27 May 2020, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – The National Ozone Authority (NOA) of Mongolia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism is continuing work without let-up amid the COVID-19 pandemic by building the capacity of the country's refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) technicians for servicing room air conditioners that use alternative gases, in line with the objectives of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This activity is part of the country’s early preparation for the ratification of the Protocol's Kigali Amendment and it will help Mongolia meet its initial obligations in this critical sector after it has ratified.
Currently, Ulaanbaatar city is still under a virus-related lockdown with strict controls on movement and social distancing, which has made it impossible for the NOA to conduct any training workshops with the 20 trainees all together. In compliance with the guidelines of the National Emergency Management Agency of Mongolia on COVID-19, the NOA decided to split the training workshop into two, with each workshop having just 10 participants. While this entailed more work for the organisers and trainers, the division into smaller class sizes meant that the required health measures could be respected. Subsequently, two “Training Workshops on Good Practices in Handling R-32 and R-290-based Split Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps in Mongolia” were successfully organised on 19-20 May and 22-23 May 2020.
Lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants such as R-32 and R-290 are being promoted in the local market as alternatives to the commonly used, high-GWP refrigerants R-22 and R-410A for split type air conditioners. A transition to lower-GWP alternatives will benefit the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are being eliminated worldwide under the Montreal Protocol, as well as align with the implementation requirements of the Kigali Amendment. However, these alternative refrigerants require additional care and precautions in terms of safety due to their flammability.
Prof. Adiyasuren Ts, the Director of the NOA; Mr. Usukhjargal Ts., the President of Mongolia Refrigeration Association (MRA), Mrs. Enkh-Amgalan Sh., the Head of “Master Skills” Training Center opened the training workshop and emphasised the importance for the RAC technicians to be equipped with knowledge and skills for safe handling of R-32 and R-290 refrigerants to enable the country to adopt these alternatives technologies, and expected the technicians to be more engaged in the training since the class had fewer participants.
In the first half of the theoretical session, the NOA gave the national and international perspectives on the processes for implementation of the Montreal Protocol, the national standards related to refrigeration technology and their importance, as well as trends and good practices in the RAC sector. Participants were then able to appreciate the need to shift to low-GWP technologies in the future. In the second half of the session, the national master trainers provided theoretical knowledge on the safe handling of flammable and slightly flammable refrigerants such as R-32 and R-290.
On the last day, a practical demonstration session was conducted, in which one of the highlights was the introduction and demonstration of a tool to create joints in pipework through pressure fittings, particularly applicable to flammable refrigerants since it does not require brazing. All participants were able to practice using this tool.
“The training was well received by participants,” said Mrs. Dulamsuren D., the Senior HPMP Officer, NOA, following the completion of the training workshops. The need for such training workshops for flammable refrigerants is much greater now due to the increasing number of equipment based on low-GWP refrigerants appearing in the market.
This training workshop was part of the on-going Enabling Activities Project for HFC phase-down under the Multilateral Fund with UN Environment Programme OzonAction as the Implementing Agency.
 R-32 or HFC-32 is an hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) with a global warming potential of 675. It is classified as slightly flammable. R-290 or propane is a hydrocarbon, with a global warming potential of <1. It is classified as flammable.Hc=HCFC-32HHC
 Global warming potential of R-22 = 1810; Global warming potential of R-410A = 2088
 R-32, an HFC, will also need to phased-down according to the Kigali Amendment.
For more information:
Mr. Hu Shaofeng
Senior Regional Montreal Protocol Coordinator
Asia-Pacific, UNEP OzonAction