Kingali Amendment: The impact on China’s refrigeration industry 12-07-2017

To meet the surging demand of refrigerants while fit to the guideline of the Kingali Amendment, China’s producers have to speed up the R&D in new safe and greener refrigerants. The largest producing and consuming country of these chemicals has a tough time to stick to the goals.


The Kingali Amendment is part of the Montreal Protocol, which guides the international community to fight against climate change. The new amendment will come into effect on January 1, 2019, since with the ratification of Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago, 21 parties, including China, have ratified the Montreal Protocol so far. 20 parties were the minimum to get the amendment into effect.


The Kigali Amendment was agreed on back in October 2016 by the 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol, in order to reduce global production as well as consumption of harmful HFCs.

According to the deal in the amendment, the world economies are divided into three categories, each with a personalized target for the phasedown date. The richest and most developed countries, like the USA or European states, are urged to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs from 2019 ongoing. The other groups are mainly divided by the temperature situation and the resulting need for effective refrigerants like HFCs. Hence, developing countries with lower temperatures, like China, and Brazil, will cut the use of HFCs by 2024. Desert states and other “hot” countries like Bahrain, India, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates will start their consumption quit by 2028.

Furthermore, developing countries also have the chance to receive funding from the Multilateral Fund to facilitate compliance with the Protocol’s provisions.

With the Kigali Amendment, manufacturers of refrigerants are now urged to start researching and producing alternative substitutes that are less harmful to the climate. This has a significant effect on China, which is the largest producer and consumer of HFCs worldwide with a technology still lacking behind international competition.

HFC situation in China

At present, China is the largest country in consumption as well as production and export of HCFCs and HFCs. Hence, the elimination of these chemicals is a mammoth task for the country, which manufacturers are still lacking behind international competitors when it comes to the research and development of new and safe refrigerants.


The main fluorine refrigerants in China are HCFC-22, HFC-134a, HFC-32, HFC-125, and HFC-410a. Of them, the first one is by far the major refrigerant used, according to market intelligence firm CCM.


The middle kingdom has already eliminated CFCs back in the year 2007, which was even three years ahead of the deadline stated in the Montreal Protocol. It stays to be expected if the country can show the same pace and progress in the elimination of fluorohydrocarbons in the coming years ahead.


The significant demand growth for automobiles and household appliances, however, adds pressure on the industry, as more refrigerants as upstream material are needed. To meet the surging demand but fit to the goals of the Montreal Protocol and Kingali Amendment, China’s producers have to speed up the R&D in new safety refrigerants.


The effect of the Amendment on China

 CCM thinks the Kigali Amendment will positively influence China’s refrigeration industry, accelerating the application of safer, greener and more efficient refrigerants, which is urgently needed.


Improvements in efficiency would also bring many other advantages, including reduced air pollution and improved public health in the middle kingdom, whose big cities are suffering part of the world’s worst air pollution. Consumers also would save money since energy use typically makes up 90% more of the lifecycle impacts of an air conditioner.


In China, moving to climate-friendly refrigerants, and boosting the energy efficiency of cooling technologies could save as much energy as would be produced by eight Three Gorges hydroelectric dams.


The latest refrigerants, which represent a considerable alternative to HFCs, now coming onto the market are hydrofluoro olefin (HFO) refrigerants. These have the characteristics of low toxicity, zero ozone depletion potential, low GWP and similar pressures to HFC 134a.


Though China remains the world's largest contributor to global emissions, Beijing is adding non-fossil fuel electricity generation capacity at a furious pace. Combining this with the impressive growth of the largest market for AEVs in the world, the government shows its commitment to cleaner economy and hence an improvement of refrigerants, promoted by officials, is likely happening in the country soon.


The reason for the ban on HFC

HFCs are artificial chemicals that are primarily used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation. They have become infamous for being powerful greenhouse gases that can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change and ozone layer destroyers.


Coolants and fridges were discovered to be very toxic about 100 years ago, causing severe health complications to humans and the ozone layer. The ozone layer is the natural shield against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which can cause severe health risks such as skins cancers. This damage to the ozone layer prompted governments to moot an environmental agreement to govern the production and use of harmful substances that damage the ozone.


Their global warming effect is up to 15,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. The use of HFCs use is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.


About CCM

CCM is China’s market intelligence form for the industries of agriculture, chemicals, and food & feed.


If this information was useful to you, why not have a look at the newly published report Survey of Fluorohydrocarbon in China. It gives the whole insights of the HFC market in China and an outlook for the future development.


For regular news on China’s fluoride market, including market news, company dynamics, policy changes, and other newsworthy information, CCM publishes a monthly newsletter, which can be accessed here.

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