Refrigerant Transition and Management in India

With heat waves sweeping across cities in India, the need for cooling solutions is more urgent than ever. India’s cooling demand is projected to grow by eight times in the next 20 years. This will lead to a significant increase in cooling demand, stress on the electricity grid and the release of high Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants like HFCs.

In a big boost for climate friendly cooling, India ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the global pact to phase down potent GWP refrigerants through energy efficiency measures. One of the goals of the India Action Cooling Plan, the national roadmap to promote sustainable cooling, is to reduce refrigerant demand by 25-30% India.

Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation supported its grantee partner, the International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST), to identify the ways in which India can meet its increasing air-conditioning and refrigeration demand in more sustainable ways. The research indicates that if implemented well, clean cooling is a win-win for the climate and the economy. The key findings are as follows:

  • The demand for air conditioning is growing at 10-15% annually in India due to a combination of factors including increasing affluence and rising temperatures due to global warming.
  • The average energy efficiency of air conditioners sold in Indian markets are among the lowest compared to other emerging and developed economies. They also use refrigerants that have medium to high-Global Warming Potential (GWP).
  • If India starts enhancing the energy efficiency of ACs at double the current rate (from 3% to 6% annually), and replace medium to high-GWP refrigerants with natural refrigerants, it can reduce cooling energy demand by 40% and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 400 million tonnes/ annum by 2030. This is more GHG abatement than installing 100 GigaWatt (GW) of solar PV plants.

The findings of this research were released at the ‘Green Cooling in India’ webinar, organised by iFOREST and informed the discussion on clean and climate-friendly cooling technologies in India. Shri Aditya Narayan Singh, Additional Director – Ozone Cell, MoEFCC presided as the Chief Guest at the webinar, and expert panels focused on the themes of natural refrigerants and energy efficiency as enablers of this green transition.

Download the publications 

Technology Landscape for Cooling: Status Update
Adopting Natural Refrigerant-based Cooling in India: The Road Ahead
Mainstreaming Not-in-Kind Technologies in India: Status Check and Way Forward
Implementing the India Cooling Action Plan : Status Check and Way Forward