EPA Looks to IIAR in HFC Phase-Down Meeting

The search for non-ozone-depleting technologies is intensifying, with ammonia and other natural refrigerants emerging as the most viable solutions for industrial refrigeration, thanks to international treaties that put pressure on countries to phase down CFC’s and identify alternatives.

As a result, the ammonia refrigeration industry in the United States is getting more attention from the Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with identifying substitutes for ozone-depleting substances under a program called the Significant New Alternatives Policy, or SNAP.

The EPA recently invited IIAR to participate in a SNAP industry stakeholder meeting where the agency said it will be looking for new ways to promote the growth of HCF-alternative technologies such as ammonia refrigeration.

In a question and answer session reprinted below, the EPA addresses the significance of the program as a response to U.S. involvement in the Montreal Protocol and the growing role it hopes IIAR and other industry organizations will take in promoting ammonia refrigeration and other natural refrigerants.

Q Why did the EPA identify ammonia refrigeration as a viable green technology that could be used to accelerate the scale down of HFCs?

A Even at the beginning of the SNAP program in 1994, EPA recognized ammonia as an acceptable refrigerant in new equipment in a number of uses. EPA’s initial rule setting up the SNAP program said, “Ammonia does not deplete the ozone or contribute to global warming.”

Q What role does the EPA see the ammonia refrigeration industry playing in the effort to scale down HFC’s?

A Ammonia is already playing a valuable role by providing an energy-efficient refrigerant with no global warming potential or ozone depletion potential that is used in industrial refrigeration and cold storage warehouses. If ammonia becomes more widely used in appropriate retail food refrigeration applications, those benefits could extend more broadly.

Q What can our industry do, or what are we doing, from the perspective of the EPA to accelerate the adoption of existing green technologies like ammonia and other natural refrigerants?

A We encourage continued information sharing across industry about the benefits and about best practices for installation, servicing, repair and disposal of equipment using ammonia as a refrigerant. Sharing information with the retail food refrigeration industry, working with standard-setting bodies and keeping local code officials informed are all things the industry can continue to do.

Q What is the role of the Montreal Protocol in relation to the SNAP Program?

A The SNAP Program was established under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act as part of the U.S.’s response to the Montreal Protocol. It focuses on finding substitutes for ozone-depleting substances that would reduce overall risks to human health and the environment. SNAP is the only major national program worldwide for evaluating the health and environmental risks of substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. Parties to the Montreal Protocol often consider decisions made by this program in their own decision-making process.

Q Did the recent amendment to the Protocol that was set forth by North America and China accelerate the work of the EPA with regard to the SNAP program?

A North America’s proposed amendment to the Protocol to reduce production and import of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, among other things, has encouraged chemical and equipment manufacturers to create and adopt more substitutes with lower global warming potential. Thus, the SNAP program has seen a large increase in the number of submissions of information on substitutes in the past several years.

Q What benefit does the EPA hope to see from the engagement of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration in the SNAP stakeholder meetings?

A EPA hopes to continue its engagement with IIAR, both in the context of the SNAP stakeholder meetings and more broadly in the future. 

IIAR Issues Call for Technical Papers

IIAR is currently requesting proposals for the industry’s best technical papers.

Abstracts that address any topic related to ammonia and other natural refrigerants are welcome. However, papers that address specific topics will receive preferential consideration.

For a technical paper to be considered by IIAR for publication at the IIAR Annual Conference or in the Condencer Magazine, a paper proposal must be submitted and should include a 150 to 200 word abstract as well as a 50 to 75 word description of the practical applications of the paper’s proposed contents.

All IIAR technical papers chosen for development will be submitted to a comprehensive peer review process.

Contact information such as name, address, telephone and fax number should be submitted with each author’s proposal. Submissions may be made via email to: andrea_fischer@iiar.org, attention: IIAR Director of Communications.

Once a paper is chosen, IIAR offers each primary author a complimentary registration for the upcoming IIAR conference and publication in the Condenser. Every year, the two highest rated presentations receive the Andy Ammonia award, while the primary author of both papers receive complementary registrations for the following year’s IIAR conference