The National Ozone Unit (NOU) in the Energy Division of the Ministry of Finance continues to promote the use of non-ozone depleting, low Global Warming Potential (GWP), alternatives for the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector in Grenada.

During the first in a series of training workshops organized by the NOU held on Saturday March 12th, at the National Stadium, local technicians were trained in Natural Refrigerant Technology. The technicians were exposed to information in relation to the application of ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons as refrigerants in Grenada.

These natural refrigerants are well known to have the advantages of almost zero ozone depleting and global warming potentials. During the workshop, much of the emphasis was placed on the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants. Hydrocarbon refrigerants have been used extensively in Europe over the last ten years in domestic refrigeration and have the additional advantage of being very energy efficient. This factor makes it most suitable for application in an era when energy cost is relatively high.

During the brief opening ceremony, Project Officer in the National Ozone Unit, Mr. Leslie Smith outlined the importance of the training to the local technicians. Mr. Smith went on to indicate that this is part of Grenada’s global effort to rid the planet of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and to introduce alternatives with low Global Warming Potential (GWP). He urged the participants to make full use of this opportunity as it will equip them with the latest technologies available and allow them to have a competitive advantage as new and emerging technologies are released in the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry.

Sixteen (16) technicians representing various institutions and companies participated in the workshop. The workshop included both theoretical and practical components. During the practical component the technicians gained hands on experience in retrofitting refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing refrigerants with significantly high ozone depleting and global warming potential to hydrocarbon technology. This involved the retrofitting of domestic refrigerators and mobile air condition (MAC) systems.

The training was conducted by two senior local technicians, Mr. Michael Mitchell and Mr. Henry Frederick both of whom have been certified by the NOU to conduct such training. Mr. Fredrick in his presentation indicated to the participants that hydrocarbon refrigerants have been considered by many experts in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector as the refrigerant of the future because of its desirable characteristics, particularly its low ODP, GWP and high energy efficiency. However, he was quick to add there was a safety concern related to the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants since it is a flammable refrigerant.

This training is an integral component of Grenada’s Hydrochlorofluorcarbon (HCFC) Phase out Management Plan (HPMP) which is due to be officially launched in April 2011. Under this plan Grenada is required to phase out 35% of its consumption of HCFC refrigerants by the year 2020.

Training for refrigeration and air-conditioning technicians continues on Saturday March 19th, 2011 at the National Stadium. This training will be conducted in refrigerant 407C and 410 A technologies and will be conducted by an expert from Trinidad and Tobago.