An aerial view of Amman, Jordan. Jordan recently released its National Cooling Strategy.
An aerial view of Amman, Jordan. Photo credit: Wirestock Creators for Shutterstock.

Jordan’s National Cooling Strategy Calls for Natural Refrigerants Transition in RAC Sector

The NCS cites rising emissions and the environmental threat posed by PFAS and TFA in advocating for the transition to naturals.

Jordan’s Ministry of Environment (MOE) has released its National Cooling Strategy (NCS), which calls for the country to transition to natural refrigerants as part of a three-pronged approach to achieve sustainable cooling that also includes reducing cooling demand and enhancing appliance energy efficiency.

A larger role: The NCS advocates for natural refrigerants in the refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) sector specifically, noting that Jordan’s current environmental “documents and policies” place “little explicit focus” on the RAC sector and make no mention of natural refrigerants.

  • The NCS does not give targets or timelines, focusing instead on suggested policy instruments that could be used to facilitate the transition to natural refrigerants in RAC.
  • These include financial incentives for households and commercial consumers such as grants, subsidies and low-interest loans, along with import levies on RAC equipment using high-GWP refrigerants.
  • The NCS also suggests awareness campaigns to promote the benefits of natural refrigerants, such as conducting a pilot project at a public building.

Reducing emissions: In its business as usual (BAU) scenario, the MOE forecasts that direct emissions from the RAC sector will increase by a factor of 1.4 until 2050. Its modeling predicts that direct emissions will increase from 42% of all RAC emissions in 2030 to 47% by 2050. 

  • The biggest jumps will come from residential air-conditioning (9% to 17%) and mobile AC (5% to 10%), with the increases driven by a growing demand for home air-conditioners and a rising percentage of cars sold that are equipped with AC, respectively. Direct emissions in commercial refrigeration are expected to decline (from 15% to 12%) due to a switch to lower-GWP f-gases.
  • “Transitioning from ozone depleting gases and HFCs towards natural refrigerants will be crucial in counteracting the expected increase in direct emissions from the RAC sector,” the NCS said.

PFAS and TFA: The NCS cited “increased contamination with toxic/persistent per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and trifluoroacetic acid (TFA)” as another reason to transition the RAC sector to natural refrigerants. PFAS are also known as “forever chemicals” due to their strong persistence in the environment. TFA is widely considered to be a type of PFAS and is formed during the atmospheric decomposition of HFO-1234yf and many other types of f-gases. 

  • The NCS noted that, in January 2023, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden sent a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) asking to restrict PFAS under the EU’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation. 
  • “The inclusion in the potential banned list [in the ECHA proposal] of the refrigerants R125, R134a, R143a and the HFOs R1234yf and R1234ze(E) affects virtually all HFC/HFO refrigerant blends,” the NCS said.
  • Regarding TFA, the NCS wrote that it “is reported to have ecotoxicological effects on (aquatic) organisms and will steadily accumulate in the biosphere due to the current extent of use in cooling, specifically in mobile AC but also increasingly in stationary systems.”

Related reading: NGO BUND Finds TFA in Drinking Water in German Cities and Brussels

First in the Middle East: Natural refrigerants do not factor into the RAC sector in Jordan today, but the country did make history in 2018 when the Al-Salam military supermarket in Amman became the Middle East’s first food retailer to install a transcritical CO2 (R744) refrigeration system.

  • The change in refrigerant from R22 to CO2 reduced the supermarket’s direct CO2e emissions by 35.2 metric tons annually.
  • The transcritical CO2 system also cut energy consumption by 40,000kWh per year, and its increased efficiency dropped annual indirect CO2e emissions by 32 metric tons.

Quotable: “To mitigate the negative impacts of conventional cooling technologies, an accelerated transition to efficient technologies using natural refrigerants is essential,” the NCS said.

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