UNIDO representatives handing over the CCI-Hub to TESDA representatives at the FCC project closing ceremony.
From right: Gilda Garibay, CCI-Hub; Teddy Monroy, UNIDO; Rosanna Urdaneta, TESDA; David Bungallon, TESDA. (Source: UNIDO)

UNIDO Hands Over Cold Chain Innovation Hub to Filipino Government as FCC Project Concludes

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has officially transferred the management of the Cold Chain Innovation Hub (CCI-Hub) to the Filipino government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), marking the conclusion of UNIDO’s Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines (FCC) project.

The CCI-Hub has served as the FCC project’s primary platform since its launch in 2019 and has been hosted at TESDA’s Regional Training Center in Manila since June 2022. UNIDO handed over the CCI-Hub to TESDA on June 19 at the FCC project’s closing ceremony.

The FCC project, a collaboration between UNIDO and the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), aimed to “identify, develop, and stimulate the application of low-carbon, energy-efficient refrigeration technologies and business practices across the food cold chain,” according to Adnan Atwa, FCC Program Manager at UNIDO, in his keynote speech at the ceremony.

Funding for the FCC project was provided by the Global Environment Fund (GEF).

Knowledge is power

The CCI-Hub was established to provide a centralized ecosystem of technical resources, knowledge sharing and collaboration on natural refrigerant cold chain technology and sustainable refrigeration practices.

In addition to showcasing several natural refrigerant-based technologies, the Hub also focused on awareness raising, capacity building, education and training to enhance the knowledge, skills and best practices within the country’s HVAC&R sector.

Over the past few years, it has hosted numerous training workshops, surpassing its targets in educating industry practitioners both online and face-to-face. The Hub also organized promotional events to attract new talent to the trade, particularly women, who are traditionally underrepresented in the industry.

“We must encourage greater participation and leadership from women in the industry, ensuring that our progress is inclusive and representative of all talents,” said Atwa during his keynote. “This investment in human capital ensures that the benefits of our project will be sustained long into the future.”

Another major component of the CCI-Hub has been its 10 sustainable refrigeration pilots, designed to demonstrate how improved cold chains can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, operational costs and food loss in the Philippines. Projects included propane (R290)- and CO2 (R744)-based refrigerated transport, plug-in propane refrigeration units at a non-profit farming project and the Philippines’ first transcritical CO2-based cold chain facility and blast freezer. Each demonstration received funding from the FCC and CCI-Hub for up to 80% of project costs.

“The sustainability of our gains hinges on the continued operation and evolution of the CCI-Hub,” added Atwa. “It is essential to maintain this hub as a dynamic knowledge-sharing network, fostering innovation, research and development.”

“The sustainability of our gains hinges on the continued operation and evolution of the CCI-Hub. It is essential to maintain this hub as a dynamic knowledge-sharing network, fostering innovation, research and development.”

Adnan Atwa, UNIDO

Beyond the CCI-Hub

According to Atwa, the FCC project marked a major milestone in the development of the Philippines’ cold chain.

“Over the past four years, we have embarked on a journey that has not only brought about significant advancements in the food cold chain sector but also fostered remarkable partnerships and innovations that will continue to benefit the Philippines and beyond,” he said.

Beyond the work of the CCI-Hub, the FCC project also succeeded in updating and developing national policies, standards and guidelines to support the adoption of natural refrigerant-based technologies.

For example, the proposed minimum energy performance standard (MEPS) for the cold chain industry is poised to contribute substantially to the country’s climate mitigation targets. By 2040, the MEPS is projected to reduce energy consumption by around 110,000 MWh, which equates to approximately 509 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

“The FCC Project has not only met but surpassed its objectives, creating a robust foundation for a sustainable, energy-efficient and environmentally conscious food cold chain in the Philippines,” added Atwa. “Our success is a testament to the dedication, collaboration and hard work of all our partners and stakeholders. As we move forward, let us carry the lessons learned and the partnerships forged during this journey, ensuring that the positive impacts of this project continue to resonate for years to come.”

Partner recognition

During the FCC project’s closing ceremony, organizers took the opportunity to recognize the contributions of its partners, including ATMOsphere, who was one of the project’s key executing partners. ATMOsphere is the publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com.

“Over the last four years, we have had the opportunity to meaningfully accelerate the transition to natural refrigerants in all sectors of the food cold chain in the Philippines,” said Jan Dusek, Co-Founder and COO of ATMOsphere and Head of Global Partnerships at the CCI-Hub. “This is just the end of the beginning for the local industry, and we are looking forward to seeing the Philippines continue to lead the way in Southeast Asia. We are also excited to see other countries use this blueprint to experience similar success.”

According to Dusek, ATMOsphere will continue to support the Philippines’ efforts to adopt natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R technologies and will monitor and report on the progress being made.

“This is just the end of the beginning for the local industry, and we are looking forward to seeing the Philippines continue to lead the way in Southeast Asia.”

Jan Dusek, ATMOsphere

Teddy Monroy, Country Representative at UNIDO, also awarded plaques of recognition to several other collaborating organizations, including the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP), local contractor Cold Front Technologies Asia, national distributor Magic-Aire Industries and manufacturers Epta Refrigeration Philippines and Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines.

“Together we have made a significant difference, and together we will continue to drive progress toward a sustainable future,” said Atwa.

TESDA awarded a plaque of recognition to UNIDO for facilitating the implementation of the FCC Project.

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