Hydrocarbons gain favour in Africa

Hydrocarbons gain favour in Africa

With African countries embarking on ambitious plans to phase out HCFCs, hydrocarbons are gradually gaining favour as a viable refrigerant alternative. Following the June 2011 UNEP meeting of North and West African Montreal Protocol coordinators, the Mali representative highlights the potential for hydrocarbons, whilst a hydrocarbon instructors training workshop is launched in Benin.

On 27-30 June 2011 a thematic workshop on compliance with CFC phase out and preparation of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase out Management Plans (HPMP) in French speaking North and West Africa took place in the capital city of Mali at the initiative of the UNEP Ozone Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP).

Hydrocarbons represent great promise for Africa

In an interview following the UNEP Meeting with the “Journal du Mali”, Dr Modibo Sacko, Coordinator for Montreal Protocol implementation in Mali spoke very highly of the potential for hydrocarbon refrigeration in Africa, and in particular, of the efficiencies achieved when using hydrocarbon refrigerants. Referring to hydrocarbons as a “new technology” with no harmful ozone of climatic effects, according to Dr Sacko a cost-efficiency study has shown energy savings of 40% for hydrocarbon refrigeration. Hydrocarbons, he says, lead to cost savings, in addition to speeding up the cooling process. In Dr Sacko’s view, hydrocarbons represent an environmentally sound technology with benefits for the consumer.

African hydrocarbon training workshops

On 15 June 2011 teaching workshops for instructors for air conditioning conversion technician training were inaugurated in the African country of Benin. The aim of the teaching workshops is to reduce the use of HCFCs by 10% in 2015, 30% in 2020, and 67,7% in 2025 and 100% in 2030.

According to Jeremy Bazye, UNEP OzonAction regional coordinator these workshops will enable participants to gain essential tools and information for the safe handling of hydrocarbon refrigerants. More specifically, the workshops will provide training on the safe storage and transportation of hydrocarbons, the necessary changes to be made before air conditioning systems are switched to hydrocarbons, refrigerant recovery, and air conditioning charge procedures for hydrocarbons.

Workshop participants came from Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia.

African Hydrocarbon projects

Other African projects involving hydrocarbons include a pilot project in Swaziland to convert blowing agents in manufacturing to hydrocarbon gases. This was the first demonstration of hydrocarbon technology in Southern Africa, and in addition to cutting direct F-gas emissions by up to 29,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, strengthened local manufacturer Palfridge’s market position.

African Anglophone Ozone Officers meeting

Prior to the Francophone Mali workshop a four-day meeting of the Anglophone countries took place in the Seychelles, bringing together representatives from 23 African countries, to discuss opportunities for enhancing South-South cooperation and technology options for avoiding the use of HCFCs. Reviewing progress on fulfilling their obligations under the Protocol, the meeting highlighted the major milestones already accomplished by many African nations.

“Collective action by African countries to address the ozone layer depletion when they have contributed the least in causing that problem is iconic,” said Rajendra Shende, Head of UNEP’s OzonAction Programme.


The OzonAction Porgramme provides capacity-building services to empower National Ozone units (NOUs) and includes training, regional networking and an information clearing-house. To provide direct assistance to countries, a Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) was launched with regional CAP teams part of each of the UNEP regional Offices. The Africa CAP teams provide assistance to the two main networks of Ozone officers from Anglophone Africa and Francophone Africa.

Under the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund nearly $175 million (€123 million) will be provided to countries across Africa for 1200 projects. However, this is only 10% of the funds received by all developing countries.

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