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NEPA to work with 15 companies on phase out of harmful refrigerants

Published:Friday | August 14, 2015 | 12:58 PM

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says 15 companies in the refrigeration sector have been identified for assistance to fully phase-out the use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), a goal it expects to reach in 24 years.

That plan will build on the accomplishments of Seal Sprayed Solutions Limited, a foam manufacturing company that took three years to complete its phase-out programme, and was compensated for the conversion last week.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a family of chemical compounds used or purposes of refrigeration and spray can propellants, have already been phased out, but HCFCs have replaced them in some cases.

Like the chlorine from CFCs, HCFCs can damage the ozone layer, which the earth relies on as a shield from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

Project manager and head of NEPA's Ozone Unit, Nicol Walker, says in the refrigeration servicing sector, 15 companies are on record as importing HCFCs and were assigned HCFC import quotas implemented in 2013.

These companies are to phase out HCFCs by December 2039, in line with the global time line. The phase-out is regulated under Trade Order 2014.

Locally, the HCFC phase-out plan, which is being implemented by NEPA, is being pursued with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and financial backing under the Mulilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion.

Seal Sprayed Solutions was the only Jamaican company identified through a survey as using HCFCs in the foam-manufacturing sector.

On August 12, the company received $545,750 from NEPA-funded from project funds as reimbursement for its purchase of an ozone and climate-friendly alternative to HCFCs.

Seal Sprayed worked with international experts, who provided training and other support, and its equipment was retrofitted for methylformate as alternative to the HCFCs. The company also got one year's compensation for the increased operational costs incurred as a result of the conversion.

Walker told Wednesday Business that the UNDP component of the phase out plan is funded at US$578,450 for stage one implementation in the refrigeration servicing sector, which deals with refrigerators and air-conditioning units in homes and businesses.

Disbursements to Jamaica started in 2011 and will go up to 2020, with Walker noting that the funds provided are adequate for the job up to stage one.

However, more money will be needed for a second stage, which will involve replacement and retrofitting of equipment within the refrigeration sector. The latter budget is also still under review, Walker said.

The 15 companies are:

Jamaica Public Service Company Limited
Tropical Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Company Limited
Modern Refrigeration Limited
Appliance Traders Limited
Acon Supplies
Arel Limited
BJ Hanna and Sons Limited
CAC 2000 Limited
Troy Traders Limited
Carlisa Enterprises
Comfort Systems Limited
Donald Witter Limited
Geddes Refrigeration
IGL Limited
Modern Refrigeration Limited
Quality Distributors and Manufacturing Limited.