for health and safety procedures while handling flammable refrigerants and also promote the protection of the ozone layer in Samoa and to allow the refrigeration and air conditioning industry to transition to the hydrochlorofluorocarbon alternatives effectively.
He explained that one alternative, R600 will be coming into Samoa but training is needed because according to Niulevaea, R600a is very dangerous to handle.
Hydrocarbon refrigerants that are flammable are now used in refrigerators such as R600a and R290 in air conditioning units.
Samoa aims to ensure that services are carried out using the best refrigeration and air conditioning practices to avoid accidents, promote health and safety of technicians and the general public as well as protecting the environment.
"These new ones are ozone friendly and contribute a little bit to global warming but it is dangerous to the people because it is flammable," he said.
"That is why we need to train these people, for their safety."
"The new gases like 410 and R134a, those are the ones that are ozone friendly but contribute more to global warming and that's why the scientists bring in the 600 because it is ozone friendly and contributes little to global warming," he said.
"But it is dangerous for the people because it is a flammable refrigerant so that is why we need to educate and train those technicians in the way they can protect not only for the environment but for the people for their protection," he said.
He explained that Samoa is almost ozone-friendly now and estimated that by 2030 Samoa will be completely ozone-friendly with the refrigerants being used.