Honeywell at the forefront of developing low-GWP refrigerants

Honeywell has developed a leading line of environmentally preferable refrigerant solutions based on next-generation HFO technology. Rajarshi Datta, Country Head and General Manager - South Asia, Honeywell Advanced Materials gives a glimpse of refrigerant solutions offered by Honeywell, its applications, transitions in global refrigerants markets, acceptance of environment-friendly refrigerants in India and many more in an interaction with Cooling India.

Honeywell is one of the leading global companies involved in the development, manufacturing and supply of refrigerants. What refrigerant solutions does Honeywell offer? What are its applications?

Honeywell offers next-generation, environmentally preferable hydrofluoro-olefin (HFO) alternatives that are available under our Solstice product line as an option to support the Indian customers to accelerate the transition from hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and other high global-warming-potential (GWP) materials into lower global warming alternatives.

Our refrigerant offerings also include Solstice yf, an award-winning HFO refrigerant designed for automotive air conditioning systems. It has a GWP of less than 1, which is 99.9 percent lower than the previous refrigerant HFC-134a, and is even lower than carbon dioxide (CO2), an alternative refrigerant with a GWP of 1. Solstice zd is a nonflammable HFO refrigerant with a GWP equal to 1, for use in low-pressure centrifugal chillers, which are most often used to cool large buildings. Honeywell’s Solstice N40 has become the world’s most widely requested, nonflammable, lowest-GWP replacement refrigerant for R-404A in the supermarket industry, with more than 23,000 installations across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. N40 has 65 per cent lower GWP vs 404A while simultaneously improving system efficiency.

And Solstice ze is an HFO refrigerant which is a sustainable alternative to traditional refrigerants for energy-efficient chillers and commercial air conditioning in supermarkets and commercial buildings, as well as in other medium-temperature applications like heat pumps, refrigerators, vending machines, beverage dispensers, air dryers etc.

What are the trends in Indian refrigerants market? How has the market evolved in India as compared to the global market?

One of the most important trends in Indian refrigerants market is to use solutions which are environmentally preferable. Amid growing concerns of global warming and rising economic activities pushing the demand for cooling systems – especially in the high-growth countries, the focus has been to move towards cooling solutions that are environmentally safe. Alongside, India has embraced several measures to drive energy efficiency programs in various industries.

The Ministry of Power, through the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), has initiated a number of energy efficiency steps in the areas of household lighting, commercial buildings, standards and labeling of appliances, demand side management in agriculture or municipalities, SMEs, and large industries. Increasing demand for the domestic air-cooling system due to rising disposable income in the developing countries is fueling the market growth. Whereas, air conditioning has also widened its application areas in automotive on account of inclination of customers toward high comfort in luxury vehicles and rising global demand for mobile air conditioning solutions.

In tandem, Honeywell has been at forefront of the industry’s drive to develop safer, lower-GWP alternatives to older-generation chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and HCFC refrigerants. We have developed a leading line of environmentally preferable refrigerant solutions based on next-generation HFO technology. Global adoption of Honeywell’s Solstice products has resulted in the reduction of more than 60 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to date, equal to eliminating emissions from more than 12 million cars. We estimate that increasing global adoption of Solstice products can reduce emissions by the equivalent of 475 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025—or the impact of removing 100 million cars from the road for one year. We are working with many customers to adopt low GWP solutions across a wide variety of applications.

How do you see the acceptance of environment-friendly refrigerants in India?

India is committed to following a green path for the ambitious and effective achievement of the Paris Agreement by 2030. Given the estimations of India’s rapid economic growth, the government has recognised the importance of lowering the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of an international effort to limit global warming. Along with NITI Aayog, the government is working towards an India Cooling Action Plan.

Indian refrigerant market is getting mature – the refrigeration industry is developing new cooling technologies and making transition towards the use of more environmentally preferable refrigerants. We are also seeing adoption of HFOs in certain segments independent of regulations as they provide better energy efficiency apart from meeting sustainability goals.

How is the acceptance of your products in the market?

Honeywell has worked with many customers to adopt its Solstice solutions across a wide variety of applications. We have exclusive partnerships with Indian manufacturers in HVAC and cooling solutions industries. Our largest technology development and incubation center—Honeywell India Technology Center (HITC)—opened a new refrigerant lab and technology center in Gurgaon in 2017. HITC is supporting local and regional original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in designing, incubating and testing new refrigerants, while helping them transition to lower-GWP alternatives. We are also providing cutting-edge opportunities for our customers to save on energy costs through our new Smart Refrigeration Solution offering for supermarkets, which we are currently bringing to market.

Are you planning to launch any new product in near future?

We are continuously working with our customers in India to introduce environmentally preferable products which support the phase-down of HFCs. Honeywell and its suppliers have completed a $900 million investment program in R&D and new capacity based on Honeywell HFO technology. In continuation to our strong R&D efforts, last year we developed Solstice N41, part of the family of Solstice products to accelerate the transition away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFC 410A) in the past year. In addition to this, we also unveiled Solstice L41y, a reduced GWP refrigerant designed to replace R-410A for reversible heating and cooling applications. We are actively working with commercial partners in India to enable them to save on energy costs and aim to continue with our efforts to introduce such offerings and solutions in the future as well.