New GIZ guideline on how to convert fridge production plants to hydrocarbons

New GIZ guideline on how to convert fridge production plants to hydrocarbons

This last article on the series of recent publications by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) focuses on the “Production conversion of domestic refrigerators from halogenated to hydrocarbon refrigerants – A Guideline”.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), GIZ has published this guideline document that aims to provide a general idea of the segments and key considerations involved when planning a conversion from an existing production system of domestic refrigerators to one that uses hydrocarbons, such as isobutane (R600a) or propane (R290).

The guidelines take a holistic approach to the conversion process, discussing five key areas involved in the conversion, namely:

  • Production equipment that involves installation, maintenance and safety
  • Product that involves refrigerator redesign and testing
  • Process, in terms of operator training and safety
  • Product support and technician training
  • Marketing and customer education

Considerations for conversion

After discussing the marketing of hydrocarbon appliances as well as the barriers to converting production plants to hydrocarbons, the guidelines go over the considerations for conversion including:

  • Unit design
  • Foam production
  • Production line
  • Changes in the product components
  • Training and after-sales servicing

A case study from an SME in Swaziland

The document focuses on the important aspects that small- to medium-size manufacturers need to consider and also provides a case study example of a manufacturer that has converted its production line to hydrocarbons in Swaziland, including practical issues, the problems and setbacks and the eventual benefits associated with the successful implementation of the conversion.

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