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Promoting Low-GWP Refrigerants through Public Procurement

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September 2017 |

Citation: Lekha Sridhar, and Shikha Bhasin (2017) ‘Promoting Low-GWP Refrigerants through Public Procurement’ September

 

Overview

India is set to transition away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2028, in compliance with its commitments under the the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It has become vital to create and encourage a marketplace for low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants right now so that they will be widely available by the time India’s transition schedule begins. Early transition to low-GWP refrigerants will also bring associated benefits of climate mitigation and energy-efficiency improvements in some applications.

Public procurement can be an important tool in enabling this transition, as it would help bring down the cost of currently expensive technologies that use low-GWP refrigerants. This policy brief highlights the role of public procurement and its importance in promoting climate-friendly refrigerants in the public sector in India, particularly through the example of low-GWP refrigerant ACs.

Source: Pixabay

Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a way to encourage the use of environment-friendly technologies such that there is growing awareness of, and familiarity with, the said technology. GPP encourages the sale of less known or more expensive environment-friendly options, and it also supports greater innovation by providing incentives, and signals, to industry at large. Life-cycle cost assessment is considered to be the most thorough method of assessment for GPP. However, it can be technically challenging to implement given the complexities of the multiple tiers of assessment. This brief makes recommendations for climate-friendly procurement policies that may be less technically cumbersome to implement in India.

Green Public Procurement can kick-start growth in the low-GWP AC market in India.

Key Recommendations

  • Specify the type of refrigerant in the system that will be open for bids. For example, all split ACs that are procured could limit the bids to R-32- or R-290-based refrigerants only (that meet the requisite national standards).
  • Specify a maximum GWP level for refrigerants used in the AC system. In such cases, the manufacturer would be free to use any refrigerant or blend as long as it meets the prescribed GWP criteria.
  • Mandate the manufacturer to take back old AC equipment at the end-of-life and ensure that disposal of the equipment includes recovery (and/or destruction) of the refrigerants.
  • Ensure that bid criteria includes good service practices as developed by the Ozone Cell of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
  • Promote a preferential policy for goods that meet environmental criteria. Bids that meet such criteria would be favoured above the lowest bids, within a margin of 10- 20% of the lowest bid amount.

Green Public Procurement can kick-start growth in the low-GWP AC market. While there are important issues to consider like the additional cost to the exchequer or the relative unpreparedness of the vendors in complying with such policies, the benefits that India stands to gain are immense. Apart from the climate-change and energy-efficiency benefits, such a programme could also drive innovation in green technologies.

Cans of freshly-bottled refrigerant

Cans of freshly-bottled refrigerant (Source: CEEW)

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Can India’s Air Conditioning Service Sector Turn Climate Friendly?Evaluating the Skill Gap

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September 2017 |

Citation: Lekha Sridhar, and Vaibhav Chaturvedi (2017) ‘Can India’s Air Conditioning Service Sector Turn Climate Friendly?: Evaluating the Skill Gap’, September

 

Overview

The air-conditioning service sector in India plays an extremely important role in the upcoming phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the country. This study examines the present state of the AC service sector in India and assesses the level of skill and knowledge of the technicians about Good Service Practices (GSPs) to reduce refrigerant leakages. Based on a primary survey of 642 technicians in the residential, mobile, and commercial air-conditioning sectors (known as the RAC, MAC and CAC sectors, respectively) in New Delhi, Jaipur, and Madurai, it aims to address the growing skill gap in the sector.

With the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in October 2016, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) will have to be phased down from all sectors in India from 2028 onwards. At the same time, the air-conditioning sector in India is expected to grow massively in the coming years. The cumulative global warming impact of HFC emissions on India’s total carbon dioxide and HFC emissions between 2015 and 2050 is estimated to be 3.9 per cent in a business-as-usual scenario.

The AC service sector is estimated to account for as much as 40 per cent of all refrigerant consumption in the country. Reducing demand from this sector by increasing adherence to GSPs—that is, servicing and installation practices that are vital for the safe, reliable, and climate-friendly operation of the system—is key to addressing the issue of cutting HFC emissions.

Source: Pixabay

The AC service sector is estimated to account for as much as 40 per cent of all refrigerant consumption in India.

Key Findings

  • Around 36 per cent of all respondents across all sectors reported having received AC-specific training. More than half the technicians in the formal sector in all three sectors had received AC training, while only about a quarter of the technicians in the informal sector had received AC training.
  • Around 10 per cent of RAC and 16 per cent of CAC technicians who have received servicing training are not adhering to GSPs.
  • Across all three sectors, more formal enterprises own recovery equipment than informal enterprises, with the most prominent disparity being observed in the MAC sector.
  • The number of technicians who have reported that they recover refrigerant during servicing are considerably less than those who own recovery units, suggesting that the lack of equipment may not be the sole reason for not recovering refrigerants. Other factors like the time required or the relative effort required for recovery could also be acting as disincentives.

Percentage of trained technicians in the formal and informal sectors

Source: CEEW Analysis 2017

  • Respondents perceived customer awareness of GSPs to be low, in addition to customers displaying price sensitivity and demanding or requiring short turnaround time for servicing.
  • Knowledge about the environmental impacts of refrigerants, new alternative refrigerants, and practices like reclamation was low among the respondents across all sectors.
  • However, more than half the respondents were aware of the energy efficiency gains emanating from GSPs, flammability concerns associated with some refrigerants, and recycling of refrigerants.
  • In all three sectors, regression analysis showed that a technician with AC servicing training was more likely to have good knowledge about GSPs and related information. Other factors like customer knowledge and ownership of tools had limited impact.
  • Some GSPs like leak testing of ACs were universally followed whereas other practices like recovery were followed by less than half the respondents.
  • While the formal sector showed greater adherence to some of the practices, the overall performance of the formal sector was not significantly ahead of the performance of the informal sector, despite greater access to training and equipment.

Percentage of technicians who follow GSPs in each sector

Source: CEEW Analysis 2017

Key Recommendations

  • Standardise training and ensure that AC training programmes across the country meet minimum criteria.
  • Raise awareness about GSPs and proper servicing techniques, especially among customers. Manufacturers could also raise awareness of proper installation and servicing practices when customers purchase ACs/cars and highlight the possibility of increased electricity/fuel consumption due to faulty installation/servicing.
  • Incentivise customers to use service centres that adhere to GSPs by including servicing costs in the price of the AC or by offering the same at discounted rates.
  • Nudge manufacturing companies to conduct regular training and re-training sessions for their employees to ensure that their skills remain up to date.

Cans of reclaimed refrigerants (Shikha Bhasin/CEEW)

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Technology Horizons

The Council’s research on technology horizons focuses on mainstreaming appropriate global and indigenous technologies to achieve sustainable economic growth. Our work includes designing technology partnerships on energy access and decentralised energy, evaluating energy storage technologies and emerging application areas, assessing challenges related to electric vehicles adoption in India, and a techno-economic assessment of biomass pellets for power generation.

Comment

Phasing Down Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCS)

The Council is among the pioneering institutions to begin India-focused research on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons [MS1] (HFCs). HFCs are far more potent as greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. Over the years, The Council has pioneered business engagement and extensive analytics on HFCs in India. Our research includes a business case for phasing down HFCs, modelling India’s long-term HFC emissions, estimating costs of leapfrogging away from HFCs, understanding servicing sector challenges, and examining regulatory approaches and incentive schemes to encourage a faster transition away from HFCs. In 2016, The Council was privileged to support the successful and historic conclusion of many years of negotiations to phase down HFCs.

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Climate Geoengineering Governance

The Council has led and participated in some of India's first forays in global discussions related to climate geoengineering governance. Climate geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale intervention in Earth’s climate system, to limit adverse global warming. How would geoengineering technologies impact rainfall, the hydrological cycle, tropical forests, the ozone layer, or the oceans? Could geoengineering reduce incentives to take necessary action on climate mitigation? Once developed, would the temptations to deploy be too strong to resist? Who bears responsibility for trans-border and inter-generational impacts? Our research on climate geoengineering governance examines some of these key issues. Since 2011, The Council has held three international conferences to identify India’s role in developing regional and global governance of climate geoengineering research and technologies.

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Technology, Finance & Trade

Technology, Finance & Trade

The Technology, Finance, and Trade team focuses on enabling the global economic architecture to support sustainable development. The team examines the governance of emerging technologies, supports technological partnerships between India and other countries, analyses barriers and incentives for desired technology futures, and designs climate-friendly mechanisms for international trade and commerce.

  • 123 Mt

    (in 2010–11) surplus biomass availability enough to substitute 25% of current coal consumption in the power sector (through co-firing of coal with biomass pellets).
    Source: CEEW analysis 2016
  • 64%

    could be the cut in HFC emissions if India’s Montreal Protocol proposal is followed
    Source: CEEW analysis 2015-16
  • 36%

    of AC technicians have received training in ac servicing
    Source: CEEW analysis 2017
  • I would like to appreciate CEEW’s efforts for the commendable analysis they have done on India’s long-term HFC emissions. I hope that more civil society organisations in India bring out such independent research.

    Shri Susheel Kumar

    Secretary (BM), Ministry of Home Affairs and former Special Secretary, MoEFCC

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The Kigali Breakthrough

HFC Phase-Down Will Be Climate Win For India

Developing an Ecosystem to Phase Out HFCs in IndiaEstablishing a Research and Development Platform

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September 2017 | ,

Citation: Shikha Bhasin, Lekha Sridhar, and Vaibhav Chaturvedi (2017) 'Developing an Ecosystem to Phase Out HFCs in India: Establishing a Research and Development Platform', October

 

Overview

Within the ambit of the Montreal Protocol, India drew immense attention to address technological and systemic gaps to build the required ecosystem for phasing out HFCs in India. The Government of India’s national initiative of a collaborative research and development programme aims to create an ecosystem that allows industries, and the country, to move along a pathway that is climate friendly and resource efficient, without impeding economic growth or constraining economic interests.

Building on our previous research on HFCs that identified the need for R&D as well as the Government of India’s ambitious targets for a transition to low-GWP refrigerants, this report highlights the relevance of, and presents an institutional design for a dedicated multi-stakeholder R&D platform to address India’s domestic concerns and to meet its international commitments for the phasing out of HFCs. The report was released by Mr Gyanesh Bharti, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and Mr Amit Love, Joint Director, Ozone Cell during the ‘Roundtable on Phasing Down HFCs in India: Building an R&D Ecosystem and Addressing Servicing Sector Challenges’, organised by The Council and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation on 3 October 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

Source: Pixabay

The primary objective of the Platform would be to facilitate the phase-out of HFCs in India by supporting R&D and the adoption of alternatives. Its mission would be to facilitate technical R&D for India and build the larger “innovation ecosystem” that is required by recommending standards, application testing, consumer-incentive programmes, and similar supporting aspects for low-GWP HFC alternatives. This would be achieved through active engagement with all relevant stakeholders as members of the RDP. The Platform would be a one-stop authority for all matters related to HFC alternatives and the requirements for replacing HFCs in India, with the following activities being undertaken collaboratively:

  • Facilitating basic research.
  • Facilitating and encouraging applied research.
  • Facilitating technology testing facilities.
  • Recommending standards for usage, performance, and safety.
  • Recommending policies for market integration and low-GWP refrigerant usage.
  • Suggesting consumer-based programmes.
  • Functioning as a knowledge and information clearing house.
  • Encouraging stakeholder interactions.
  • Supporting linkages between industry, R&D institutions, and policy makers.
  • Recommending skill development and training programmes, and.
  • Any other related programme or aspect deemed necessary for the adoption of low-GWP refrigerants in place of HFCs.
This report highlights the relevance of, and presents an institutional design for a dedicated multi-stakeholder R&D platform to address India’s commitment for phasing out of HFCs.

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