(Repeats with no changes)
By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK Oct 16 U.S. chemical companies
including Honeywell and Chemours Co are ramping
up efforts to produce alternative coolants used in
air-conditioners and refrigerators, following a global pact to
reduce planet-warming greenhouse house gas emissions.
On Saturday, some 150 nations struck a global agreement in
Kigali, Rwanda, on ways to phase down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)
gases, which are currently used in air-cooling systems and
refrigerators, and help curb the release of climate-warming
The accord is an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol,
which was aimed at stopping the depletion of the ozone layer. As
part of a larger goal to globally reduce HFCs by 80 percent by
2047, signatories such as U.S., India and China have agreed to
phase out the pollutants from cooling appliances starting 2019.
The agreement is a boon for chemical and equipment makers as
it gives them "clarity and certainty" and will help speed up
development and testing of HFC alternatives, which are already
underway, Kevin Fay, executive director of the Alliance for
Responsible Atmospheric Policy, a trade group that represents
chemical and equipment manufacturers, said.
Honeywell began developing HFC alternatives as far back as
2000 and has invested $500 million to date, a company spokesman
said. The company has committed $900 million in total.
The Morris Plains, New Jersey-based company has already
begun producing HFC substitutes used for foam insulation,
aerosols, commercial refrigerants, and chiller applications at
two plants in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It has manufacturing partnerships with local producers in
India, Japan and China to produce an alternative refrigerant
used in automobile air conditioners called HFO-1234yf.
Honeywell is in the process of starting up 1234yf production
at the Indian plant and its facility in Geismar, Louisiana, will
roll out a commercial product in early 2017, the spokesman
Chemours, which was spun off from DuPont Co in 2015, said in
May it will invest "millions of dollars" to set up a new plant
to produce the 1234-yf auto refrigerant substitute in Corpus
A spokesman for Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc.
, said the company is working on developing HFC
alternatives but declined to provide details.
Equipment manufacturers will switch to making systems with
alternative coolants as chemical makers produce new HFC
substitutes, Francis Dietz, VP of public affairs at trade group
Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute.
"It's not a big shock to the system, it's phased in a little
at a time," Dietz said.
As per the agreement, developed countries such as the United
States have to move first to reduce HFCs, followed by developing
nations who have been given a longer timeline and aid to meet
the accord's climate-friendly goal.
As companies in developed countries will have to scale up
production of HFC alternatives and new cooling systems, any
increase in costs to consumers will eventually come down,
Durwood Zaelke, president of Institute for Governance and
Sustainable Development, a sustainable development research and
"If you buy an AC, you use it for the average life of 10
years. Most of the cost is the electricity, the refrigerant is
about one percent of the life cycle cost (of the AC)."
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Sandra Maler)